Pre-departure New Zealand
Hello everyone! This is where I will be posting some pictures and updates about my study abroad experience in Wellington, New Zealand. I'm leaving tomorrow (Feb. 18) and I'm pretty excited to start this adventure!
I'll be studying at Victoria University of Wellington for my last semester of undergrad. Although I won't be able to walk for graduation in Minnesota, after my transcripts come through this summer, I'll officially be a University of Minnesota graduate!
I start my semester in March and will be back in the US in July since New Zealand has trimesters instead of semesters. I already had the chance to sign up for my classes which is cool. I'm taking two art history courses and one 3D design studio course to finish up my Studio Art degree.
I'll be living in a house with a few other international students like myself. Wellington is the capital so it's a pretty busy city with lots to do and see. Apparently they have good coffee and wine so yes, I picked the right country to go study!
I'm especially excited to be studying in Wellington because it's an art-centered city. There's tons of galleries and museums to visit, so I'll be trying to go to as many as my schedule and budget will allow.
I've gotten a lot of people asking me where New Zealand actually is or confusing it with Australia, so here are some facts about New Zealand I've learned so far:
- It's a country in Oceania to the southeast of Australia but it's very different than Australian culture in many ways
- There are two separate islands conveniently named North and South Island
- The population is about 5 million people and there are actually more sheep than people!!
- New Zealand people are called "Kiwis" and are know for being friendly and laid back
- The indigenous Māori people are very prominent in New Zealand. There's a lot of crossover between colonial European customs and traditions and Māori traditions (you've probably seen a haka at sports events on tv) and these make up New Zealand culture along with many other influences
- "Kia ora" is a common greeting and means welcome in Māori
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand!
- Kiwis love the outdoors and New Zealand is considered one of the most active nation in the world
I'm SO excited to have the chance to visit this beautiful country! I will definitely miss home and my friends and family a ton, no doubt there. I'm going to take plenty of pictures and post them here periodically. Here's to new things and new experiences!