Why Study Abroad in New Zealand?

Written by  February 26, 2013

Eric is heading to New Zealand for more than just Lord of the Rings scenery.

“Why are you going to New Zealand again?” If there were an award for the question I have been asked most frequently over the past few months, that question (or a variant of it) would take the cake. One might assume that being peppered with the exact same question regularly would begin to venture on the annoying side. However, the excitement and anticipation has left me in the honeymoon phase, making each conversation about my trip compelling.

My preconceived notions paired with my extensive research on the country (and more specifically the city of Auckland along with its University Campus, where I will reside while on exchange) have led to a plethora of reasons why I have chosen to study in New Zealand. Be that as it may, I am never able to fully express the breadth of my reasoning in conversation as my excitement takes over and I begin to veer off on tangents, quickly getting off-topic.

It was my original intent to study at the University of Sydney in Australia. I had dreamed of traveling there ever since I was a kid seeing it in all of its glory during the 2000 Olympics. However, Sydney is a popular destination among students, making it more difficult to gain entrance. With that in mind, I decided to look at some other schools as a back-up plan in case I wasn’t awarded a spot.

I am extremely glad I followed through with this process as I immediately became fascinated with New Zealand during my research and Auckland was all of a sudden moved to the top of my list. I would be lying if I said I knew much about the country and culture before I started the exchange process. My initial knowledge of New Zealand came strictly from a combination of the scenery in The Lord of the Rings and the dialogue and personalities from the HBO television series Flight of the Conchords. Paired together, these two popular culture references create quite a bleak and narrow scope of what it might be like to live in New Zealand. This made it necessary for me to learn more about the country so I could make an educated decision on whether or not this would be a place a might like to travel. My findings then led me to the answer for the following question:

Why did I choose to study abroad in New Zealand?

First and foremost: education. The University of Auckland is an internationally known institution and the largest in the country. I am currently studying Multimedia and Communications at McMaster University, but have strong interest in continuing my studies in Radio and Television Broadcasting and/or Film. Auckland offers a large range of courses in a degree called Film, Television and Media studies that I would not be able to take at my home institution. Here I am able to take courses on topics that I enjoy, rather than random electives that I have no interest in, all while working towards my degree. This is just one of the many incentives to study abroad.

Education is important, however it’s not everyday that you get to travel to the other side of the world. In my case I have never even been outside of North America, so this is a chance to do things I have never done and may never get to do again. I have heard that New Zealand has a fairly laid-back lifestyle compared to that of Canada and the United States, which provides an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle and just enjoy myself while meeting new people, learning and trying new things.

As an outdoorsy person, New Zealand is a paradise filled with the most beautiful scenery and opportunities for adventure. Being dubbed the “extreme sports capital of the world,” there is an abundance of thrill-seeking activities that my inner adrenaline junkie is dying to experience such as sky diving, bungee jumping, heli-skiing and zorbing (rolling down a giant hill inside of a plastic ball). Not only do I enjoy extreme sports but I am huge professional sports fanatic as well. North American sports networks are often overtaken by hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball and football. I would really like to experience the sporting culture in another country and try as well as watch some sports I have never been introduced to before such as rugby and cricket.

There are a ton of things I would like to see and do while I am studying abroad but listed above are the bare bones of my reasoning as succinct as I can put it at the moment. I have become increasingly intrigued with the idea of seeing the world and New Zealand will be the first stop of hopefully many more to come.

I hope my enthusiasm for this trip inspires others to travel or learn about a new place in hopes of one day going and experiencing it first hand. I am really looking forward to this trip and I also look forward to documenting it along the way. Follow my blog if you’d like to hear more about my adventures and I’d love to hear about your experiences and/or suggestions.

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Eric Forrest

Eric Forrest studies Multimedia and Communications at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He jetted to the other side of the world to study Film Television and Media Studies at The University of Auckland in New Zealand. Ever wonder what it’s like to study with “Kiwis”? Follow Eric’s adventures!

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