Study Abroad student
Arizona State University student Bryce Bozadjian loves Lord of the Rings so much, even her cats are named Arwen and Galadriel. So when the opportunity to study abroad in the land of Middle Earth arose, she jumped at the chance. Nearing the end of her four-month exchange at the University of Waikato, Bryce is not ready to leave.
Despite her fear of flying, the public relations and journalism student moved over 2,500 miles from Massachusetts to Arizona when she first began studying at university. Relocating to a small country on the other side of the world was a slightly bigger step, but Bryce loves a challenge.
“I knew I would never get another chance to spend such a large amount of time in a country on the other side of the world, and I was ready for an adventure,” Bryce says. “There were several reasons why I chose Waikato. I love nature and the outdoors and Waikato is in a great central location to explore New Zealand from. I also wanted to make new connections on the other side of the world, and there isn’t the issue of a language barrier.”
Once she adjusted to the time difference, Bryce was determined to make the most of her New Zealand experience – and that she did. She has explored much of the North Island, visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Auckland, Wellington, Waiheke Island, Raglan, Bridal Veil Falls, Weta Workshops and, of course, Hobbiton.
“The New Zealand scenery is absolutely beautiful and visiting Hobbiton was a dream come true; I might have even shed a tear,” she laughs.
Living in the Student Village Halls of Residence, Bryce has enjoyed full immersion in the kiwi culture.
“I’m glad I’ve been surrounded by locals on this exchange. I liked living and studying with New Zealanders because I felt like I had authentic experiences and made long-lasting friendships with the natives.”
Bryce’s toughest challenge was her te reo Māori language paper, but she can now proudly recite her whakapapa by memory. Although she has yet to nail the New Zealand accent, she has picked up some kiwi slang, using phrases like “cheers”, “I reckon” and “surely” in her everyday vernacular.
She documented her experiences through her weekly blog, Bryce in Paradise, so she will always have a place to look back at her memories abroad.
Now finished with exams, Bryce is travelling around Australia before coming back to New Zealand to explore the South Island with her family. She can’t decide what she will miss the most about the country.
“I’m going to miss the people so much. I can’t remember a time at university back home when I wasn’t stressed – but in New Zealand things are different and it’s nice to relax and be away from the stresses of home. I’m also going to miss the stunning landscapes and the food – I’m obsessed with Whittaker’s chocolate and Tim Tams!”