Tortuga Backpacks

I recently discovered an awesome study abroad scholarship opportunity called Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship.  I thought the essay questions would be interesting and relevant for my blog to share with you guys.

What do you hope to learn by experiencing another culture? How do you expect to apply these lessons when you return home?

I firmly believe that everyone, if given the chance, should spend time in another country such as studying abroad. It is the best way to learn new cultures, languages, and especially learn more about yourself. Although New Zealand has a Westernized society much like America and Britain, there is still enough of a difference to influence the way I see the world. I want to discover the things that differentiate New Zealand from America and use them to broaden my perspective of world cultures and habitats.

The thing that intrigues me most about New Zealand culture is the Maori society. From what I have read, the Maori are still able to contribute to society their carried customs and maintain good relationships with the Pakehas (a.k.a. Europeans). While being in New Zealand I hope to experience the Maori culture and learn more about their history and how they interact with the Westernized society. It would be interesting to compare the relationships between the Maori and Pakeha societies with the relationship between Americans and Native Americans near my hometown.

More than learning about the cultural differences in our countries, I hope to go through a tremendous personal growth during my time abroad. It’s tough for a nineteen year old to be on the other side of the world away from all friends and family for five months. I expect it to be hard at times but thrilling none the less. Traveling to New Zealand on my own will strengthen my independence and help me to not rely on others as much to fulfill my future travel dreams. There is a quote by Clifton Fadiman that says: “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” This quote is perfect for anyone studying abroad because it’s all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and into a new culture. Spending the semester in New Zealand will surely expand my comfort zone and teach me how to reach out to new friends by engaging in their way of life instead of making them conform to mine. There may be some cultural barriers that come between me and other students such as learning their lingo and cultural mannerisms, but I will use those obstacles to build stronger relationships and teach them about my own culture. I hope that my experience as a study abroad student will encourage me to reach out to the study abroad students at my home university to make their experience here better. Traveling is my passion and the opportunity for me to study abroad in New Zealand feels unreal. I will use my testimony to encourage others to take charge and experience it for themselves. New Zealand, here I come!

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