Why should I choose New Zealand for my year abroad?
New Zealand has a reputation as being a little like the UK fifteen years ago – and it’s true, the place does feel slightly behind the times, a bit sleepy and cobwebbed around the edges. But this is part of the charm – pace of life is refreshingly slower and the outdoor lifestyle is simply good for the soul. it’s also roughly the size of the UK, but with way, way less people. So that means you can go round some bits where you won’t see a soul, if you’re out for soul-searching. Or you just fancy seeing unabridged nature, without any of the fluff of people. Though, it has to be said, since Jackson’s trilogy, many more tourists have made their way to this detached paradise, so don’t think you’ll be by yourself the whole time. And nor would you want to be, either, with such a lovely bunch of people.
New Zealanders definitely have a cool as a cucumber vibe to them, with a good dose of sense of humour thrown in - you’ll soon learn to fall in love with this place. Little known to many is the fact that this was the first country to give women the vote, so maybe it’s not that behind afterall! The country may take a slightly more relaxed approach to life – but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a thriving culture. Big cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are buzzing cosmopolitan places, with modern businesses and a fantastic arts scene. These multi-cultural cities are attractive and contemporary, with just the right amount of hustle and bustle, with tranquil undertones for when it gets just that little bit too hectic.
Good universities also mean that there’s a healthy amount of young vibes around the place. Student culture is big in New Zealand, and the Scottish feeling city of Dunedin in the South, is at the heart of it all. Students will love the buzz of the city and the great café culture and eclectic nightlife – along with the proximity to the beautiful sandy beaches and snow-capped mountains. A lecture in the morning and a spot of snowboarding or surfing in the afternoon – you could do a lot worse, I tell ya.
For those that like to get their adrenaline pumping, a trip to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without a visit to adventure capital, Queenstown. Perched on the waters of the beautiful lake Wakatipu, nestled amongst breathtaking mountains, Queenstown is like walking into a postcard. Birthplace of the bungee jump – South Island Queenstown now has a vast array of activities to get the heart racing. But if you’re quite happy not to risk coronary failure, Queenstown houses many fantastic bars and restaurants so you can kick back, enjoy a cold bottle of local brew, Monteiths, and just take in the fabulous view.
The North island of New Zealand is equally stunning. A slightly better climate and enough beaches to satisfy sun worshippers and water sports fans alike, the Island has an almost Mediterranean feel in the summer. With three quarters of the country’s population living in the North, and two thirds of these in Auckland and above – the North Island is a bit more dynamic than it’s sleepy Southern neighbour. However, the beautiful Bay of Islands and stunning Coromandel peninsula ensure that those after that slow paced Kiwi vibe are kept more than happy.
Whatever it is you want to get out of your year abroad, New Zealand is sure to meet those needs. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a beach bum – New Zealand caters to all. Big cities and stunning landscapes ensure enough variety to keep you occupied, whilst the chilled Maori lifestyle will take the edge off even the most stressful of situations. Trust us, you won’t regret it.