Independent State of Mind

Tia Grant is a student at the University of Tampa and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She interned abroad with ISA Internships in Dunedin, New Zealand.

It’s like studying hours for a exam, and then going in to take it, panicking and forgetting even the easiest of questions. That’s what it kind of feels like being dropped off in a city abroad, completely alone. I thought I was pretty independent and knew how to handle most situations considering I go to school almost 1,200 miles from my hometown, but being dropped off and alone for the first few days, it was like I had forgotten everything. You slowly start getting used to everything, learning where the closest supermarket is and some other shops and restaurants are, and it seems like you’re almost relearning everything you knew before.

Dunedin Octagon- Dunedin, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 1
Dunedin Octagon.


Dunedin Railway Station- Dunedin, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 2
Dunedin Railway Station. The second most photographed building in the southern hemisphere.


Queenstown- Queenstown, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 3
Queenstown Lake.

As the weeks began to fly by and I was planning my weekend trips two weeks in advance, I begin to see all the beautiful sights New Zealand has to offer. Don’t be afraid to do things on your own, wander around the city, or go on tours. No one is going to judge you just because you’re by yourself. Also, don’t stay in your host city the whole time. I promise you there are so many other cities to see, and you’re not going to see all each city has to offer, but seeing more will be worth it. You can’t even imagine the sights there are, from the twinkling lights of a city at night time, to of course the mountains and views on beautiful hikes.

Dunedin Octagon- Dunedin, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 4
Dunedin Octagon (City Centre).


Wellington Street Art- Wellington, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 5
Alley Art in Wellington.


Tunnel Beach- Dunedin, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 6
Tunnel Beach near Dunedin.


Somes Island- Wellington, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 7
Paua Shells.

I quickly started remembering the basics, and felt like I relearned how to be independent in a completely new way. I couldn’t just pick up the phone and call my mom when something went wrong, anymore. It is best to ask co-workers and locals about the good places to eat, or the cool places to see if you’re to go to another city, because sometimes google is just all tourist things and if you want to really immerse yourself in a new culture, touristy things are probably not the way to go.

As my time in New Zealand comes to an end, I find myself wishing I had more time because I just did not see enough! Having to leave feels like a break-up, but you can’t help looking back and reminiscing on all the good times. The good times abroad include everything you saw and were able to do.

I am forever grateful for this beautiful country showing me views you just can’t see anywhere else, and helping me learn more about who I am and what I am capable of.

Kia Ora! -Be Well.

Mt. Victoria- Wellington, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 8
View of Wellywood from the top of Mt. Victoria at sunset.


Otago Peninsula From Lanarch Castle- Dunedin, New Zealand -Grant, Photo 9
Otago Peninsula view from the Lanarch Castle Gardens.


Mirror Lakes in Fiordland National Park- New Zealand -Grant, Photo 10
Mirror Lakes in Fiordland National Park, on the way to Milford Sounds.

The world awaits…discover it.



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