Monday, March 28, 2016


"I’ve been to at least 6 school events and two concerts since I’ve been here, more than I’ve ever done in my two and half years at Iowa."

By Ly-Ly Specter*

We spend so much time rushing.

Last semester I worked at least 10 hours a week, volunteered 3, and took 17 s.h. when 15 are recommended as the maximum. My days consisted like most adults, of waking up, going to school/work with a few sparse breaks in between and coming home around 6ish to do homework and well... After working my brain, draining its energy all day long, the only thing I really wanted to do was watch Netflix.

At least twice a week there was some university event that was 1) free and 2) might be fun and interesting, like Food of Asia, where you tasted a variety of traditional Asian food, which in Iowa is a rarity. I would message friends and we would all agree to go; “Oh free food!” “Oh, that’s sounds like a cool talk.” But on the day in question, the conversation would go more like:

“Yo, you actually going?”

“Yeah, like I want to, but...”

“I’m just so tired.”

“Me too.”

“Let’s watch a movie instead.”


In New Zealand, things are much less hectic, which actually grants me the time and mental energy to try new things.

Davenport, New Zealand.

In New Zealand, I go to a yoga class four times a week, which I’ve always wanted to do since the middle of high school.

In New Zealand, I take walks to Queen St. at night, watching the boats by the wharf and eating desserts I’ve never even heard of such as Pavlova (a traditional Kiwi treat).

In New Zealand, I have time to play a vicious game of Uno in between classes with kids I just met from completely different cultures.

In New Zealand, I take weekend trips, finishing my homework early instead of being piled down by work and volunteering back in Iowa. 

I’ve been to at least six school events and two concerts since I’ve been here, more than I’ve ever done in my two and half years at Iowa.

I've found that in my study abroad experience, my load has lessened and I suddenly have time for all the little things I've wanted to do since... well, forever.

Not to mention all the wicked adventures each particular country has to offer.

*Emily Specter is a junior at the University of Iowa studying psychology and international studies. The Kensington, California, native is spending the semester in Auckland, New Zealand, on a program through The Education Abroad Network.

Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.