Hi, I'm Liz, and I got my first taste for traveling when I was 16 years old. On my own, 12 years and 50 something countries later, my wanderlust has only grown and the list of countries I want to visit longer. After living in Spain for the past few years and returning home for a stint, I then quit my job and moved to New Zealand and I've been here ever since. Follow my misadventures as..
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The sun is shining getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and Santa is putting on his best Hawaiian shirt for the holiday BBQ by the beach.
Ok, ok. I know a summertime Christmas probably isn’t really what you’d first think of when you hear about Santa, elves and general holiday spirit. But whether you’re spending your holidays in the Arctic or Australia, we all have one thing in common: buying gifts sucks BIG TIME.
How are you supposed to know what gift to buy for that brother who’s into that really obscure hobby? Or a cousin whose name you have trouble remembering. Can’t give everyone socks or candles can we?
Well, if you’re buying for the outdoorsy person in your life or someone who travels, you’re in luck. I’ve selected my top gifts for the Young Adventuress (or adventurer) in your life from the nomadic traveler to the dirtbag darling to everything in between.
Gifts for the Nomadic Traveler
Buying gifts for a traveler is tricky because usually, people on the road don’t want to be weighed down by unnecessary baggage but even the wandering nomad is likely to have a secret wishlist.
This pack is like if a backpacking bag and a suitcase had a love child.
The hip belt and sternum straps make it easy to tote around from country to country and the front zip makes it easy to pack and unpack. No more digging through a top loaded bag to find what you’re looking for.
As a bonus, the 40L size is accepted on most airlines as carry-on luggage!
The insulated walls ensure that the contents stay warm or cold for up to 24 hours! The double-wall 18/8 stainless steel construction prevents condensation from building up on the exterior, and the nonporous corners on the inner layer help to kill odors and bacteria buildup.
Finding clean water as a traveler can be tough and for those who are environmentally conscious, buying plastic water bottles is not very attractive.
The LifeStrwa filtration bottle solves all of your hydration problems. This water bottle features a built-in filtration system that filters water as it flows through the straw when you’re drinking. The carbon capsule eliminates waterborne bacteria and protozoa for 100 liters of water sourced directly from the cool waters that you love to backpack by.
I finally invested in one of these after my second parasite. I’m not kidding.
Go ahead and drink out of that river. You’ll be fine.
If you’re prone to staying in hostels, fighting for an outlet can be a gruesome battle. This power bank features two USB outputs for powering your tables, smartphones, and any other USB device. The power bank is rugged and waterproof so it’ll stay safe during your most adventurous excursions.
This converter set allows you to use North American appliances internationally. The set includes the actual converter as well as five ungrounded adapter plugs. Low and high settings accommodate different watt requirements so no more worrying about blowing up your appliances.
It’s stretchy and moisture-wicking fabric makes this hoody the most comfortable outdoor shirt I’ve ever owned. The balaclava hood is a great addition for when the wind picks up or the temperatures drop. This piece is perfect for any outdoor adventure where you’ll need warmth and versatility.
Ever since I bought these pants I’ve been reluctant to take them off.
They are the perfect mix between comfy and high performance. Wear them on a hike or wear them to get coffee. They’re great for climbing or great for sitting on a plane for long periods of time. Seriously, you’ll never want to take off these pants.
Merino wool tights are the best. They regulate your heat and keep you nice and toasty when the temperatures drop. I wear these on cold weather hikes or under ski pants on the slopes. They are higher waisted and super comfy.
I have more jackets than any one person needs but this one has got to be one of my favorites. The jacket is a lightweight soft-shell that protects against the wind while still being remarkably breathable. The fabric stretch in this jacket is amazing. It doesn’t prohibit any movement which makes this the perfect jacket for climbing, hiking, and all over adventuring.
It’s hip belt and sternum straps make it a conformable fit and the mesh back panel helps keep you cool when the temps rise. With 20L of space, you can fit all of the essentials without being bogged down. It’s also hydration compatible so your water is always within easy reach.
I use it for most of my multi-day hikes unless I really need to bring a lot of gear. It’s a simple construction made with ultra-light materials. Every piece of the bag was made with being ultra light the top priority. The construction is simple and there’s no hood or brain pocket but this doesn’t bother me at all. It’s really comfortable, despite being ultra minimal.
