In New Zealand, student gained a home away from home


Lauren Dunlap displays her exuberance during a backpacking trip in the Southern Alps, a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island.

“Land Journeys and Ethics” -- one of the classes Lauren Dunlap ’17 took during her Fall 2015 semester at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand -- included two overnight backpacking trips.

hobbiton“The second trip started at 9 p.m. with the students being dropped off in groups at certain points in the wilderness, from which we were supposed to navigate to our campsite by following a compass bearing,” Lauren, a chemical engineering major, recounted.  “After two hours of bushwhacking up and down densely forested hills, getting very lost, and following some over-enthusiastic students on a wild goose chase, we ended up at our campsite. That was definitely the most memorable experience I had in New Zealand!”

 (She also visited the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton movie set, as seen in photo at left.)

 Arranging her trip was “pretty straightforward,” she said. “Once I knew where I wanted to go, I figured out which classes I needed to get approved and my department helped me figure out who needed to approve them. The application and visa application were a little time consuming, but not too difficult.”

 In addition to two electives, Lauren took one Chemical Engineering class and one required physics class while in New Zealand. A Hajim School International Experience Scholarship and another scholarship from University of Canterbury helped cover expenses.

“I learned a lot of independence living in an apartment and arranging travel plans,” Lauren said. “I learned a lot from experiencing a new university, especially in another country.

 “Mostly, I gained a home; I will definitely return to New Zealand sometime, and when I do, I'll feel at home there.”


 More backpacking in the Southern Alps.