Name: Laurel Mire, Class of 2021
Program: IFSA University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Fields of Study: Environmental Earth Science, Environmental Studies
How did studying abroad affect your academic and/or professional career?
While studying at the University of Otago, I took a class called Global Marine Systems which introduced a topic to me which I now hope to pursue in my graduate studies. The opportunity to take this class while abroad may be invaluable to my future and influence my career for many years to come.
How did you explore your hobbies, interests, and passions abroad?
While in New Zealand, I was able to hike across mountains, raft down rivers, abseil into a cave, free-fall into a canyon, and jet-boat to a waterfall. Before this experience provided me with the opportunity to do these things, I had no idea the incredible fulfillment and self-assurance these activities could bring me.
Why would you recommend your respective abroad program or location?
Dunedin doubles as a unique, historic, lively, and beautiful city as well as a convenient jumping off point for so many of the experiences the South Island offers. I wanted a smaller city that I could truly get to know during the week but allowed me to take trips and travel throughout the country most weekends. Dunedin and the University of Otago seemed like the perfect fit, and during my time there I found that this program provided me with what I thought I needed as well as what I never imagined I could get.
What should students consider when applying and preparing for their time abroad?
Whether or not the classes offered will count for the credits needed to graduate on time, unseen expenses, the possibility and a plan to fight homesickness, making a list of goals (personal and academic), places you want to see!
Share a story about a time you experienced cultural immersion.
During an orientation with IFSA, I was able to spend a day and night on a marae, a traditional village of the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand. This experience showed me a first-hand glimpse into the rich traditions and culture of the Maori which I would later learn about in a Maori Society class. Maori culture and language can be seen all over New Zealand and learning about some of the practices, beliefs, and history taught me new ways to appreciate and respect the people and nature around me.