Cassidy LaSalle is a student at the University of San Diego and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sydney, Australia.
Yes, studying abroad is already an adventure in itself. There are plenty of places to explore in your host country, along with many opportunities. However, I would highly recommend traveling to other countries during your time abroad. Here are a few of the many benefits that I experienced during my Spring Break trip to New Zealand and Fiji. You can also watch this video to see how my trip went!
1. EXPERIENCE CULTURE
One of the most important reasons to spend time outside your host country is to experience different cultures. There is a huge difference between simply learning about a culture and experiencing it firsthand.
One vital tradition in Fijian culture is the Kava Ceremony. Kava is a traditional drink made by crushing the roots of the yaqona plant and straining it with water. The local Fijians at our hostel welcomed us to participate in the ceremony upon our first night of arrival. This is a way for the locals to show respect and welcome towards their guests.
When receiving a drink from the chief in your Kava circle, you must first clap once and shout “Bula!” which can mean hello, goodbye, love, life, and more. After taking the drink in one gulp, you hand it back to the chief and clap three times. Participating in this ceremony is a way to share a new tradition with locals and show your appreciation.
2. TRY SOMETHING NEW
There are endless opportunities waiting for you to try something new — a new activity, a new type of food, meet a new person, or more. Personally, my something new was bungee jumping.
Never in my life did I picture myself jumping 40 meters off the Auckland Harbor Bridge. But if not now, when? So I did it. I took the jump that changed my life (no, seriously). I cannot properly explain the overwhelming feelings of shock, terror, excitement, ecstasy, and accomplishment. If you ever have the chance to bungee jump, DO IT. You won’t regret it.
I also tried driving while I was in New Zealand. This doesn’t seem too exciting, but I have never driven on the left side of the road before. So, it was quite the accomplishment for me to drive almost three hours to Hobbiton, the movie set for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Although I haven’t seen all of these movies, it was really interesting to see where they were filmed. The land was so green, with perfect rolling hills that rose and fell for miles.
3. BREATHTAKING VIEWS
Every country has its own kind of beauty. No matter where you travel, there will be astonishing views that warm your heart.
The scenery in Fiji is so surreal. Everything is pure and natural, nothing like what I’ve experienced at home. The mountains were a spectacular backdrop that complimented the still water.
After a short hike in New Zealand, we found a small, grassy knoll with striking views of the city just before sunset. It would have been easy to spend many hours there, just admiring the beauty.
Waiheke Island is definitely the best place to watch the sunset in Auckland. The sun slowly rolled down behind the hills and water. Everything was glowing shades of orange and gold.
4. DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Traveling to a new country can give you a different perspective on the world. Keep an open mind and explore the new places with fresh eyes.
During my first day in Auckland, I visited the top of the Sky Tower and admired the entire city from the tallest point. Sometimes all it takes is a different point of view to see things more clearly.
Watch the sunset from a different part of the world. In Nadi, you can watch the sun gently rest on top of the water until it completely disappears.
Studying abroad can provide you with many experiences similar to these, but why not continue to broaden your understanding of the world by exploring more countries? I encourage everyone to see as many places as they can during their time abroad. It’s worth your time!
The world awaits…discover it.
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