I’ve never really written a blog post before so I’m not one hundred percent sure how this works. I just hope that the people that are going abroad get a glimpse of what this actually means and how much this will affect your being as a human and your understanding of the world and of yourself. I will also be trying not to sound like an overexcited Tumblresque traveling enthusiast or a cheesy and mainstream Buzzfeed article.
First of all, I’d like to tell you about my impressions so far. I’m currently sat on campus at the University of Auckland killing time in between my Polynesian art module and my Pacific Studies lecture. Now, the first thing you need to understand is that this year is going to change you. No, don’t panic! That’s not a bad thing, especially because what’s going to change is entirely up to you. You’re the one going abroad, you’re the one making the choices. Moreover, my intention in this post is not to promote this country amongst you, by this time you probably already know where you’re going anyway. I just want to give you some advice I think could be helpful. First of all, always push yourself. Things don’t just happen to you. I mean you don’t just happen to end up scuba diving in Fiji or Bungee Jumping in Queenstown, get out there! Go crazy! No one really knows who you were before you moved, it’s a new start in a country YOU decided to go to. Make the most of that opportunity. The only rule I would impose on everyone going abroad is to forget about your comfort zone. Stop being self-conscious! When you get the chance to do something new, just ask yourself ‘Why not?!’. I must say though, when the answer was actually no it usually was because I couldn’t afford it.
Yes, money is important, I can tell you straight on now, IT WILL BE EXPENSIVE. But it’s worth it. So save up, get a job (it’s super easy here) and make the most of your student loans (plus check the government grants, aka free flights). Personally, I don’t think you should worry too much about money, come on, once the year is finished you’ll probably just focus on finishing your degree and getting a job as soon as possible if you’re not carrying on with your studies. You might as well enjoy this year, you’re in debt anyway and this year won’t make a huge difference to your debt. If you’re not then you’re probably loaded, and in that case (lucky you) money isn’t an issue.
Now, for the few of you going to New Zealand or Australia, or traveling relatively far, take your time! If you can, stop off in places on the way there or/and on the way back. It’s a great way of splitting up the long journey (jet lag sucks) and seeing new places. I mean, a stop off in Bali doesn’t sound too bad right? On my way home I’m meeting up in Thailand with my girlfriend, I’m going to Japan and then to California and New York to meet up with people I’ve met over here. I won’t be in England till the 31st of July and I’ll be leaving New Zealand on the 2nd of July. When you are so far away, any place is closer to home and probably on the way (sort of), make the most of that. Basically, in a year’s time I will have flown around the world.
I’ll post some pictures as well so you can see what I’ve actually done. This country is awesome. In fact, I don’t really understand why there are so few UEA students in New Zealand (two of us I believe). Anyway, I don’t want to sound incredibly cliché and say that it has been ‘the best year of my life’, what I want to get to is that this year has been challenging, but awesome. There are always things that go wrong but that’s the whole point of being away. You learn how to work things out and get by, ON YOUR OWN and if you really have serious issues, people will help you.
I hope I haven’t bored you, and I’m sorry if you were expecting a huge list of things I’ve done and how awesome everything is when you’re away from home. I just thought that the chances are 99% of the people reading this won’t be going to New Zealand. If you are and want to know more about it just message me on Facebook and I’ll help you as much as I can. I hope you’re excited and I’m sure you’re already a little bit scared, You’ll all have a great time wherever you are. Just don’t be shy, I can’t stress this enough. Use your common sense, and don’t worry about making mistakes too much. The way I see it, you are on a one year long intensive course in ‘Adulthood Studies’. Once you come back home you’ll have grown up, you will see home as a completely different place, you will wish you could see more and travel more but you still have a degree to finish. You will be a different person on the road to becoming a proper adult, and you’ve done it in the best way possible. You’ve gone to a country you’ve picked, for the amount of time you wanted to. You have already started to shape your future, so all I can say to you now is get out there and change your life!
Will Flaim, World Art Studies