Haley Rylander

'I have had a great experience as an international student here...'

  • Haley Rylander

Study Abroad student

Certificate of Proficiency Science

‘Studying abroad completely changes your perspectives on everything and teaches you to think in new ways,’ Haley says. ‘Living in a different country allows you to look at your own culture differently and learn a lot about your home and yourself as well as opening your eyes to the differences and similarities of people all around the world.’

As such, Haley had her heart set on studying abroad from the USA from the get-go.

‘I knew I wanted to study abroad in New Zealand before I knew what university I was going to go to in the states. I made sure that the school I picked had a programme in New Zealand. My school (Texas Christian University) had two programs – one in Auckland and one in Christchurch.

‘I chose UC because it was smaller and more personal than the University of Auckland, it had many more options for classes in my major, and the city seemed friendlier. I also wanted to be on the South Island because I love the outdoors, and UC’s location has easy access to countless national parks and beautiful locations.’

Haley’s particular interest in nature led her to study Environmental Science back home in Texas, with a goal to do research or work in a zoo or refuge.

‘I have always had a passion for all things nature and science,’ she says. ‘I grew up playing with plastic animals instead of dolls and read far more Zoo books and National Geographic than pop culture magazines. I study environmental science so I can help preserve the beauty and diversity of the natural world, and work outside doing something I love.’

At UC Haley decided to pursue Ecology to contribute to her studies, along with a course in New Zealand history and an Arts Internship course at UC Sustainability.

‘I like how the courses at UC focus on application of learning. Rather than simply teaching lists of facts to memorize, real life examples are used constantly to teach the material, and hands-on learning is used to enhance what you have learned through tutorials, labs, and field trips.

‘The mid-semester field trip for my Ecology class was an experience I would not have been able to have at my home university. Doing field work in Arthur’s Pass was a great experience that gave me a taste of what it’s really like to do research in a natural environment.’

Haley has made travelling a priority to get the most of her experience in New Zealand, with a keenness to try all kinds of exciting Kiwi activities.

‘The first term at UC I travelled somewhere different every weekend. I had some amazing times, and there were so many places to see and things to do within a reasonable distance from the University. I was able to see most of the South Island and some of the North Island, and had some great experiences, such as sailing, horse treks, bungy jumping, and lots of hiking.’

Needless to say, Haley has found her time in New Zealand an unforgettable opportunity.

‘I have had a great experience as an international student here. I often forget that I am an international student actually. After the first few weeks I didn’t really notice the accent anymore, my friends were just my friends, not my “American friends” or “Kiwi friends,” and I had gotten used to most of the everyday cultural differences. The locals treat me like anyone else, and I have always felt very welcomed.’

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