April 14, 2017

Postcard From Abroad: Emma Hall’18

Postcard from Emma Hall ’18, studying abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand
  • The great group of people I lived with in the 480 Leith complex.
  • Name: Emma Hall
  • Hometown:Champaign, Ill
  • Graduation year: 2018
  • Major(s)/Minor(s): Environmental Geology

Where are you studying abroad? Why did you choose this program/country?

University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. I chose to study here because the location is near some of the most beautiful places. The landscape is also completely different from the Midwest, which is what I wanted from going abroad.

Describe some daily rituals/routines that you’ve observed while abroad.

I usually just hang out with all of the wonderful people I have met in my complex. About 30 of us live in a nine-flat complex, and we’re all best friends. If we’re not hanging out, we’re taking weekend trips all over the South Island exploring our temporary home.

What is your favorite place in your host city/country?

My favorite place to go in Dunedin is on a grassy hill filled with wildflowers by a river called the Leith Waterway. My favorite I’ve been to in this country is Milford Sound, which is about four hours away from Dunedin.

A hidden swimming hole in Milford Sound.

What is the biggest difference between Beloit and your host city/university? Biggest similarity?

Otago has about 20,000 students, which is huge compared to the Beloit population of 1,300. The biggest similarity is that it’s so easy to make long lasting relationships with the people here.

What is the most unexpected thing you have encountered so far during your off-campus study experience?

The most unexpected thing would be how much I miss the Beloit classes and professors. Studying here just isn’t the same.

What has been your proudest/most exciting moment abroad?

My proudest moment would have been completing a 37-mile trail in three days. One of those days consisted of hiking 18 miles (10 hours). The terrain was challenging yet one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced.

How has your identity influenced your experiences abroad?

I’m not really sure how my identity influenced experiences abroad. I’ve had the time of my life here and maybe how I have chosen to spend my time reflects who I am as a person. I just know that everything has been beyond perfect during my time in New Zealand.

Hiking to a hut on the Routeburn TrackHiking to a hut on the Routeburn Track

What is a common food there? What is the best meal you’ve had abroad?

Pies! Individual meat pies are the best, and I am so sad they don’t exist in the states. Every time we go on a trip or adventure we have to stop by a gas station or a little bakery to get pies. They are always phenomenal.

What are the three most important things you packed in your suitcase? Why?

Camping gear–I’m so glad I brought my pack, sleeping bag/pad, and my hiking boots. I go camping just about every weekend and they are essential items to have here in New Zealand.

Journal–Journaling really helps reflect on the adventures that I have experienced. It will also be so nice to relive my experiences when I’m missing New Zealand the most.

What is one song from your host country that you think everyone here should listen to?

“Poi E” by the Patea Maori Club

What will you bring home as a souvenir?

A green stone necklace.

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