30 Strange Things I’ve Learned About Myself from Studying Abroad

Well that’s it, folks! My semester abroad in New Zealand has come to an end, and as I reflect on my past few months and all of the amazing things I had the crazy opportunities to accomplish, I realized that I’ve learned quite a few things about myself and about New Zealand. Let’s discuss:

1. I can live in any space and make it home no matter how big or small.

This was it! I’m gonna miss this place!


2. It doesn’t matter how bushed I am after a long day, if I come home and find a spider in my room, I will wage full on war against it.



3. Airplanes hate me. 

Cancelled, delayed, or always seated next to either the guy that has to pee every two seconds or the screaming infant.


4. Tim Tams and L&P are some of the best culinary delights to grace the world with their presence and the United States is SEVERELY missing out! 


5. I love to bake, but I hate to cook. 

This caprese chicken is as fancy as I got. I’m too impatient (and hangry, most of the time) to cook!


6. Farmers markets give me a thrill that I can’t quite describe!



7. I’m not a fish person.  I can’t handle it.

This video primarily features me snorkelling at Goat Island. It wasn’t until I was out of the water that I realized I had been hyperventilating the entire time. …I really don’t like swimming with fish.


8. I cannot keep a plant alive.


9. Getting movies a day ahead or a month behind the United States sucks. If you see it early (Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse), you can’t discuss anything with friends back home, and if you see it late (Zootopia), no one cares anymore!


10. Internet spoilers are the worst. Looking at you, Oscars, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Bates Motel, and Game of Thrones!

Me every time I would forgetfully log on Facebook on a Monday afternoon (which would be Sunday night in the States)


11. Books are beautiful creations that I have largely ignored in favor of their younger cousin, Netflix. 

I got Me Before You, The Martian, and The Girl on the Train while I was here!


12. I am a faux-coffee drinker, meaning I like sugary nonsense that barely qualifies as coffee.


13. I am Murray from Flight of the Conchords. 



It’s true. I’ve discovered that I am incredibly optimistic with little regard for logic. Oh, and I got to see Rhys Darby perform live standup, and I laughed so hard that I stopped breathing for a little bit!



14. I will jump from any height without issue…


15. …unless my legs are bound together. 

That plastered on smile? The sunken shoulders? The awkward squat? Prime “I Don’t Like What’s Happening to Me” behavior!


16. Grace the Horse has an attitude problem and must be stopped.



This is Grace. I rode atop her on a majestic beach. She hated me and was unafraid to show it.


17. Desert dwellers cannot expect to immediately be good surfers. …like I did.

…pretty accurate, actually.


18. Hot air balloons are pretty much my favorite things, and I wil always find a way to locate them! 

My last minute pilgrimage to the Hamilton Balloon Festival proved to be a success!


19. Rugby is SO much better than American football. 


20. I belong in a lake town!

I mean look how beautiful this place is! That’s Queenstown, and I utterly fell in love with it.





22. If I was being chased by a tiger in the wilderness…I’d just stop running and accept my fate. 

I tried to play it as cool as I could, but this was an absolutely TERRIFYING moment for me at the Auckland Zoo!


23. I am claustrophobic in caves…

That’s a lava cave on Rangitoto, and you could not pay me to go in there. Narp.


24. …unless they happen to contain magical glow worms! 

Yarp! Look at how amazing these glow worms are! Being in the Waitomo Caves was one of the best experiences of my life.


And on a more serious note…


25. New Zealand has some of the most beautiful places I have ever witnessed. 

26. I have met some of the most amazing people on my travels that I am genuinely honored to have encountered. 


27. The Maori people have a beautiful culture that deserves respect and protection.



28. This planet is full of wonders that need to be conserved. 



29. Film and theatre has the ability to be a shared, international experience and should always be treated as such.


30. My life has been genuinely enriched by having lived for half a year in a foreign country! 



All photos by author. Gifs from giphy.com

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