I love getting socks because they are expensive to buy but so invaluable. I love these socks because they’re ultra durable and have an amazing warranty system. If you do manage to wear them out (and that’s a big if), just send them in and they’ll replace them!
These are expensive but an amazing investment, thank you Dad!
Keep yourself safe in the backcountry with a PLB. If trouble arises, activate your beacon and search and rescue will be notified. You can use these in practically any country and it’s totally worth the peace of mind. You never know what could go wrong and even a tiny spill can lead to monumental consequences.
Rotorua is surrounded by stunning lakes and has heaps of local culture and activities to suit everyone, but what makes it really unique is the geothermal activity there.
The town is part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, an area of 350 kilometers of volcanic activity which includes lots of unique features like bright crater lakes, geysers, boiling mud pools, natural hot pools and of course, volcanoes.
I have traveled to a lot of places, but I have never been anywhere quite like Rotorua. Here you can literally see houses next to steaming vents, and of course, the occasional whiff of sulphur drifting through the wind.
I recently just returned to help launch the brand new Rotorua Instagram Trail Map, which you can pick up from the iSITE information center in town, which is a clever guide to some of the most photogenic (and awesome) spots in the area, all of which are FREE! Since I’m the kind of person who often plans my stops according to “picturesque”ness, this was made for me!
Here are some of my favorite “Instagrammy” spots in town, enjoy!
1. Wander up to the Te Puia lookout
Of all the things listed on the new Instagram map for Rotorua, this perhaps was what I most excited for.
Te Puia is an iconic geothermal park in town, home to the Pōhutu Geyser and many local Māori experiences. I often bring friends here as activities but it is a paid experience.
The map marked out a new trail in town in the Redwoods Forest that I hadn’t considered before, the Pohaturoa Track (which is marked in yellow) and you can access from the Redwoods iSITE or Waipa Mountain Bike Car Park – which is what I did. You just walk into the forest and take the first left and follow up along the yellow markers.
It’s a beautiful walk through Rotorua’s iconic redwood forest, but along trails that probably only locals use.
There are all sorts of deviations and lookouts along the way up and down but as you descend down from the top you’ll be offered what might be my favorite view in Rotorua: looking out towards the town and lake over Te Puia.
It’s really cool to see these geothermal wonders from above, and the steam is just mesmerizing.
2. Get lost in the the Whakarewarewa Forest (Redwoods)
Right outside central Rotorua is the iconic Redwoods Forest aka Whakarewarewa Forest in Māori. Honestly, it took me years to be able to say this outloud like a pro, but my best tip is to break the words down when pronouncing it “whaka” “rewa” “rewa” – and remember that “wh” in Māori is pronounced as an “f.”
Now that you’re a bit more educated, let me explain.
This forest is an ICONIC part of Rotorua, it’s almost the epicenter of activity in town. Here tourists mix with locals and everyone centers here to enjoy the dozens of incredible tracks for hiking, running, walking, horseback riding, and especially mountain biking. Rotorua is famous for its mountain biking trails, and the Redwoods are home to some of the best.
Most of my favorite trails leave from around the iSITE in the forest, beneath the Treewalk.
3. Go stargazing at the Blue Lake
What I love about Rotorua is that its surrounded by beautiful, easily-accessed lakes, many of which are warm and pleasant swimming holes, and have cute little baches and holiday houses you can squirrel away in.
The Blue Lake is one of my faves, only a few minutes out of town, but it feels like you’re far away in the countryside. With an awesome track that winds its way around the lake, it’s one of my go-to quiet spots to sit and chill, and go for a swim in summer.
And the holiday park across the road is one of my favorite camp sites on the North Island, even though the wifi is crap, there is a coffee truck!
4. Twirl around in a dress on the Landing Jetty
The jetty across from the Landing Cafe on Lake Tarawera was made for Instagrammers.
The perfect place to set up your tripod at sunrise for a long exposure, the leading lines of the jetty face out towards Mount Tarawera, which famously blew its top (well, 3 tops) in 1886, completely changing the surrounding landscape, burying whole villages, killing hundreds and even creating some lakes.
Quietly ominous now, the volcano looms ever large in the distance.
