Studying abroad at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand was truly an experience of a lifetime. I lived in the international apartments just across the street from the university. This meant that on my way to class I got to wonder through the breathtaking colors of Ilam Gardens. Blues, greens, reds, and yellows gave me a firsthand perspective to why Christchurch is known as the “Garden City.” The apartments were unique in themselves, much different from dorm living, because students from all over the world lived in them. In my flat alone there were three Americans, from all over the states, one Danish student, and one native New Zealander, better known as a Kiwi. I was able to befriend students from all over the world due to the amazing atmosphere of the apartments.
The student body created an exceptional opportunity for me to branch out and meet people. It helped that the class sizes were much smaller then I was used to. I’m talking about my class of 4 students. It was an uneasy feeling at first, not being able to hide in the back of the classroom. I soon became very comfortable with it and found myself communicating with my peers more and looking forward to attending class. Not only were the classes an amazing social environment but also a strong educational environment. The professors had fantastic personalities that engaged all aspects of the classroom, from serious classroom discussions to nonstop laughter.
The classroom itself was only the first step in the abroad experience. I was able to join several different clubs that took me all over the beautiful island. The Tramping Club, or backpacking club in American, was the perfect fit for a Colorado mountain man like myself. It allowed me to travel from the gorgeous white sand beaches of Able Tasman to the highest snowcapped peaks of the Fjiord lands. Yes, this meant that I could go alpine skiing one day and surfing the next! I packed in as much play time as school would allow me and made sure I came home dirty with adventure every weekend. Going abroad was by far the best discussion I have made in my college career. So stop questioning the facts and start dirtying up for adventure!