Go Overseas will offer the chance to study abroad in New Zealand again in 2019 sign up here
I can remember the moment that changed my life forever.
I was in the Student Union Hall flipping through brochures and a colorful brochure caught my eye. Study abroad?
I had heard of it but I wasn’t really sure what the deal was. The photos looked cool but I had doubts if I could handle it and if I’d even be able to afford it. I had always been curious about living in another country so I decided to schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor and in doing so, inadvertently forever changed the course of my life.
Here I am years later sitting in my home in New Zealand, looking back at that pinnacle turning point in my life.
I learned more from my semesters abroad than all of my years of university combined.
And best of all, I uncovered my dormant curiosity that had always sat just under the surface, quietly bubbling and hoping to be set free. I wish everyone could study abroad and move abroad at one point in their lives.
I’m such a huge advocate for travel and studying abroad is a great introduction to living an international life, so I couldn’t wait to share this opportunity. Go Overseas, a reviews site for programs abroad that’s a huge lifesaver when it comes to making international travel decisions, is running three scholarships to study abroad in New Zealand: full tuition (+ free flights) for undergrad, post-grad students, and even students in Europe).
If you’ve been considering studying abroad in New Zealand, this is your chance. I promise you it will change your life. Here’s how.
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1. You’ll start to see your own home country in a new light
Studying abroad has a profound effect on how you see your own country.
It gives you a new perspective, a new lens in which to view your upbringing and culture. For your entire life, it’s likely your worldview has never been challenged or questioned but when you study abroad, you’re forced to consider other world views. It’s the definition of eye-opening.
Culture, upbringings, circumstances, location. All of this plays into how you interact with the world and you begin to realize that while still beloved and treasured, your home country perhaps isn’t the center of the universe like you once thought.
For example, you’ll start to realize how many countries use the Imperial System (3) versus how many use the Metric System (195). Or why you country writes dates as MM-DD-YYYY instead of DD-MM-YYYY. Or why most countries measure temperature in Celsius while only a handful use the ever confusing Fahrenheit system.
It also has the rather profound tendency of putting things into perspective. You’ll notice the good and the bad of your home country once you have some space and distance, and often you’ll return home a wiser and better person.
Before I left I had zero interest in traveling in the US – I wanted to see the world! But once I got a taste and traveled, I realized how much my own country has to offer too.
It’s often said that living abroad will teach you to really appreciate your home country even more.
2. You’ll find a renewed connection to nature
New Zealand is a nature lover’s mecca. Period.
Even if you previously have never had any connection to the natural world, you’re bound to find even a tiny sliver of love after your study abroad in New Zealand. Not only does New Zealand have some of the most inspiring landscapes in the world, but it also fosters a culture of true appreciation for those landscapes.
A love for nature is built into the fiber of the country.
Māori (the indigenous population in New Zealand) have strong spiritual bonds with the land. They regard land, soil, and water as treasures and see themselves as guardians of this treasure. Connection to the land and sea provides all Kiwis with a sense of unity and identity and have you’ve lived here, you too will find yourself in a certain spiritual rhythm with the natural world.
Moving to New Zealand reignited a passion for hiking and adventures outside that I had as a kid but lost as a teenager and young adult.
3. You’ll learn to go with the flow
Let’s face it. New Zealand is an island and often, island life is unpredictable.
New Zealand doesn’t have the production and industry that larger countries have and because of that, Kiwis have had to learn how to be patient and go with the flow. Things take the time they take and there’s no point in rushing or getting stressed.
Slowest wifi on the planet? No worries. Shipping is going to take over a week? No big deal.
While studying abroad in New Zealand, you’ll learn to let go of the small things that stress you out and instead live in the present, being appreciative of the special opportunity you have to live in such an incredible place.
New Zealand is laid-back and chill, it’s a relaxed place where people make do with what they have and aren’t caught up in the corporate rat race.
4. You’ll start caring about issues that never crossed your mind before
Being a foreigner in another country flips everything on its head.
If you were in the majority before, you’re certainly in the minority now. If you have always had a hard time understanding accents, you’re suddenly the one no one understands. What the heck are jandals and who says wop-wops? Kiwi slang at its finest!
If you’ve been privileged and blessed to have a strong community of support, you’re now learning to deal with managing on your own.
You begin to learn about political issues that are important to your host country, and you’ll start to compare your own country’s viewpoints on recycling with New Zealand’s (spoiler: they LOVE recycling). I promise you can see first hand the effects of climate change on New Zealand’s receding glaciers and lack of an ozone layer.
Studying abroad in New Zealand is great because it allows you to question your own beliefs and gives you space to explore new ideas.
