It’s Finally Here!

Austin G. Victoria University of Wellington, NZ

Date

June 24, 2016
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In four days I will start a journey – one that I wanted to go on for so long. A journey that I have dreamt about but didn’t actually think that I would get to do. One that is going to make my mom cry for several days after I am gone. One where I hopefully won’t miss my family and friends too much. And one where I hope to learn about different cultures, myself, see wonderful places, and meet new people. In just 96 hours I will get on my first international flight and head towards Wellington, New Zealand – where I will study abroad for four and a half months at Victoria University of Wellington!

I have always loved the idea of traveling. The learning about new cultures, seeing buildings and sites that have been there for hundreds and thousands of years, meeting weird and interesting new people, trying new foods, and learning about yourself. Sadly, being from a family of semi low socioeconomic status, I wasn’t really able to travel much. Sure, we occasionally went on vacation but those mostly dealt with baseball tournaments and the farthest away from home we ever traveled was by car and was around six hours away. Not really traveling. But, I will finally get to see if I actually like traveling.

My first time leaving the country is going to be to New Zealand – a place that I have dreamt about visiting since I was six years old. A place with rolling hills and thousands of miles of beautiful streams. The country where its people are called “kiwis” and are said to be very relaxed in their day to day lives. Sure. I’m definitely a fair bit nervous, but I think my excitement is drowning out the nervous thoughts. I’m not entirely nervous to leave home and all my friends. I like to think I’m pretty good with making new friends wherever I go, and I already go to college 1,300 miles away from home. I’m more worried that I will forget an important document and not be allowed to get on my flight, or accidently get deported for some ridiculous reason.

But like I mentioned before – my excitement is overwhelming everything else! I am so ready to see the country with my own eyes. I want to learn as much as I can about the indigenous people of New Zealand – the Maori. I want to fly fish in as many streams and rivers as I can. I want to go camping in the mountains with friends. I want to explore all of Wellington from Zealandia to Somes Island. I want to watch the All Blacks play a game of rugby. To experience the laid-backness of the kiwis. And most importantly, I want to gain knowledge about myself and make long lasting friends. Oh, and of course learn a ton in my classes too! Because that is what I am there for – studying.

I honestly just can’t believe that it is only 4 days away. I just feel like I have waited forever to go on an adventure of a lifetime like this. So here’s to hoping that it’s life changing (and hoping the 13 hour flight doesn’t bore me too much)!