Featured Students


Personal Discovery

Cultural Discovery

ee Wallis

I had the pleasure of flying two of my friends from Queenstown to Milford Sound landing and flying back.


Semester Abroad: February 2010
Home University: Furman University
Host University: University of Waikato 
Major: Sociology

Please provide an outline of your adventure in detail, including when and where you participated in the activity.

I had the pleasure of flying two of my friends from Queenstown to Milford Sound landing and flying back. During the summer in New Zealand, while we were traveling the South Island before our respective universities started the academic year, I was picked up in Queenstown airport to start our adventure. I, being a pilot and observing the beautiful landscape as I arrived on my commercial flight, knew I had to pursue my flying career before we left such an opportunity behind. They were nervous, but excited and as we got into the single engine, four place, Cessna 172, I knew it was going to be an amazing flight. We took off towards the mountains allowing the ground to become smaller and smaller below us as we winded our way through the valley and up and through Mt. Aspiring. The landscape was filled with mountain peaks both with and without snow, bodies of water, green trees, views that just seem out of this world. Landing at Milford sound seemed like a dream. The view once getting out of the plane and walking around was amazing to know we had just passed all of that in the sky. And when we got back in, we got to do it all over again. As we followed Lake Wakatipu, I didn't want it to end I did not want to come back down.

How did you find out about this opportunity?

As I was flying in to the Queenstown airport commercially, I saw small planes and knew they would rent them to an overseas pilot as long as there was an instructor available to go along for the ride.

How did this experience help you adjust to life abroad? 

It brought me back to something I love and showed me that I can continue that passion even when I am not in my own country. It allowed me know that I could push myself in the same ways while I was abroad. Not only to know I can push myself, but I can continue accumulating knowledge through the experience and take it home with me and add it as something special I have done.

What cultural differences and similarities did you see as a result of this experience?

The difference is that it is a different place meaning that it is new land and new names with a different accent. While English is used as a consistent language throughout the world in aviation, accents can still be misunderstood so it is best to have local help until you feel confident enough to do it on your own.

What advice can you give to future students who are interested in being an active participant in their study abroad experience?

Do something you love, but don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone a bit to do it.


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