By Natasha Toole, BA Psychology & Sociology Erasmus + Credit Mobility Grant, Unitec Institute of Technology New Zealand
I knew from the start that I wanted to complete my study abroad in New Zealand. Having lived in Australia before I had heard only great things about New Zealand, both its beautiful landscape and its welcoming people and I also had a lot of friends living here.
Studying at Unitec I have chosen to take different courses than my course of study at home which is the BA Psychology and Sociology. I have elected to study sports science, Maori culture and science here. Although I have no idea what I intend to do career wise this has opened my mind to other study opportunities and other areas of interest. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time living, studying and travelling in New Zealand and the Erasmus + Credit Mobility grant has aided me in being able to do all these things.
New Zealand is a wonderful country with a unique and beautiful landscape, lovely people and a fascinating history and culture. Auckland, where I have been based, is a massive, multicultural city that is home to almost half the population of New Zealand. Situated on a volcanic field by the coast it offers many beautiful retreats from the busy hustle and bustle of the city. While studying at Unitec Institute of Technology I have made many New Zealand and international friends and encountered many walks of life.
The rest of New Zealand offers a very diverse range of landscapes. The centre and south of the North Island is covered in rolling green hills and beautiful lakes. At the very top of the North Island you can see where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet and change colour. Slightly below this is the largest tree on earth. The South Island boasts one of the best wine regions in the world, enormous and beautiful snow-capped mountains, incredible lakes, many opportunities for hiking, the breath-taking Milford Sound and many glaciers, forests, national parks and beaches.
New Zealand is also the colonised home of the native Maori people who have an intriguing history, language and culture. I always believe that when you travel to another country you should learn about its history as this allows you to understand why things are the way they are today.
The Erasmus + Credit Mobility Grant has provided me with a greater opportunity to study and experience more of New Zealand. On a six month student visa work is prohibited and this is also a very expensive country with very high living costs. Not being allowed work, this grant has provided me with an opportunity to obtain a true cultural understanding and an unforgettable experience of New Zealand. This grant has given me great reassurance and a more stable financial security. It has assisted in paying for my accommodation and general living costs. In Auckland in particular housing prices and rent have rocketed and day to day necessities such as groceries are very expensive.
I think it is such an important opportunity for people to live and work or study abroad. It opens your mind to other ways of life, costs of living, cultures, climates, the effects of colonisation and most importantly it awakens you to the fact that the way we do things at home is not the only way of life. The world is a big beautiful place with many ways of life and living abroad gives you a chance to try and experience more of these.
In addition with helping me to study at Unitec Institute of Technology, the grant I received allowed me to make the most of my experience of New Zealand. It assisted me in being able to live in Auckland, to travel and explore New Zealand’s diverse and beautiful landscape, it helped me experience Maori culture and visit historical Maori places.