BCA Student Blog

Top 10 Fun Surprises: New Zealand Study Abroad Program

New Zealand Study AbroadKia Ora (Māori greeting)!

I have been quite busy lately travelling to the other side of the world to Dunedin, New Zealand for the semester. I’ve been here for about two weeks now and I want to share a few things about studying abroad. I strongly encourage you to get out there and push yourself to new limits. Classes start this week, but I’ve been busy exploring the outdoors and trying new things! Culture shock is a real thing and I thought it would be a good first blog to share with you my list of the top 10 things that have surprised me most.

Top 10 Fun Surprises on My New Zealand Study Abroad Program

  1. More Relaxed: Many people go to run errands or shop with no shoes on, and nobody ever seems in too big of a rush. There are lots of friendly faces that are always willing to stop and chat with you!
  2. New Zealand Study AbroadDriving on the Left: Riding in a car on the left side of the road is very strange! I always feel like we’re about to crash.
  3. Walking on the Left: Naturally, society walks on the sidewalk the same way they would drive. I have run into many locals around town because I forget to walk on the left side of the sidewalk!
  4. No Tax & No Tipping: The price stated on a tag or menu is the total price, no extra costs… which has been very nice!
  5. Walking Everywhere: Coming from a small town in Indiana, it’s very strange to not have a car and have to walk everywhere I go. Gas here is very expensive (about 7 dollars a gallon), so walking at least 20 minutes to get somewhere has been quite the adjustment!
  6. Metric System: I don’t think in the metric system just yet. Temperature, speed limits, and distance has been a challenge for me so far… but I’ll get there eventually.
  7. Locks & Doors: Locks unlock/lock and doors open/close opposite than at home. I have run into many doors since being here thinking they are push when in fact they are pull.
  8. New Zealand Study AbroadSauces: Kiwis don’t really put sauce on food and if sauce comes with your food it’s not the sauce you would think. The most popular sauces here are aioli and tomato sauce (pronounced toe-ma-toe… and does not taste like ketchup from the States!). My favorite dipping sauce is buffalo sauce and that is nowhere to be found here… missing that big time!
  9. Time Difference: New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Indiana. I am just starting to kick my jet lag and get into a good routine. Sometimes I still forget about the time difference and call or text people in the early hours of the morning. I have also wished some friends from back home Happy Birthday a day early since it was their birthday here already!
  10. Not Knowing Anyone: I think the thing I miss most about home are all the familiar faces. This campus is very large and I can walk all over campus without seeing a single familiar face, which is very different for me.

So far, my experiences have been great. I wouldn’t trade any of the sights I’ve seen so far for the world. I can’t wait to see what else this semester brings, cheers!

New Zealand Study Abroad ProgramAbout the Author – Catherine Byers, Spring 2017 BCA Dunedin, New Zealand student

Hi! I am a biology-chemistry major and business minor from Manchester University in Indiana. I hope one day to go to graduate school to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. I play basketball and love to cook and bake in my free time. I chose New Zealand because of all the opportunities to go tramping and see so many beautiful landscapes. I love how friendly Kiwis are and how willing everyone is to stop and chat to get to know me!


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The views and opinions expressed in these blog entries are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of BCA Study Abroad, the organization's staff, and/or other contributors to this website.