5. Relax and soak your bones at Kerosene Creek
The first time I visited Kerosene Creek was over five years ago, when I was living in Wellington. It was once a local secret, and yours truly never shared anything about it, but others weren’t so quiet.
Nowadays it’s a free popular hot pool spot for backpackers and tourists 30 minutes out of town, and you rarely will spot a local here. Don’t be deterred, it’s a great spot and a must-do for visiting Rotorua, and if you time it right, like in the early morning, you’ll have it all to yourself.
A few kilometers down the gravel Old Waiotapu Rd, you’ll find the car park which is next to the river; follow it along and you’ll find a two meter waterfall and rock pools where you can soak in the steaming water. Just don’t stick your head under!
6. Hike up Rainbow Mountain
Combine your stop with Kerosene Creek with a hike up Rainbow Mountain nearby.
A bit of a slog uphill for an hour and half, there are nice views from the top. Or if you’re feeling lazy like me, just walk for a little bit and you’ll come across some steaming crater blue lakes bubbling up from below.
Seriously, how does the earth generate such bright blue lakes? Magic?
7. Marvel at the rafters going over Okere Falls
On the northern side of Lake Rotorua, the little Okere community is a thriving hot spot for white water kayakers.
The Okere Falls Track is a lovely short walk with viewpoints over different waterfalls on the Kaituna River. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can join in on one of the white water rafting tours that leads guests over the falls.
In fact, it’s the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, with seven meter drop!
8. Explore Kuirau Park in downtown Rotorua
Some cities have parks with duck ponds and big willow trees. Rotorua has parks with boiling lakes and steaming mud pits. Talk about next level!
You will definitely smell Kuirau Park before you get there. A bustling hive of geothermal activity, this local park in downtown Rotorua is the perfect introduction to the city.
To be honest, I’ve driven past it dozens of times before I ever stopped to have a look around. I never hear about it online but I reckon it’s one of Rotorua’s best-kept secrets, and worth wandering around on a visit to town. It was pouring rain and windy when I stopped there at sunset, making it mysterious (and a little creepy) but a true wonder to photograph!
9. Watch the sunrise at the Lakefront Jetty
True story – I am not a morning person. I wish I was!
This does not jive with my role as a photographer; always on the hunt for the best light, that means our days usually revolve around sunrises and sunsets when we are hopefully treated with nice colors, soft light and even tones.
My first day in Rotorua I did manage to drag myself out of bed at 5:30am (I repeat, 5:30am, guys!!) and walk a few minutes to the lakefront where the local jetty overlooks Mokoia Island, and just in time to watch the sunrise. Just me and the duckies.
As much as it sucks getting out of bed early, even I have to admit it was pretty awesome!
10. Go for a little walk along the Okareka Boardwalk
Only 15 minutes from town, Okareka is another one of Rotorua’s best-kept secrets. A little classic kiwi lakeside holiday home spot, it sits on the shore of another warm, lovely lake home to lots of great birds.
See, I’m sold already.
With a beautiful boardwalk that meanders through the wetlands, its the kind of place locals go for a job and families bring their babies our in the stroller for a weekend wander out of the house.
Simple, delightful and beautiful, it’s one of my happy places, and I love exploring around here.
To be fair, these methods work for some people – don’t let me yuck your yum if you’re an Excel junkie.
But if budgeting that way has never worked for you, you are not alone. For so many of us, there’s nothing fun about your eyeballs drying out while you try to get those little white rectangles to Do The Maths.
Me after a nasty Excel fight, but in my dreams (Taichung, Taiwan)
Try a few of these out and see if they kick some color into your money life. Here are my 4 best tricks for better budgeting – good luck!
I pretty much do “budgeting” the way I do “yoga” — however the hell I want (Hoi An, Vietnam)
1. Open at least 3 bank accounts
Most people look at me like I have some freaky banking fetish when I tell them I have 8 bank accounts. So far.
Why? Pure and simple organization. (Also, it kind of makes me feel like a Kardashian.)
If I keep my emergency savings separate from my rent money, and I keep all of that separate from my Go “Head, Buy Those Tequila Shots money?” Way, way less money stress for me.
Ask your bank to help you set up as many accounts as you like – for bill paying, for fun cash, for that Someday Vacay to St. Tropez savings – but ask questions: Some banks charge fees or do credit checks before opening new accounts. Don’t be afraid to leave your stanky bank for a new fee-free one.
