University of Wisconsin–Madison

Surf, Sheep, & School

Dear Reader,

The title of this entry pretty much sums up my experiences since the end of my mid-semester break—it’s an odd mix, but that’s what you get in New Zealand I suppose!

Surf:

Here at Massey there is a club called the Massey Surf, Snow, & Skate Club. For the small fee of $10.00 you can join and rent their gear for a whole year; a very sweet deal! Me and a couple of my friends joined and have gone on 5 surf trips to 3 different beaches. Organizing trips is as easy as going onto the club’s facebook page and saying, “who wants to go surfing this weekend?!?” Once you have a group who is keen to go and organized transportation, you have yourself a surfing trip!

I’ve gone with lots of people, but the people I’ve surfed with on each outing have been Kyle (who also goes to UW-Madison), Chris from Germany, and Gerard from the Netherlands. Here are some of the beaches we’ve surfed at so far….

Waiinu Beach
Waiinu Beach
Castle Point
Castle Point
Surfing Crew
Surfing Crew

Surfing is really fun, but also really difficult at first. My first time out on the water I only stood on my board once and for barely a second. Now though, standing up is fairly easy and I can ride a wave for a decent amount of time. I’m still no pro and won’t be going ‘tubular’ anytime soon, but it is still fun just being out on the ocean and enjoying the day with some cool people.

Sheep:

It is spring here in New Zealand. That means longer days, rainy weather, and new baby lambs! Surrounding the Massey campus are a number of farms so over the past few weeks I’ve volunteered 3 times to help bottle-feed the new born lambs. It was quite a sight to see when I showed up for the first time and in a old wooden barn there was a pen full of about 50 hungry lambs. Armed with a bottle of fresh, warm sheep milk, me and a team of other volunteers wrangled up the lambs one-by-one, cradled them in our laps, and fed them milk until they couldn’t drink anymore. Sometimes they were difficult to handle, but once they settled down and start drinking, it was like holding a stuffed animal.

4

School:

As I write this entry, I only have one more week of classes and then finals. My first semester abroad is almost over! I can’t believe it! And I have yet to tell you about what classes I’ve been taking all semester. I’ll just tell you about two of them though, Sociology of the Environment (my favorite class) and Equine Production (class I’m struggling in).

In Sociology of the Environment, the curriculum is all about environmental problems and their solutions. It is very interesting to look at this topic from a New Zealand perspective. New Zealand is relatively small and has the image of being a “green”/eco-friendly country, so when discussions come up about who is to blame for environmental issues, the United States is mentioned quite a lot. I don’t take any statements against the US personally—I’m sure similar criticisms would be said back at home too. It is just interesting to hear what other people from around the world think about the US and how other countries like New Zealand go about tackling environmental issues.

Equine (Horse) Production was one of those classes I kinda took on a whim. I had space in my schedule to take any class that I wanted, so I thought I would pick one that I knew absolutely nothing about but was also slightly interested in. That’s how I found myself in Equine Production, and while not totally regretting my decision, I am finding the subject matter of this class to be challenging. Breeding horses and horse racing is pretty big here in New Zealand, so everyone is my class—which is all girls except for me and one other guy—seem to know a lot about horses already. Me though…just the basic terminology of ‘dam’ and ‘sire’ was something I had to learn. The class does have its perks; we’ve been on field trips to a horse race and a stud farm (where they breed racehorses). And I do think it is good to learn about new subjects and be outside my comfort zone, so in that sense Equine has been a very good class.

Like I mentioned before, I have one more week of classes, then a week break to study for exams, exams, and then summer! It’s a bit weird to think about summer in October, but I guess that’s the New Zealand way. Lately me and my friends have been making plans for how to spend our summers. Mine is looking like it will be pretty eventful, so I’ll be sure to keep you up to date once it arrives.

Cheers,

Scott