My name is Kara and I am spending this semester abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand! The fall semester at the University of Otago began on July 6, so I just completed midterms 2 weeks ago! Last week I got a week off for my “fall/spring break”, while back at UT the semester is just starting.
In New Zealand the first day of Spring was a couple days ago, it has been very cold since I have been here. We have even had snow several times.
I have four other flatmates (roommates). They are from Germany, England, Taiwan, and my Kiwi host is of course from New Zealand. Kiwi is a term that means New Zealander. At first I thought that only people from other countries called the people of New Zealand Kiwis but New Zealanders tend to refer to themselves as Kiwis, too. The kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand and a very important symbol to the country (much like the bald eagle is to the United States). So far I have run into a few interesting slang terms, so if you are ready I will teach you some New Zealand slang!
Chips= french fries
papers = class courses
boot = car trunk
dairy = corner store
jandles = flip flops
rubbish = trash
scarfie = University of Otago student (much like we call ourselves Longhorns)
take away = to-go, or take out (food)
School is set up a little different here. I have found that my business classes are more heavily essay-based here at Otago. For my papers (classes) the grades break down like this: an essay which is about 20%-30% of your grade, a group project which is 20-30% of your grade, and a final which is 50% of your grade. I have had a lot more essays at Otago as opposed to the quizzes and exams which I find more common in my classes at UT. Final exams are also weighted more heavily here at Otago.
If you need a study break there are many great places close to the university to explore. Here are some of the places that I have been so far:
Signal Hill (a hiking trail just minutes away from the University):
Nichol’s Creek (about a 30 minute walk to the trail and 20 minute hike):
Tunnel Beach (a 25 minute bus ride):
I’d like to start by giving you a short snippet of the memories I made and lessons I learned. As an aspiring Finance major within the McCombs School of Business, Hong Kong (HK) had always been an appealing city to work or study in. It’s regarded as the financial capital of Asia, if not the world, and I knew that experiencing the fast-paced, economically driven city would give me a taste of what my future career held. So when I began exploring study abroad destinations, it’s not surprising that Hong Kong was at the top of my list. After two months abroad, I can confidently say that HK did not disappoint.
The city was all that it was hyped up to be and more. From the buzzing Ladies’ market whose stalls stayed open into the wee hours of the night to the beautiful morning hike to Ma Dai that revealed HK’s calmer side, I was amazed. HK was the perfect blend of East meets West, urban fused with rural, and work mixed with play. However, though the city itself had much to offer, it was ultimately the people I met and befriended that made this summer one to remember. By participating in an exchange program, I was able to meet and interact with students from the UK, Italy, France, Syria, Spain, Africa, Korea, and countless other countries. As a result, I did not just experience the culture of Hong Kong, but also the traditions and nuances of so many individuals whose origins reach far and wide. Now, I have friends in numerous countries that I can contact when I visit their homes. Ultimately, in my mind, that is the most invaluable part of studying abroad – the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends from the all over the world.
I encourage each and every one of you reading this blog to really consider studying abroad for at least a summer (if not a semester). My summer exchange in Hong Kong honestly gave me the best and most rewarding two months of my life and I would love for everyone to take the opportunity to experience that for themselves. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns about studying abroad. I would be more than happy to chat!
Here are some last few photos of Hong Kong :)