5. You’ll make lifelong friends
When you decide to study abroad, you accept the fact that you’ll be moving away from your secure community of friends and family. You’re launching yourself into a new world where you know no one and while that can be absolutely terrifying, it can also be freaking amazing. You’ll find a new confidence that will allow you to make new friends and to build a new network of support.
Not to mention that Kiwis are some of the kindest and most generous people on the planet. They might have a facade of being a tough egg to crack but when they do, they have big hearts and will do whatever they can for those they love.
Being more of a small-town vibe, you’ll notice people are generally friendlier and more helpful and chatty with strangers.
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in addition to Kiwis, you’ll be sure to meet some incredibly inspiring international students who are also experiencing the same life-changing moments you are. Finding those people and sharing those moments will cement your friendship for life.
My study abroad friends are still some of my closest friends on earth, and we’ll forever have that bond from living abroad in a new place together.
6. You’ll find mountains, oceans, rivers, forests, and volcanoes all within driving distance
New Zealand is a small country by many standards but it packs a lot of punch despite its small population and size. The scenery can change vastly in a matter of minutes.
One minute you’re on the coast, soaking up the warm New Zealand rays and the next, you’re being devoured by the densest rainforest you’ve ever seen. A further down the road and you’re suddenly in mountain country with 2,000m peaks jutting out of the flat valley, seemingly touching the sky. Hot pools, giant fiords, wildlife galore.
This country has it all. If you’re looking to pack a lot into one trip, you can’t go wrong with New Zealand. Leave your heels at home and bring your best hiking boots.
7. The best lessons are learned outside of the classroom
Studying aboard is all about what you learn outside of the classroom.
The real benefit comes from being put in a foreign place and being forced to navigate your way through a new world. You’ll mature and become self-reliant in ways you never thought possible. You’ll figure out how to navigate new cities, how to drive on the other side of the road, how to make lifelong connections.
Your classes will be valuable too but the real benefit comes from how you cope outside of your scheduled class time.
8. You’ll come home a bit more humble
In New Zealand, being humble is the best attribute you can carry. Start swallowing your pride now.
Kiwis are not braggadocios and don’t care to hear of your fastest marathon time or that one time you hiked a 14er in Colorado. They don’t care if were an all-star MVP athlete or valedictorian of your class. Bragging about your accomplishments is the least cool thing you can do in New Zealand. They like to see everyone as equals and don’t enjoy hearing someone try to take all the glory.
You won’t be able to help but have this trait rub off on you a bit.
You’ll start doing things because you love them, not because they will give you bragging rights. You’ll learn to be internally happy without always looking for someone else’s validation that you’re good enough.
I reckon if the entire world could adopt this uniquely Kiwi trait, we’d be much better off!
9. You learn to appreciate the things you have
Fast wifi. Cheap fuel. Affordable produce. Free shipping. Good Netflix. These are not things you will not find in New Zealand and that’s okay.
But come on, studying abroad isn’t about staying home and watching Netflix. You’ll learn that these minor inconveniences give you a new found appreciation of the things you have in life and it will go deeper than just being able to afford avocados.
I promise that you’ll realize how incredibly lucky you are in all parts of your life and how amazing it is that you’ve been able to have this opportunity of a lifetime to live in such a special country. Not many people will get to experience what you have and you’ll leave your study abroad feeling just a little bit more appreciative of how privileged you are.
10. You’ll never want to leave
It’s inevitable. The time will come to go home and a sudden wave of sadness will rush over you.
Sure, you’ll feel excited to go home and indulge on all of your comfort foods but you know deep down that New Zealand has stolen a piece of your heart. Leaving will be hard and sad and you’ll look at when you can come back and how you can stay.
Whether you do or not, you’ll know that studying abroad in New Zealand was the best decision you’ve ever made in your life. Something you wouldn’t change for the world.
You leave with a happy heart knowing that even though you’re boarding that plane and leaving the country, New Zealand will never truly leave you.
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Would you study abroad in New Zealand given the chance? Is this something you might apply for? Did you study abroad? How did it change your life? Spill!
If you weren’t already, you should be looking at your flights right now to come to New Zealand to study abroad! Go Overseas has a special Study Abroad Scholarship up for grabs for any student wanting to spend a full semester in New Zealand.
There are three different scholarships with separate prizes!
Undergrad: $15,000 to cover tuition + round trip flight
Graduate: three separate $10,000 scholarships awarded from University of Otago, University of Auckland, and Victoria University of Wellington
European Undergraduate: €12,500 + round trip flights If that sounds like the dream, that’s because it is! The scholarship is for $15,000 for one semester plus round-trip flights to and from New Zealand for undergrads, post grads and European students. All you have to do is: Choose your top 3 programs (participating universities in NZ here) Submit a 300 word essay Upload a creative, New Zealand inspired photo Applications are due October 19th meaning you have just over two weeks to get it done. What are you waiting for? This could be you.