A Broad View is written by different international students each week who wish to share their impressions of their time here or unique experiences. Email email@example.com if you are an international student wanting to tell your tale.
T his is the question that inevitably sneaks its way into conversation the minute someone catches my American accent. Before I even get the chance to say “y’all”, Kiwis want to know what made me choose New Zealand for a semester of study and travel. In every case I inevitably stumble over my words, saying something obnoxious like “I just thought it would be pretty, and Lord of the Rings, amiright?” Awkward giggling ensues.
But I did come to New Zealand because I thought it would be pretty, and because I wanted to experience a different way of living, and because, well, Peter Jackson. In moving to Dunedin, I got all of these things (except Peter), and to a greater extent than I could have imagined. So when people ask me “why New Zealand” what I really want to say is “why not?”
New Zealand offers so much, and it does so humbly as evidenced by the nature and frequency of the question “why New Zealand?” I don’t think Kiwis give themselves or their country the credit they deserve. New Zealand is varied. There are beaches, mountains and glaciers mere hours apart from one another. What’s more, it’s beautiful. And most of these wonders are protected not only by law, but by a culture of conservation that honours the country’s natural bounty.
Whether it’s Fiordland, Queenstown or Otago, each region offers something all its own and with minimal distance to travel in between. This is something I could never hope to experience in the States. The East and West Coast may offer varied opportunities, but I would never be able to experience both of them without expensive plane tickets and extensive hours of travel.
So, in terms of the accessibility and quality of the experience, New Zealand wins. It’s pristine, it’s beautiful and, due to the size of the country, it’s a hell of a lot easier to experience on a student budget.