My ideal destination has always been a land with green rolling hills, grand mountains, beaches, and rich culture. Of course this land sounded too perfect to be real, until I discovered New Zealand. This beautiful land became my new dream. I am in love with everything about New Zealand: the landscape, adventure sports, rugby, the cities, Maori culture, and the openness of the people. As a Lord of the Rings fan I hope to visit Hobbiton, walk the Tongariro Crossing to “Mount Doom”, and see some other breath-taking landscapes from the movie that ignited my love for New Zealand. Another thing that fascinates me about New Zealand is the fusion of Maori and Pakeha cultures. I love that the indigenous culture is very much still a part of New Zealand which shows me that it is possible for two cultures to peacefully coincide with each other. For all of these reasons and more, choosing a destination was easy since there is no place that I would rather study abroad in more than New Zealand.
Choosing a university to study at wasn’t all that difficult either. Part of choosing Massey was the location in Palmerston North. I like the central location of the city to make it easier to travel all throughout the country. Palmerston North is also known as the “student city” so the people there embrace young adults into their culture. Another major contributor to choosing Massey was the program of study. They have an excellent sport and exercise science program with a similar structure to the program at my home university. Massey is also ranked in the top 3% universities in the world which comforts me to know that I am choosing a quality university.
Spending the semester in New Zealand will be an absolute dream come true. I hope that I can embark on many outdoor adventures that New Zealand is known for (especially bungee jumping!). It may be a challenge to learn the different ways a kiwi lives and get used to the new culture. However, the process of overcoming the challenges will increase my appreciation for their customs. I expect to broaden my horizons and increase my possibilities to travel more. I figure that if I am able to move to the other side of the world “on my own” for 5 months, I will be able to do so much more internationally in the future. It is a goal of mine to get connected with locals so that I have people to come back to if ever given the chance to return, which I’m sure I will try to do after studying abroad there. Words cannot explain how excited and grateful I am to have the opportunity to study abroad in my dream destination!