As if traveling 8,000 miles away from home isn’t scary enough, imagine traveling with seven other people you just met. That’s exactly what we did on the Fisher Global Projects Program to New Zealand, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Each person on our trip had unique personalities, which allowed us to connect with people we normally wouldn’t, and get to know them better. It also gave us the opportunity to explore New Zealand in the ways we had each individually dreamed about.
During the work week, our group of eight split into two teams: one consulting for Auckland Transport, and the other for the American Chamber of Commerce. But at night and on the weekends, our group reconnected, and we were always looking for the next adventure. New Zealand was perfect for group because much like the unique personalities that made up our team, New Zealand provided a diverse set of options on how to spend our free time. For the thrill seekers, we traveled to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.
For the foodies, we participated in a traditional Hangi dinner at a Maori village, and endulged in lamb every chance we got. For the bookworms, we traveled to Hobbiton, the set of the Lord of the Rings. For the nature enthusiasts, we cruised the Milford Sound and hiked a volcano. For the sports fans, we went to a rugby game. And for those who just to relax, we spent a day in natural hot springs at the Relaxation Spa. These are just of the few amazing experiences we had, but it shows how willing our group was to explore outside of their general comfort zone, and as a result, we were all truly able to immerse ourselves in the Kiwi culture.
Personally, and likely for our entire group, my favorite part of the trip was our weekend excursion to Queenstown. Queenstown is the most beautifulplace I have ever been to, and definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world. When we were landing, the whole plane was silent as everyone was in awe of the snow-capped mountains and the glistening water all around. At the same time, there were endless things to do. In one day, I did the Shotover Jet through narrow canyons, went horseback riding through fields and rivers while being surrounded by the mountains, and went straight up a mountain on the Skyline Gondola to stargaze and see the Milky Way. Others chose to hike, bike ride, kayak, and shop, to name a few other options. We each spent our first day a bit differently, but the following day, we all joined up again to take a cruise through the Milford Sound. The bus ride there was six hours, but we saw farms of lambs, deer, and cows, beaches, rainforests, glaciers, mountains, snow, the Pacific Ocean, and the Tasman Sea. As a whole, this weekend allowed me to form stronger friendships with my peers, channel my independence in seeking out the opportunities most appealing to me, and realize just how beautiful Earth can be.
Without the group I traveled with, I never would have had such an incredible experience. Traveling on trips like those to Queenstown or Rotorua allow you to grow close with new friends, understand different perspectives and personalities, and find interests you never knew you had. If ever presented the opportunity to do a program like this again, I would jump on it right away. I learned so much about myself, others, and different cultures of the world. Now, when I return to Ohio State after break, I look forward to seeing more familiar faces in Fisher, and remembering the great memories we made and all that we learned about the world during our month abroad.