Study Week in New Zealand

Turning movie in to reality while riding through the “Misty Mountains”

At Hanover, we have something called dead week.   This means a week of lab practicals, lectures, and last minute assignments. Let’s be honest, it is a rough time. At the University of Wollongong they have what is known as study week, which is when we have a week of no school before exams to study. Of course, most people spend this time binge watching Netflix, sleeping, or in the case of international students- traveling!

My roomie and I decided to go to New Zealand for a week. This meant squeezing heaps of activities into a small amount of time AND spending the nights studying for my exams which were both the day after I got back from New Zealand. This seems like a bad idea now that I am typing it out, but it seemed reasonable at the time. When else am I going to be in the southern hemisphere?

We covered three essentials upon our arrival. The first was horse back riding through the set of various scenes of Lord of the Rings. We saw the Misty Mountains, the location of Eisengard, and even got first hand storied from people who were there during the filming!

The world's second rarest penguin... think the macaroni penguin on "Happy Feet"
The world’s second rarest penguin… think the macaroni penguin on “Happy Feet”

We then went to Milford Sound, which surprisingly consists of only the sound (a big waterway connected to the ocean), one café, and one place for accommodation. That is it. Apparently, they were trying to maintain its ruggedness which I think we accomplished. Here, we hiked, relaxed, and saw the world’s second most rare penguin.

Lastly, we went to Fox Glacier, a super cool temperate glacier located right by a rainforest. In the rainforest we were mesmerized to see glowworms covering the trees at night, making it seem almost like Christmas. We were flown by helicopter to the top of the glacier and spent our time hiking, climbing, and exploring the ice. There were countless tunnels, arches, and waterfalls. Basically, the most mind-blowing experience ever.

Exploring Fox Glacier
Exploring Fox Glacier


We then made it home just in time for me to take exams- which I think I did really well on, if I do say so myself. So, my advice is, if you have the discipline to study in the evening, take a chance on an adventure of a lifetime during study week abroad!

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