Now that I am back in the United States after being in New Zealand for a month, I have spent a lot of time thinking back to my study abroad trip. The return home is definitely bittersweet because while I am happy to be back home and with my family, I really miss New Zealand and everything it has to offer.
Most of all, I miss the natural beauty of New Zealand. Because New Zealand has put a lot of effort into preserving its environment, it is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. In addition to that, I miss the food and how nice everyone is there. On top of just missing the country, I am really missing the other UA students who were also part of the program. Being in another country brought us really close, and it is weird to no longer see them every day.
Also, going to New Zealand has given me a lot of tips on going to another country that would be helpful for anyone considering studying abroad. First, do some research on what the climate will be like in the country you are studying abroad in. Since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, I had to pack for cool weather, even though it was warm in the United States. Also, you might need a voltage adapter or converter, depending on where you go. Some countries operate on different voltages than the United States, so appliances and chargers that work at home might not work abroad. Finally, spend some time learning about the customs of the country you want to travel to so you know what to expect. For example, while tipping the waitstaff in a restaurant is normal in the United States, it is not a normal custom in many other countries.
Even though I am sad to leave New Zealand and I miss my friends, more than anything, I am very grateful that I had the experience of being there. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I will not forget it anytime soon.