I’m dedicating this entry to the city of Palmerston North, or Palmy, which has been my home for the last 11 months. And while it has been a good home for me, I’ve had mixed feelings about this place. I’d expect other study abroad participants who stay in places like London, Prague, or Rome to fall in love with their host city. But that’s not the case with Palmerston North and New Zealand. Let me explain…
Whenever I mentioned to a Kiwi that I met while traveling that I was staying in Palmerston North, they usually gave me a little smirk and said “Oh, and how is that?” And I know what they are getting at. Palmerston North is located in the more ‘boring’ part of the country: there are no beaches, no snow-capped mountains, and no geothermal hotspots. Yes, I will admit it, compared to other places like Wellington, Taupo, or Queenstown, Palmerston North does come off as a bit boring.
But—that doesn’t make Palmerston North a ‘bad’ place to stay. I remember when I was coming home after each of my traveling excursions in New Zealand, I would always feel a sense of relief every time I caught sight of those windmills that sit just above Palmy. While there is a lot to do and see while in New Zealand, it can be exhausting to attempt to see it all. That’s why I was always glad to have Palmerston North as my temporary home-away-from-home. Palmy was there when I needed to recharge and get back to university life, and it was also a great rendezvous point for traveling to different parts of the country.
For those of you readers who may find yourself passing through Palmerston North one day, or possibly studying abroad here for a semester or two, don’t worry! Palmerston North has some hidden gems too:
Like I said, Palmerston North is not a bad place to find yourself when traveling through New Zealand. But I do expect those who study abroad here to have a different kind of relationship with this city than other participants. Because when you study abroad in New Zealand, you don’t fall in love with a single city—you fall in love with the whole country! And yes, that even includes Palmerston North too.