Three Things to do When Studying Abroad in New Zealand

Emily Wilcox is a student at the University of New Hampshire and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Dunedin, New Zealand.

1. Learn the Haka

One of the goals I aimed for while studying abroad in New Zealand was to immerse myself in the Maori culture. After all, I will be living here for the next four months and want to have a better understanding and appreciation for the people I’m surrounded by. Thanks to the ISA Bridging Cultures Program, I am one step closer to reaching this goal by having the opportunity to learn and perform the Haka, which is a traditional war dance of the Maori people. Along with getting a lesson in the history behind the Haka, I was able to dress into cultural Maori clothing and apply traditional markings with face paint to reenact what a pre-battle setting would have looked like. This experience not only made me feel welcomed as a foreign student, but it also excited me for the diverse cultural backgrounds of the Kiwis I have yet to discover!

Taken in Rotorua, a city in New Zealand that’s home to a Maori village

2. Go to the beach

One activity I was super excited to do while in New Zealand was go to the beach. A big reason for this is because I have never actually been to the Pacific Ocean and I couldn’t wait to swim in Southern Hemispheric waters! Luckily for me, my host city of Dunedin isn’t a far drive from the coast, so the first beach I went to was in the Catlins. The water was a crystal blue color (something I have only seen in pictures) and the geology on the shore was incredible. Being the Earth science’s nerd I am, the rocks were one of my favorite parts. Long Beach was the second beach I went to and here there are enormous caves, climbing walls, and penguins! That night I decided to camp in one of the caves and see the sunrise early in the morning, which was definitely a breathtaking experience!

Nugget Point, a famous landmark on the Otago coast

3. Go Tramping

Some of you may be wondering what tramping means (I didn’t know when I first came here either), but it is how a Kiwi says hiking.  If you are an outdoors person like me, the South Island of New Zealand is an ideal place to go because of all the tramping and nature walks to go on! My favorite place to go so far is called the Pineapple Trail and was a bit steep. However, when I finally reached the top, there was a beautiful view of both Dunedin and the Pacific Ocean. My time in New Zealand so far has been amazing and I am very excited to see what other opportunities I will stumble upon.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits. 

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