A Broad View | Issue 13

A Broad View | Issue 13

Go Conquer your Mountain

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 critic@critic.co.nz if you are an international student wanting to tell your tale.

Last week, my Kiwi friend messaged me a screenshot of a rather successful YikYak — “Taking off my tramping boots after a long day of being an American exchange student.” I laughed, putting my phone down to take my boots off after a weekend at the Silver Peaks.

Whether it’s a sleepover at caves on Long Beach or a climb to a hut 1400 metres high on the side of a mountain, there’s always a reason (excuse) to get out and take this breathtaking country in. And apart from the university, I really think that’s why most students choose New Zealand — they come here as a seasoned tramper/surfer/biker, or they come to ultimately become one. The shared yearning for adventure and mountain air moulds the study abroad culture — but that’s only half of it.

The other half comes from the heart and soul of North Dunedin; from the rows of flats that smell like fermented teen spirit; from the red cards; from the open doors of every party on Castle Street. More than anything, I have learned and loved from Dunedin, it’s the openness and wild spirit of the Scarfie community. Coming from a school where your name always has to be on the invite list (unless you’re a girl) and the most frequent question is “oh, where are you working this summer?” Otago has been the greatest reminder to celebrate being alive.

The list goes on and on for all the little things I’ll miss — the ever-present Kiwi accent, dancing to the same five songs at Boogie Nights, watching the world go by sitting atop my favorite perch on my favorite tree in front of the clocktower. But most of all, I’ll forever be thankful for the many people who, in so many different ways, have really shown me that it is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves — whether that mountain is an actual mountain, or a Friday morning exam. 

Catch ya on the flipside, Dunners — we out.

This article first appeared in Issue 13, 2015.
Posted 2:07pm Sunday 24th May 2015 by Reese Sun.