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Showing posts from 2012

Biology

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For those that don't know, I'm majoring in Biology with a minor in Business. During high school I always enjoyed science, especially Biology so I figured I would do something in that field. During my junior year in high school I decided that I wanted to focus on the ecology aspect of biology. This means that it could also make sense for me to major in environmental science or environmental studies. I started off majoring in environmental science but decided to switch to biology during the second semester of freshman year since it allows me to take more of the classes I'm interested in and a lot less physics and chemistry.

Biology is one of the bigger programs at Saint Mike's so there are plenty of classes to pick from. I'm focusing on ecology and there are lots of classes that focus on that such as ecosystem ecology, population ecology, evolution, and animal behavior. In fact the first class that all bio majors are required to take focuses on ecology and evolution.…

Back Home

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Wow these past few months have flown by. I have to remind myself sometimes that less than a month ago I was on the other side of the world. It feels like it was yesterday sometimes yet a lot of the time it feels like it was really long ago. The transition back to living in the US has gone pretty smoothly. I got home just in time for Thanksgiving which was really nice. It was great to be able to see all of my family. I've started working at Market Basket again and they gave me a bunch of hours so I finally get to make some money which is much needed after never really having a budget in New Zealand.

The most exciting past of being back home though is that I got to go up and visit Saint Mike's this past weekend. I went up early Friday morning so that I could pick up my $30 Smuggs pass and go skiing that afternoon. I was able to get a few hours in and the snow was actually pretty good for so early in the season. After I was done I went back to campus to reunite with everyone. It …

Goodbyes and Fiji

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It's hard to believe that the semester is over. My last day in New Zealand was on the 14th then I went to Fiji for a few nights. The last week in New Zealand was bittersweet since everyone started leaving yet I was looking forward to Fiji and coming home. On Saturday night I went to town with a bunch of friends for one last night out. Then I found out that there was a big event on Monday night so I ended up having a second last night in town. There was some great music and I already miss going out to clubs with everyone. On the 13th I went blackwater rafting which was really cool. Black water rafting is when you go tubing in a cave. There were all kinds of glow warms and we got to go on a zip-line and even climb up waterfalls to get out.
Then at 2:30am wednesday morning it was time to leave. I did everything that I planned to do in New Zealand so I guess it was time to go. But I still want to go back at some point to visit people or better yet maybe they will come to the states …

The Milford Track!

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At 4:45 Sunday morning I started my journey back to the south island to hike the Milford Track. It is a four day hike through Fiordland National Park that ends at Milford Sound. I went there by myself since no one else really seemed by for the journey. By 2pm I was on the boat that takes the walkers to the start of the track. Only 40 people are allowed to hike independently per day. There is also a guided walk option but they stay at different lodges. Looking around the boat I noticed that most of the people hiking were couples. After taking some picture though I noticed that there were some people my age. There were two girls from Sweden that are taking a gap year between high school and college. I also met Tyler who is from St. Lewis. He graduated college and is traveling around for a year before settling down. We ended up hiking together the whole time and also hiked with the girls a lot of the time.
The first day was an easy 1 hour hike to the first hut. In comparison to the rest…

Starting the Transition Back to SMC

Yesterday I had my first final. It was quite interesting. The whole environment was like how the SAT's are run. They had us wait outside the room then the proctors came out and read a little script telling us the rules. You had to bring all bags to the front and turn off all phones. You couldn't even have the phone in your pocket. You had to bring it up front and you got a ticket so you could get it back at the end. Only clear water bottles are allowed at your seat. I don't usually get nervous for exams but this whole process gave me some nerves. I think I did well though.

Just as this semester starts wrapping up I have started making plans for when I am back at Saint Mike's. I registered for all my classes yesterday and got every one that I wanted. Here is my schedule for next semester:

Monday Wednesday Friday
8:30-9:35 Marketing
11:00-12:05 Evolution

Tuesday
11:30-1:05 Literary Studies: Aftermath
3:00-4:35 Writing About the Study Abroad Experience
5:00-6:35 Manageria…

Camping!

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Classes ended last week and this past week was set aside for a study break camping trip before finals. I originally planned on doing a great walk but the other people that I was going with didn't have any hiking gear and backed out at the last minute. It ended up being okay though since we got to go up north and check out Coromandel. We started the trip on Sunday and went up to a forest that has the largest trees in New Zealand. It was amazing how big the trees were. We then continued on to our first campsite which was free. We got to set up the tent in the dark and it was raining but luckily it went up easily.


The next morning we woke up and started to make our way up to Cape Reinga which is the most northern point in New Zealand. Right before we got to the top we stopped at the giant dunes. You can go sledding down them which was a blast. It was quite exhausting hiking back up though since the sand would start slipping down while you were trying to walk up. If started raining a…

Rotorua!

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On Tuesday I went to Rotorua with Megan and Caroline. I went there before for adventure weekend with my program but we didn't get to go white water rafting since the water was too high so I figured it would be good to go back again. We went down on Monday night so that we could start the activities right the next morning. The first thing we did was the white water rafting. We went over the biggest commercial waterfall which is 7m high or about 21 feet tall. It was a little scary going over it but it wasn't bad at all. It was actually a little underwhelming but the whole trip was a lot of fun. We were the only ones who booked for that time so we got to go with three guides. They were all having a blast which made it even more fun for us.