Don’t have attachment issues with your bank. Like me. With this car. (Christchurch, New Zealand)
2. Nickname all those bank accounts
I like you, so I’mma ask you my go-to 12th date question: Wanna see what my bank accounts look like?
That’s right: I nickname the hell out of my bank accounts.
This helps keep my money and my brain organized – and I just feel a legit relationship to my money knowing I christened each account myself. Ask your bank if they have a nicknaming feature.
Do you know the deep pleasure I get when I receive a text that says, “You’ve just made a withdrawal from your RATCHET ACCOUNT”? Or when I see customer service type, “Ms. Anat, will this check be deposited into your FUCK OFF FUND?”
The little anti-capitalist in me gets a chuckle out of it every time. Suddenly, banking is hilarious.
When the bank teller looks down at my accounts and then looks back up at me, I’m just like… (Hue, Vietnam)
3. Sharpie your cards
Since I use several bank accounts, an annoying thing happens – I get sent several debit cards. I had no idea how I’d tell them all apart until I thought, hold up. Can’t I just take a Sharpie to these bitches and label them myself? In the words of the polarizing poet, Kanye: Who gon’ stop me, haaahh?
So, I took a biggo’ black marker and clearly labeled each card with the name of the corresponding account. These labels serve as a disciplinary tool: Seeing “BILLS ONLY” all huge on my bills-only debit card definitely stops me from spending my rent money on tequila.
On the flip side, pulling out my “RATCHET YASSS” card is an amazing conversation starter with strangers.
This goes for credit cards, too.
If you have an emergencies-only card, it’s less likely that you’ll throw it down for margs if a big ol’ “EMERGENCIES ONLY, BISH” is screaming at you in Sharpie. You can also leave problematic, temptation-danger cards at home. Done.
Trying to enjoy your life but credit card debt be on your mind like… (Taroko Gorge, Taiwan)
4. Embrace the cash envelope system
This is a whole way of life, y’all. The cash envelope system means you cash out your entire paycheck into small bills. Then, you manually organize your cash into labeled envelopes for everything on your budget.
That means if you only want to let yourself spend $50 on Friend Dinners this week, you stick $50 actual dollars in an envelope labeled “Friend Dinners” – and if that cash runs out, then tough shit, it runs out. If you’ve budgeted $80 for groceries, you take your “Groceries” envelope to the store with $80 real dollars in it and stretch that money like ya momma gave you food allowance.
Handling your cash makes money feel so painfully real, as opposed to the make-believe money feeling that debit and credit cards give us. If you know you’ll benefit from this kind of discipline, getcha butt to an Office Depot and envelope yo’ life.
What other sneaky money tricks do you know? What works for you? Share!
Nestled down at the bottom of the world you’ll find one of the most stunning and surprising places – Saunders Island.
Never heard of it? Don’t worry, most haven’t, me included. Here I go again spilling the beans on one of the world’s best-kept secrets.
One of the largest islands that comprise the archipelago of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Saunders Island is often one of the incredible stops on a voyage to the subantarctic with Quark Expeditions. And did I mention the best part?
Saunders Island is home to some of the most incredible birds on earth. Also it’s a sheep farm – it multi-tasks.
A veritable nature lover’s paradise, Saunders Island is a must-visit for fellow bird nerds like me.
While South Georgia nearby often gets all the attention, and usually included on the same itineraries that cover the Falklands, Saunders Island is a bit of a dark horse and is guaranteed to delight and surprise.
These are my favorite places to visit – when you have no expectations and are blown out of the water.
A place so remote that Wikipedia lists its population as four. Yes four, but five in summer, Saunders Island is tiny but mighty, owned by the Poole-Evans family, who will likely come out to say hello to you in their trusty Land Rover Defenders when you make port.
The elusive Jarrad Seng spotted in the wild
First settled in 1765 by the Brits on their international plan of world domination, less than five years later they were booted out by the Spanish and over the next century shifted ownership until the Brits were victorious in 1833 ever since, though don’t bring this up to anyone from Argentina unless you’re ready to have your head bitten off.
But back to the birds.
With the human population is less than ten, the bird populations have managed to soar, in spite of a sizable rat problem.
