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Ryan Hunt and his girlfriend on a mountain overlooking a lake

A Study Abroad Romance

When I decided to study in New Zealand, I knew I would make relationships with people that could possibly change my life forever.

One type of relationship that never crossed my mind was actually dating someone that I met there, until I met her.

Looking back on how my semester started in New Zealand, I would say that meeting new people was just a part of living in student accommodations. You meet your flat mates, their friends, and people around your hall before the first week even comes to a close. Group activities are quite common, so growing close to people can happen faster than you might think!

My relationship seemed to grow out of group activities with people in my hall, until the two of us decided that we wanted to explore parts of the city together. Everything remained fairly casual, we still participated in lots of activities with our hall group, but we would act more like a couple.

When I started taking her out on dates, I was able see things through a new lens. It made my experience with the city of Wellington and the New Zealand culture more intimate and personal. The adventures we would go on together inevitably made us closer, but we also grew as individuals.

She was from New Zealand and had lived there her entire life, while I was from the United States, a country on the other side of the world. The conversations we would have about our lives before we met and how we saw our lives moving forward really matured us.

Ryan and Grace pose by a #LoveTaupo sign

Weekend adventures

The relationship we found ourselves in was growing into something serious, but we knew the time we had to separate was coming. In the end, we knew that I had to go back to the United States to finish my study and she had to stay in New Zealand to finish hers. It was something we didn’t want to admit or think about, but it was truly the largest motivator to really live it up for our last weeks.

Being in a relationship with someone special from New Zealand added an entire layer to my experience that I would never trade for anything. I personally recommend keeping an open mind about everything that you experience while studying in New Zealand and if you meet someone special, then explore the unknown with them! Getting to experience everything with a local by my side was incredible.

Leaving was very difficult due to our close relationship. As you could understand I felt like I was leaving part of me behind, but I preferred to think that I was not leaving her, but taking part of her with me. We still remain in contact and share all our new life adventures with each other and will keep it that way until we meet again.

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Ryan Hunt

By Ryan HuntUS Study Abroad student

Updated 8 months ago

Ryan is studying a Bachelor of Industrial Design at the University of Iowa State in the USA. He studied in New Zealand at Massey University campus in Wellington for the first semester of his fourth year of university. He says the five months he spent here helped him grow more than he could have ever imagined.

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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