Next up was Zorbing which I had been wanting to do ever since that Rocket Power New Zealand movie. It was such a fun experience. Overpriced but fun. If you don't know what Zorbing is it's when you go into a giant ball and get rolled dow…

The Past Few Weeks

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I was so focused on telling everyone as much as possible about my break that I kind of forgot to mention everything else that has been going on. So here are the highlights for the past month or so:

The weekend after break I went to Rotorua with my IFSA group. We went mountain biking, lugeing, and sailing. The luge was a blast. It is kind of like an alpine slide except that you are able to steer and instead of a slide it's like a road. This allows you to race against other people which makes things much more exciting. It is the most dangerous tourist activity in New Zealand but luckily no one got hurt too bad. We were supposed to go white water rafting but the river was too high so we went sailing to some hot springs instead. The white water rafting would have been more fun but the sailing was nice too. Also, it didn't hurt that everything was included in our program fee so I didn't have to pay for anything.

The weekend of the 21st-23rd I went to the bay of islands with Meg…

Spring is Here!

Just as fall is setting in back home it's starting to get nice(r) down here! I don't have time for a full post since I actually have school work to focus on which feels quite odd. But don't worry my last assignment is due on Friday so after that I should be all set. I just wanted to give everyone an update on how nice it's getting. Yesterday I went on my favorite hike so far. Caroline and I went to Karekare Beach which is about an hour away and took some really narrow trails through all kinds of areas. We started in a forest with tons of birds, then went to marshes that reminded me of the walk through the swamps in Lord of the Rings on the walk to Mordor. Then we ended up walking around some black sand dunes to get to the beach and take the quick way back. This best part is that I was able to do the whole hike in shorts and a t-shirt and even did part of it barefoot.

Less than an hour after we got back I got a knock on my door from the F flat crew telling me to play ul…

Spring Break: The Last Update

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So over two weeks later and I'm still writing about spring break. Sorry it took so long but there was so much to cover. I'll try to get caught up to current events soon.

Day 13
This was our last full day in Dunedin so we did some sight seeing. We heard that the train station was cool so we went over to check that out. Then we made our way over to Baldwin Street which is the steepest street in the world. Megan and I tried racing up it. We both stopped running before reaching the top but I went farther so I consider that a win on my part. From there we went over to the botanical gardens. It seems like each city has one. The one in Christchurch was much better in my opinion but this one was still pretty cool. There was an avery which had some really unique looking birds in it. We didn't spend much time there since we had to pick up Adam for our trip to the Otago peninsula. We were trying to find some seals, sea lions and penguins. The penguins were what I really wanted to see…

New Music Page

Hey just a heads up, I made a new page where I'm going to put some of whatever music I'm listening to each month. I hope to change it every month so you should always be able to find some new songs on there. Look for the last spring break post tomorrow!

Spring Break: The Long Drive and Day of Tours

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Day 11
This day was mainly driving. We took the Southern Scenic Route from Te Anau to Dunedin. This brought us around to the very southern point of New Zealand in the town of Bluff. We went on about an hour and a half hike down there. We tried to find the famous sign that is at the southern point but we didn't see it. After the hike we went to get some lunch. We heard that this area is known for its oysters so we had some of those for lunch. They were expensive but really good. After lunch we continued to Dunedin with some quick stops along the way. We went to a beach that had fossilized trees on it. They were kind of hard to see but I guess it used to be much more impressive. Lauren and Caroline saw a penguin but I was not lucky enough. The next stop brought us to Nugget Point which has an old lighthouse on it. As the sun was setting we continued the ride to Dunedin. We got there right before nine and tried to find a place to eat after settling into our hostel. Caroline and I fou…

Spring Break: Fiordland

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Day 9
This day started with another scenic drive over to Fiordland National Park. I actually did a project on this area back in high school so it was really cool to actually be there. This is the area that includes Milford Sound. We didn't actually go to the sound that day but we had to follow the road until we were almost there. About 45 minutes before we would have reached the sound we pulled into a parking lot for a hike. We hiked part of the Routeburn Track which is one of the great walks. The great walks are a set of walks in New Zealand that are really well maintained and take multiple days to complete. We would only be doing a day of it since we still had a lot to see. It started off a little cool but warmed up quickly as the day went on. We stopped for lunch at one of the huts and had a little picnic. The area was right on a lake and had some awesome views. There were tons on sandflies though so we didn't hang around long. After lunch we continued to our destination whi…

Spring Break: Queenstown

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Sorry for not having an update the last few days. I ran out of internet from trying to put up videos and photos, half of which didn't even make it up. Then I went to Rotorua for Adventure Weekend with IFSA-Butler...more on that later. Now back to the the Spring Break updates:

Day 6 Continued
Upon arriving in Queenstown we drove straight to the hostel. When we pulled up we thought we entered the wrong address into the GPS. It looked like a hotel complete with balconies and a large lobby. Not only that, but they had free dinner five days a week in addition to the free breakfast. We had a four person dorm so it was just us in the room and we had a balcony which had a pretty nice view. There was even a sauna! So if you are ever in Queenstown be sure to stay at Nomads. We got there around 6pm and get ready for the night ahead. We signed up for a pub crawl that started at 8:30 over at The World Bar. It is a sister bar to Cassette which is where we often go in Auckland so it was a nice p…

Spring Break: Nelson to Queenstown

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I just noticed I didn't even mention who was on this trip with me. I went down with Megan, Caroline and Lauren. They are three other American study abroad students who live in the Massey Accommodation. We figured it would be best to go with just Americans since many of our New Zealand friends had already been to a lot of the south island and didn't feel like spending all the money. But anyways, back to the summary.
Day 4 We woke up and drove over to the Abel Tasman nation park to go sea kayaking. We had a half day freedom rental which means we didn't have a guide. We went around a couple islands and some seals followed us. The kayaks were a little different than I was used to. They were two person kayaks and had rudders with foot pedals that the back person used to make it turn. It felt like cheating to me but it was still fun. We stopped at an island for a snack and a seal came right up next to our boat. We weren't expecting this and almost tipped over in shock but we …