Big update time! I’ve been studying abroad in Auckland, New Zealand since February and absolutely loving my time here. Originally, I was only staying for one semester, but I extended my time to a second semester before I had even been here a full month. New Zealand has the most stunning scenery, and I’ve been travelling as much as possible while I’ve been here.
Before I arrived in New Zealand, I had planned on consistently blogging. However, when I got here I felt so uniquely fulfilled by my experiences travelling and living in Auckland that I kind of wanted to keep them to myself. I’ve been sharing pictures and updates on social media to satisfy friends and family, but I wanted to spend some time on my own absorbing these experiences and feelings. Now I want to share some of the trips I’ve been on to hopefully help with planning for future travelers/ to reminiscene on the amazing things I’ve seen and done over these past few months. I’ve been traveling on a student budget, staying in hostels, camping, or splitting cheaper Airbnbs. New Zealand has some nice cities, but the majority of my travelling has focused on its natural aspects, which has definitely helped with affordability. Hiking is free and allows you to see so much!
Looking back, my decision to study abroad in New Zealand was fairly random. I didn’t know much about the country besides that it was beautiful and far away. A lot of people choose to study abroad in Europe, but I felt like I could (hopefully) travel the continent later in life. I was looking for something a bit more chilled out so I could grow creatively and personally. I did want somewhere English speaking since I’m studying English and Creative Writing, and the University of Auckland has a highly ranked English program. Now, I’m so glad I made that decision and would highly recommend studying abroad at the University of Auckland! TU also made it incredibly easy.
I’ve loved my classes so far. My first semester I took New Zealand Literature, Introduction to Creative Writing, Modern Writing & Critical Thinking, and Journalism Studies. This semester I’m taking 19th Century Literature, Modernist Transformations, Shakespeare Comedies & Tragicomedies, and Creating Stories. It’s been nice to be interested in all of my classes (no gen-eds), and I like the larger classroom environment way more than I expected.
This semester, I’m also working a writing internship at a local lifestyle magazine called Verve. I’ve been able to see the editorial process and write stories for the print magazine and online, so that has been fun as well as a learning experience. It has also partially inspired me to come back to blogging.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I truly feel liking I’m living a life that I’ve worked and dreamed about. I love Auckland, my classes, my internship, and travelling all over the most beautiful country. It’s definitely helped with creative energy, and I’ve been doing more of my own writing than ever before.
Auckland is an amazing city with a unique culture. The Maori (and general Pacific) culture is stronger than I expected, and it has been cool to learn about and be around! I live walking distance from the Central Business District, the waterfront, and an enormous park. There’s greenery and affordable, delicious Asian food of every kind wherever you go.
The country’s landscape is beautiful beyond words. Every time I go on a trip, I try to journal about my experience, but I find myself trying to rearticulate “the most beautiful” over and over again. I’ve seen more beaches in the past 7 months than I think I’ve seen in my life. There’s also so many stunning mountains and forests!
I’ve travelled around the majority of the country at this point, though I’m still trying to do more. I arrived a few weeks before classes started to travel, and I have taken advantage of breaks and weekends during the semesters. I’ve had a two week break during each semester, and I had three weeks between semesters (the seasons are flipped here, so it was a winter break while all my friends at home were on summer break).
Trips I’ve done have included:
- Northern South Island (Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson, Christchurch, Mount Cook/ Aoraki National Park, Lake Tekapo, Kaikoura)
- Coromandel/ Cathedral Cove
- Southern South Island (Christchurch, Mount Cook/ Aoraki National Park, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown) (my favorite trip!!)
- Cape Reinga (including Bay of Islands, Waitangi Treaty Grounds)
- Australia (Melbourne and Sydney)
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing/ Taupo
- Rotorua and Waitomo Caves
- Cook Islands
I’m hoping to do some posts that include my itineraries of these trips as well as things I love around Auckland. Look out for those, and thank you for reading!