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Off-Campus Study

Notes from Abroad: Diego in New Zealand

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Diego Rojas-Toledo’17, a Philosophy/French double major and pre-med student currently studying abroad in New Zealand.

Kia Ora!

It has been an unbelievable three months for me here in New Zealand. I’ve put off writing this letter for so long mainly because I don’t want to consider how little time I have left to spend in this magnificent country. I’m learning so much from my classes here at the University of Auckland as well as the LFC bridge course (some things even most New Zealanders don’t get the chance to learn!). The classes and professors are very knowledge and quite capable of presenting information in a very student-friendly and digestible manner. The people in general are quite the gem themselves. Here in New Zealand most everyone is friendly and happy and even when they aren’t they are still quite respectful on a level above most other places I’ve been able to visit. New Zealanders are quite mindful of the environment and diligent in protecting and respecting their natural surroundings probably more than any other western country and I would be to if I lived there. Everywhere you look there’s something beautiful in New Zealand. I went on a hike during spring break and found a puddle on the side of the track from heavy rain that made a perfect reflection of the mountains and the lush green landscape. A puddle! And it was absolutely stunning!

I think the biggest change about living in New Zealand would have to be commodities. It is quite expensive to ship things to New Zealand and especially if they are more specialized or bulky items. You won’t find so many options as you do in the United States and in my eyes it is for the better. When you order things online the shipping goes from the impatient 2-day student shipping on Amazon to 2-6 weeks. Other than that however, it’s pretty easy going. The weather isn’t too cold so you can do many different outdoor activities all year round (like slack-lining and rock-climbing). Every single day I do something I’m not used to and that I don’t have the opportunity to do back home and it is the most invigorating experience. It rejuvenates the mind and body and really brings back those kid-like the wide eyes and unshakeable will to keep exploring, to keep learning, to keep growing. Where you can eat the world and see everything and do everything. That’s been my experience anyways.

I’d like to thank both Dale and Ruth Smith for their help in making this trip a reality, I am truly grateful for the opportunity, more than words can express.


-Your favorite Philosophy/French double major and pre-med student,

Diego Rojas-Toledo