For some students, the decision to go abroad is long considered, applications are carefully completed, and everything is turned in by the application deadline. However, for me, my study abroad application process can only be described as hectic. In a matter of 21 hours I completed my study abroad applications for Cornell and Massey Universities, completed two essays pertaining to what I hoped to gain through studying abroad, and secured two letters of recommendation. I ran through the rain to obtain signatures between classes to nonetheless make the deadline to mail my application to New Zealand. I am not exactly a procrastinator; in fact I would describe myself as the exact opposite. I had thought about going abroad Spring 2009, but the “deal was made” when I did not receive a position that I had interviewed for with an organization that I am a part of. The study abroad application deadline set by Cornell was almost two weeks past, but something told me to take a chance and stop in the Cornell Abroad office to see if I could still apply. By some luck, I was given three options where I could study abroad: New Zealand, Sweden, or Ireland.
Always wanting to visit New Zealand and even looking at a university in New Zealand for veterinary school at one point, I did not have too hard of a decision to make about where I wished to study abroad. I am both excited and exhilarated about my decision to study abroad. While I may not have spent hours ruminating over why I wanted to go abroad or what I hope to gain by studying abroad, I am confident in both my choice of where I am heading and why I am heading there. I look forward to experiencing a new culture and taking in the sights of a new country. Four months in New Zealand will indeed be an experience for personal growth. While I no longer wish to go to veterinary school, I look forward to experiencing the agriculture of New Zealand. I am particularly excited about the abundance of sheep in New Zealand!
While I maintain a large and almost constant excitement to be going to New Zealand, there are of course some fears that I do have. I awoke in a sweat last night from a nightmare that I was bitten by a snake while in New Zealand. Ironically, there are no snakes in New Zealand! Just as there not any snakes in New Zealand, many of my fears of studying abroad are concocted of my own imagination. From inedible food to missed connecting flights, problems may occur, but there is little that cannot be dealt with. The experience of studying abroad I believe will make me better able to deal with many of life’s conflicts while in New Zealand and when I come back.