Kia Ora! An update from the furthest place from home one could possibly be: New Zealand! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Laura and I am a third year BSc Tourism student currently doing a minor at Lincoln University. Reading the previous blogs written by my classmates has made me very excited for all the things still waiting for them and made it all too real for me that my semester is already coming to an end. For going to New Zealand on an exchange meant skipping my summer holidays and starting my second-to-last semester on a cold, cold July 15th on the other side of the world.

Because Wageningen University is an agricultural university most of her partner universities are also focused on agriculture. In New Zealand this is basically equivalent to dairy. Lots and lots of dairy. And most of the international and domestic students I’ve met here do something that’s related to agriculture, animal science, or water management. Hence, telling people I’m majoring in tourism made most people scratch their heads, because what would I be doing here in Lincoln?

Deciding to take a little side trip from the tourism industry, I did my minor in Human Environmental relations. With the courses; Ecology & Conservation; Environmental Psychology; Sustainable Futures; and Environmental Analysis. The fact that the courses itself were very different from tourism is what made this semester so interesting to me. Despite the differences in topics and perspectives, many of the things I’ve learned in the BSc Tourism programme were very useful in my courses here. In terms of set up, studying here in Lincoln is a bit like going back to high school in the Netherlands, since I had four courses consisting of 50-minute lectures spread out over four days.

Despite being the odd one out in terms of my major, Lincoln and the people here have made feel at home from the moment I stepped out of the plane and met two girls I consider close friends right now. Because I chose to live on campus, I immediately blended into a community of international students who all had the same mindset. Hence my weeks were filled with lots of travels, hikes, sights, rugby games, and (the occasional) studying ;). At the moment I’m preparing for my three-month trip around New Zealand, which I think is a great bonus to studying here. I’m beyond excited to see what else New Zealand has to offer because so far, I think it never fails to impress!

Written by: Laura Ensink