A land of rolling pastoral landscapes and soaring mountains, the geography of New Zealand is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, New Zealand dwells in splendid geographical isolation as the largest visible part of Zealandia, a submerged continent half the size of Australia. Most people are familiar with these sights, because they served as the backdrop for the epic, Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings series. A developed nation, New Zealand is known for its high quality of life, pleasant people, and progressive policies. The government is rated in the top three in fiscal transparency. The culture is mostly British-influenced, with indigenous Maori and other Australasian characteristics.
Despite being a modern nation, agriculture and livestock products such as wool and milk continue to play a major role as exports enriching the economy.Thanks to peaceful surroundings (aside from volcanoes), good weather, a prosperous land, and a different take on living, New Zealanders are reputed to find comparatively greater satisfaction in life than their wealthy and powerful Anglo-American allies.However, these surroundings are not necessarily only peaceful – thrill-seekers can go to New Zealand to try hiking (known as tramping), bungee jumping, rafting, or the bizarre sport of zorbing. According to the Zorb website, people climb into a giant inflatable ball and roll down hills, making New Zealand “lead the world in stupid things to do while you're on a vacation.” Nevertheless, New Zealand promises unforgettable experiences and sights that people will remember for a lifetime.
Visitors to New Zealand should try to travel across the country. It is relatively easy to rent a car and drive up and down the north or south islands to see the rolling hills and countless sheep. Lovers of adventure should definitely take the opportunity to visit Lake Taupo, the skydiving capital of the world, or Queenstown, where you can jump off of the highest bungee jump or bungee swing in the world. You can cross the Alpine on a hike in the Tongariro, or head up to the top of the famous Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.. The botanical gardens in Wellington host free concerts throughout the summer months (January-April) and from there you will see beautiful scenes of the entire city. There are also plenty of wineries across the country. It is possible to walk everywhere that you need to go once you get into a city, and Air New Zealand has rather inexpensive flights from one city to the next if you’d rather fly than drive.
Things to Do:
Head up to Rotorua and go Zorbing. You will never regret rolling down a hill in a giant hamster ball. While you’re there you may realize that everything smells slightly of rotten eggs. The geothermal pools are no more than 10 miles away from most of the Zorbing businesses and smell like sulfur. Witnessing the colors of these pools will be something that you never forget. If you visit Wellington, visit the farmers market on the harbour, Te Papa museum, and spend a lot of time on Cuba Street.
The nightlife in New Zealand varies on where you are. Most businesses close at 4:30pm if not earlier on weekdays. If you see a sign that says open “until late” that usually means 6/7pm. If you want to go out for nightlife, you will start to see life reappearing around 10/11pm. The most popular cities with nightlife are Queenstown, Wellington, and Auckland.
There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:
For more scholarships, visit Scholarships for Study Abroad in New Zealand
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Also, here are some links to potential opportunities for students who have studied abroad and graduates interested in work opportunities in New Zealand.
Tips for African American and Latino Students
New Zealand is generally accepting of people of various cultures and ethnicities. Black and Latino students however, should still be aware that New Zealand is about 70% white, and less than 1% Latino/African/Black. You may experience stares simply because people are not used to seeing many people of color. Most native New Zealanders may mistake you for being Fijian or Malaysian because of your darker complexion. New Zealand does have a history rooted in colonialism, so students should be aware of the way race and colorism plays out for indigenous people of color, the Maori.
Tips for Asian American Students
The Asian population in New Zealand is growing rapidly. The rapid growth is happening mostly in the northern parts of the North Island. In fact, Asians make up almost 10% of the New Zealand Population. This is due to the growing economy. New Zealanders are used to seeing Asian immigrants and tourist, so you will not have any significant problems integrating into everyday society.
Tips for LGBTQ Students
New Zealand is accepting of all people, including individuals in the LGBTQIA community. There are several Members of Parliament that belong to the LGBTQIA community and gay rights are protected, including the right to marry. Same sex relationships are even seen as acceptable among the native Maori population. Auckland is considered one of the most “gay-friendly” cities, globally. It is important to realize, though, similar to other western nations, there may be some individuals who are queerphobic.
Tips for Students with Disabilities
Generally, New Zealand is very accessible with streets, public transportation, facilities and other infrastructure suited to meet the needs of the country’s disabled population. You should not have any major issues with having adequate accommodations. You should always plan ahead, however, especially for trips to wildlife parks or other outdoor activities.
Tips for Religious Students
Christianity is the primary religion practiced in New Zealand. Christian students will have no problem finding faith communities. Students that practice Islam will find small, but growing numbers of followers and a number of religious centers to worship in. Hinduism and Buddhism are growing rapidly in New Zealand. This is no doubt due to the country’s proximity to Eastern Asia and growing immigration. Muslim students should always be aware of growing Islamophobia, but will generally experience major issues while in New Zealand.
New Zealand is one of the most picturesque nations in the world. Known around the globe as the setting for the Lord of the Rings triology film, students can expect to spend time enjoying natural wonders -- most notably Milford Sound, Bay of Islands, or Lake Taupo. Prepare to meet indigenous Maori people as they would in their culture -- with a hongi!
Made up of two primary islands, New Zealand is small country that remarkably has more sheep than it does human inhabitants! Home to beautifully diverse terrain, and some of the warmest people on earth, it's no wonder many students in Environmental Studies choose to study here.
" In 2016, I lived in Wellington for six weeks, drove from Christchurch to Queenstown, drove from Wellington to Auckland, and spent a weekend in Lake Taupo. As a multiracial woman of color, I never felt discriminated against in New Zealand, though I did witness discrimination against a Maori man. Similar to majority of Western nations, New Zealand has individuals who discriminate against minorities, though not everyone in the country shares those sentiments.
It is important to remember that you will be seen as a representative of the United States and may be asked somewhat sensitive questions about terrorism, gun violence, or the state of politics in the US. You do not have to speak for the entire US nor are you required to answer their questions. When I was there, I simply reminded the person that not everyone in the nation has the same values and ideas and that 24/7 news cycles likely only reports the topics that will make big money!" - Maggie Kelley, DA Fellow 2016
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