It's been almost three months now since I left New Zealand and when I start to think about documenting my reflections of my time abroad in a more official manner, I am overwhelmed. I think I could write a book!
Needless to say, my time abroad was full of experiences, lessons, and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have made friends that I'm confident I will have forever, I've seen unique and astounding sights, taken pictures that I will admire fondly many years from now, and done some things that I will never get bored of talking about.
Studying abroad is not only an important opportunity for an experience in a different academic setting and country, it is an extraordinary platform for personal growth. I continued to develop my own independence - living and traveling. I grew spiritually - through experiences in nature AND in the city. Most importantly, I realized how simple happiness can be. It's little things that add up to big lessons.
There are quite a few things that come to mind when I think of what I gained from my experience in New Zealand, but one of the first that comes to mind is the blessing of the unique city of Christchurch. It is a city in transition and what an exceptional opportunity to witness that first hand, to dive into a community rebuilding. While it is a challenging time for the city and the area, it is also vibrant and colorful and full of potential. To anyone considering the University of Canterbury, I would highly recommend the course, "Rebuilding Christchurch: An Introduction to Community Engagement in Tertiary Studies." It provides a cool and interesting perspective on student volunteerism, globally and locally.