The Study Abroad Newsletter

Tramping Through New Zealand

Johann Kuipers
University of Waikato, New Zealand

The main reason I did my exchange in New Zealand was because I love the outdoors and wanted to explore nature in an unfamiliar place. When I first came to New Zealand I joined the tramping club. In New Zealand hiking is called tramping or bushwhacking. Through it I made some amazing friends and got to get outside in this new country. I am glad that I got the chance to experience New Zealand and I will always treasure my time there.

My favorite experience in New Zealand has definitely been my time traveling around in between classes. I spent around two months on south island during the summer. I hitchhiked around going to different places. I got to meet different people each with their own unique story. Each ride gave me a brief insight into a person’s life. The main activities I did while abroad were camping and hiking. I did a lot of this with the tramping club. From climbing snowcapped mountains to walking along beaches, New Zealand really has it all. Some of my favorite memories are doing these longs tramps with friends. I can see myself walking along hungry and underequipped. Thanks to some gear and food from my friends I managed to survive. There are so many memories with so many people that I will never forget. Good Times at Good George with friends. Hiking in Wanaka up to Roy’s Peak with Peter, a guy Johann met through hitchhiking.

Good George with Friends

A big part of studying abroad is seeing something different than the typical tourist experience. While working on farms, doing garden work for different people, and meeting people while hitchhiking I have experienced a different side of New Zealand. This helped me to experience the day to day lives of a local New Zealander. Getting tips from locals on interesting things to do is a lot easier when you are working with them or they are giving you a ride. Looking back at my time in New Zealand I already miss all the experiences I had. New Zealand has become a special country to me filled with great memories. I know that I will go to New Zealand again in the future and visit all the friends that I have made while on exchange.