Taking on New Zealand

One unique aspect of studying nursing at Catholic University is that our students have the opportunity to study abroad! Hear about Alexis’s nursing classes at The Catholic University of Australia and catch up on her recent adventures!

Nursing classes in Australia are a bit different from my classes in the U.S. Each class is only once a week, but it is a two hour lecture followed by a one hour “tutorial” where we meet with the professor as a smaller group of students for more individualized attention. The longer lectures took some getting used to, but I’m so blessed to have incredibly amazing professors! Most of my professors are working nurses here in Melbourne! Since the nursing program in Australia is a direct exchange for CUA, I am taking the exact same courses here in Australia that I would be if I were on campus in D.C. This also means that the credits transfer with no trouble at all, so despite studying nursing AND studying abroad for a semester, I’ll still graduate in four years. In one of the classes, my classmates and I have been learning a bit about the indigenous people in Australia and their history as well as how their healthcare differs from non-indigenous individuals. Overall, though, there are also a lot of group presentations in Australia which nursing at CUA doesn’t do as often.

To bring you up to speed on how I’ve been spending my time abroad in the last weeks…

I spent nine days in New Zealand, and let me tell you these were some of the most incredible days of my twenty year old life! I saw picturesque landscapes and glow worms. I tried new foods and made friends from all over the world who were also visiting New Zealand.

A huge highlight of my trip, I have to say, was hang gliding. This is something I have always wanted to try so when the opportunity presented itself in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, New Zealand, I couldn’t say no. When I arrived for my Alexis hang glidingadventure, the first step, literally and figuratively, was to stand on a scale so that I could be accurately paired with an instructor of similar weight. From there we had about a forty minute shuttle ride all the way up Coronet Peak. As we climbed up the mountain I remember thinking, “What in the world did I just sign myself up for?” When the shuttle finally pulled over we were stopped on a cliff overlooking MASSIVE rolling green hills, sheep farms, and a mountain range. I willingly put my life in the hands of my partner, Angus, and waited on the edge of the cliff for a nice gust of wind. We stood there in position waiting for the wind for probably fifteen minutes. Then we ran, jumped off the cliff, and SOARED! It is impossible to describe the feeling other than you are flying! Everything looked so tiny from so high up. I thought it was funny that some of the farmers had groomed their crop into shapes and designs for the hang gliders to see while they were in the air!

Visiting New Zealand also meant we had to stop at an authentic sheep farm. This farm was a family farm, run by a man named Stan, his wife, his son, and now even his young

Alexis sheep farm
Some of the sheep and the cow from Stan’s farm

grandsons are part of the family business! They greeted our group with open arms and Stan’s sweet wife sat us out in her garden at tables with white lace table cloths and offered us homemade hot chocolate, fresh baked scones with jam and cream, homemade “chocolate chippies,” as she said (chocolate chip cookies) and sausage rolls. I felt like I was really a part of the family for our afternoon tea, and let me tell you, everything I ate was DELICIOUS! Then, Stan took us to see what we were really there for–the sheep. He introduced us to his three trusty sheepdogs as he commanded them to go round up the sheep. The dogs ran out of sight and within minutes the sheep came running with the dogs just behind them, and even the farm cow came running! We got to feed the cow and the sheep just before heading home from the trip.

 

There’s so much more that I could share about my visit to New Zealand, but I have to leave some adventuring stories for when I’m an ambassador on campus. (See you in the fall?!) Visiting New Zealand was definitely one of my absolute favorite parts of my time abroad, and I highly recommend you take a trip to visit during your own time studying abroad.

Until next time,

Alexis

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