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Spring 2011: INT 360-Global Field Studies in China (SUNY Plattsburgh)
Studying abroad presents itself as an amazing advantage to the students who chose to invest their time in such a life changing opportunity. I remember as a freshman, studying abroad always crossed my mind but I never actually believed that I would follow through with it. I had many reservations about leaving. What would it be like to be in another country? Would I face a major culture shock? Would there be a huge language barrier? I was filled with uncertainty and anxiety. Eventually my anxiety and uncertainty was overshadowed by curiosity and determination.
It wasn’t until after my short-term experience in China that I was able to understand the benefits of studying abroad. Initially, I’ve always looked at China as a 3rd world, under-developed, communist country. I saw what the media had to say about China and I ran with it. After going to China, I’ve learned that China is very rich in culture. I took a chance and I was able to expose myself to a culture very different from my own. I tried different types of traditional foods, visited historical monumental quarters and experienced firsthand the Chinese way of life.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience. When you study abroad, you gain a different and more comprehensive insight to another country. Studying abroad also leaves room to a better understanding of yourself. My encounters with studying abroad have helped shaped my future goals and expectations. I highly recommend studying abroad to anyone interested in path headed towards success.
Spring 2011 - University of Otago (SUNY Oswego)
During the spring semester of 2011, I studied abroad in New Zealand at the University of Otago on the South Island. On my way to New Zealand, I made a stopover in the Fiji Islands for a week and half. I also had the opportunity to go to Sydney Australia for a week when I was in New Zealand. I took three courses at Otago University and really enjoyed them. I actually liked the way the professors taught the courses at Otago University because each course that I took had about ten different professors teach a different area of the course that they specialized in. I found the workload to be about the same as taking five courses here at Plattsburgh. I did not have a hard time adjusting to the food because it was very similar to American food. I did manage to try some fresh New Zealand kiwis while I was there which were delicious.
Over the course of the five months that I was abroad, I never experienced culture shock in any of my travels. A few reasons why I do not think I experienced culture shock would be the fact that everyone spoke English and New Zealand reminded me a lot of Vermont and New York with the landscape and agriculture. In addition, everyone that I met was extremely friendly. I lived in a 23-bedroom house with other international students from the United States, England, Canada, and New Zealand. On the weekends, I did a lot of hiking and traveling to different places around the South Island with some of the international students that I lived with. Some of the places that I explored on the South Island include Mt Cook, which is New Zealand’s highest mountain, Fox and Franz-Josef Glacier, The Fiorland National Park, Arthurs’s Pass, and Abel Tasman. I also spent several days in Queenstown, which is considered the adrenaline capital of New Zealand. While I was in Queenstown, I went white water rafting, skydiving, cannoning, and bungy jumping. I also saw New Zealand’s national bird, the Kiwi at a conservation park in Queenstown. I experienced New Zealand’s native culture first hand when I performed the Haka with the natives known as the Maori. The Haka is a war dance that the Maori warriors performed before they went into battle. Today the Haka has become familiar worldwide through their rugby team display. The All Black’s (New Zealands rugby team) perform it to scare opposition when they are about to start their match.
Overall, my experience abroad was fantastic; I would do it again in a minute. I met a ton of great people from all around the world and I became close with many other international students that I still talk to on a regular basis. These close friendship ties increased my social relations with many people for different culture backgrounds. While being over 10,000 miles away from home, I gained a lot of confidence and values that will help me succeed later in life. After studying abroad in New Zealand, I now have the travel bug and want to travel other parts of the world.
If you would like more information about the study abroad and exchanges program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact or visit
Study Abroad and Exchanges
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-2321
Toll-Free Phone: (800) 388-6784
Fax: (518) 564-2326
Location: We are on the ground floor of the Kehoe Administration Building on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.