With stunning white sandy beaches and blue waters, it’s not what you might expect from such a wild and remote place. Most of the expedition ships like with Quark call into “The Neck” where the highest concentration of wildlife co-exists along with some sheep.
Here penguins rub shoulders with rare seabirds in a place unlike I’ve ever seen before or since. It was the perfect introduction to the subantarctic and absolutely blew me away.
Here are some of the birds you’ll meet on Saunders Island in the Falkland Islands – enjoy!
Ah the gentoos, the classic of the classic penguins, and the most likely to greet you as you step off the zodiac onto the beach at Saunders Island.
With an estimated 6,700 breeding pairs on Saunders Island and around 100,000 on the Falklands, you are definitely going to see these guys waddling around you. While the origin of their name is unknown, it’s pretty cool to note that gentoos are the only penguin on earth whose population and home is increasing, especiall in Antarctica.
Far from one of the most popular birds on the Falklands, the Johnny Rook aka the striated caracara is a scavenger, that breeds around the penguin and seabird colonies, living off dead stuff and even newborn or weakened sheep, which led it to be persecuted by farmers in the past.
Luckily times have changed and while they are far from abundant, these smart and fearless birds of prey have no qualms about us visitors, and aren’t even phased.
You’ll see them lurking about the beaches, as if oblivious to us humans wandering around ooh-ing and ahhh-ing all of the penguins.
Wow wow wow, now let me just say, nothing will prepare you for how blown away you’ll be the first time you clap eyes on a king penguin.
Magnificent and beautifully colored, I thought we would only see these guys in Antarctica, but boy I was wrong. Saunders Island on the Falklands is home to them too, and we were lucky enough to see them on our visit.
I plonked myself down in the sand for ages watching them, and I could barely believe my eyes when I saw a little chick peek out from underneath one of them – squeee! What a delightful moment!
Request a quote to adventure to the Falklands and South Georgia with Quark Expeditions today!
With over half a million breeding pairs on the subantarctic islands, on a visit to the Falklands you’ll likely to meet one of my favorite birds – the black-browed albatross.
Albatross are simply stunning creatures. Monogamous and living up to 70 years old, these guys mate for life, and there is a tremendous colony you can visit on Saunders Island.
Rockhopper penguins waddle through their nests above the sea, and the chicks are just enormous, fluffy grey balls surrounded by their parents. Beautiful and smelly, I adore albatross.
They are just enormous, watching them try to land is frankly terrifying as they often can crash and look almost like little airplanes soaring above you on the cliffs.
As if I haven’t mentioned enough of the incredible creatures you’ll spot on Saunders Island, there is yet another penguin mingling amongst the masses – the magellanic penguin.
Named after, you guessed it, the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted them in 1520, the classic black and white penguins reminded me a lot of similar species I’ve seen in South Africa.
Rather shy, you could see them hesitantly make their way up the beach to their nests from a day at sea, waddling along with their friends.
Honestly, I don’t think you can watch penguins walk around and not smile! Go on, prove me wrong!
Ok, if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be these guys. I mean, come on, look at them.
They are the rockstars of the penguin world. With incredible yellow feathery eyebrows and a rather bemused expression, these little rockhopper penguins are hard not to love.
One of several types of crested penguins, you’ll find them on Saunders Island, and these are the ones that swim so fast they can launch themselves out of the water and land on their bellies. I spent a long time observing their colonies on the Falklands absolutely mesmerized by these colorful little penguins.
Book the Falklands and South Georgia today and use promo code LIZ150 for $150 onboard credit that can be used for purchases on board at the polar gift shop, or, cough cough, the bar
In New Zealand where I live you’re very lucky if you see even one of the similar Fiordland-crested penguins, and here I was surrounded by thousands. One even walked right by me as I sat frozen in awe; it was so close I could have kissed him. But I didn’t.
Man, penguins are so cool.
Have you ever considered visiting the Falkland Islands? Would you love to see some of these incredible birds up close and personal? Share!
Many thanks to Quark Expeditions for helping get me to the Falkland Islands, like always, I’m keeping it real, all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!
Go Overseas is offering three scholarships for the chance to study abroad in New Zealand – apply by Oct. 19th
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.
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.
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.
Application deadline is October 19th at 11:59 pm PST
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.
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!