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There and Back Again: A New Zealand Tale by Lydia Maharg, Environmental Resource Management major

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Posted: May 25, 2016

Sure, I could have gone to New Zealand on my own, but choosing to go with Penn State as a study abroad course proved to be such a beneficial experience.
Enjoying the New Zealand countryside

Enjoying the New Zealand countryside

When I found out that my major, Environmental Resource Management, would be offering an embedded course that would be traveling to New Zealand over winter break, I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to take advantage of.  I have a love to travel and to learn while doing so. Sure, I could have gone to New Zealand on my own, but choosing to go with Penn State as a study abroad course proved to be such a beneficial experience. The course was focused on natural resource, agriculture, and conservation. As a student in Environmental Resource Management, these topics are of great interest to me and they may be what I focus my career on.

We were hosted by Lincoln University, which is a small agricultural specialized university. The classes that we took were very interactive so we were able to get a hands on learning experience in order to truly learn about the different topics. We learned about conservation, agriculture, land formations, natural disasters, climate, astronomy, and culture. We traveled around the South Island to experience these topics first hand. It was very interesting to learn about the differences in environmental issues and how New Zealand deals with them in comparison to the United States. In addition to learning we did some hiking, which often included a beautiful waterfall or two along the way along with phenomenal scenery. The top two highlights of my trip was going on a glacier hike and visiting Milford Sound. Along with the trips I truly loved learning about New Zealand’s culture. While traveling around the country, I was in awe of the quantity and quality of the natural resources that we observed and learned about. New Zealand has the most spectacular scenery and dramatic landscapes. The country was purely pristine.

The trip was so valuable to me because I was able to learn about the natural resources and agriculture through the university guided course in such an ecologically unique country. I gained international knowledge of environmental issues and natural resources. Having a well-rounded knowledge is a very valuable asset to have. Talking with locals in the country and traveling with a group enhanced skills in communication and teamwork. As I enter my career in the environmental field I will carry this experience with me in order to excel in the workplace. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have studied abroad with Penn State. Traveling is fantastic, but learning while doing so is even better!

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