BEVERLY, Mass. — Endicott women's tennis rising senior and sport management major Bridget Cott (Wilton, Conn.) sat down with ECGulls to speak about her recent study abroad trip to New Zealand.
ECGulls: Give us an overall description of your trip.
For the spring semester, I studied at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Being one of the longer abroad programs at Endicott, I arrived in New Zealand in mid-February and returned home on June 24. In about five months, I traveled all around the north and south islands along with Australia.
ECGulls: Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It truly is impossible to describe my overall experience here in New Zealand in just a few sentences. I have made some long lasting memories that will probably be some of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. Whether it was living in a major city halfway across the world, or seeing the most untouched beauty out there, to meeting so many amazing people, this country will forever have a very special place in my heart.
ECGulls: Why would you recommend studying abroad to other students?
Not only is going abroad a great way to get out of your comfort zone and experience life in a different part of the world, but it also gives you a chance to learn so much about yourself. The independence I have gained since being here is remarkable and I really don't think I could have grown this much without traveling to New Zealand. If you have the chance definitely go abroad, it's worth it.
ECGulls: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
The biggest lesson I learned while being here was definitely the power of self-reliance. By the end of my stay, I learned the importance of emerging myself in the culture and experiences right in front of me. As cliche as it may sound, saying yes to everything while your abroad, even if you're doing it alone, can open up so many doors; socially, culturally, academically, etc. Upon arriving in New Zealand, I had never traveled out of the country so this was a major change for me. With change come adjustments and sometimes they're not easy. One of the biggest things I struggled with was homesickness, as being without my friends and family was very hard for me. Once I was able to become less consumed with life back at home, my life here really started to begin and flew by.
ECGulls: What was your favorite experience?
My favorite experience was spent rather impulsively in Hawks Bay which is about three hours north of our host city, Wellington. When our travel plans fell through abruptly we made a rash decision to rent a car and drive up the North Island. With very low expectations for the weekend and little plans, we figured it definitely wouldn't be a standout trip. Ironically, that very weekend turned out to be the best yet. The weather, views, and people were absolutely perfect and I learned that the best things really do happen unexpectedly.
ECGulls: Describe the educational side of the program.
Interestingly enough all of my classes were electives so I really had the chance to take ones that I wouldn't normally take back at Endicott. Photography, creative arts, and design were just some of the areas that I was exposed to. My schedule was extremely accommodating as the majority of my professors valued the importance of independent study. My favorite class was definitely Creative Processes. Although extremely unorthodox, and at times a bit bizarre, I was able to uncover a whole new side to me along with meeting some incredibly talented people. I can't picture myself at anywhere else but Massey University.
ECGulls: Were there any funny stories from your trip?
In general, when you travel anywhere with two of your very best friends you are bound to do some pretty ridiculous things. I would say the funniest story of my travels had to be when my friend Kate mistook an electric tea kettle for a standard one. She not only put it on the stove but also caused an electric fire in our Airbnb… Yeah, not so funny at the time but looking back now I can't help but laugh.
WHY STUDY ABROAD? – (ENDICOTT STUDY ABROAD WEBSITE)
Following the College's philosophy to "learn by doing" through experiential learning, the study abroad program & its international internships prepare students at Endicott for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, and/or 3-to-15 week internships abroad, students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.
"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study or intern abroad.
Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy.
Making education abroad a part of their college education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand and enables them to recognize — and then dismiss — stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.
Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders."
The Endicott Experience feature aims to highlight the entirety of the student-athletes' experiential learning journey throughout their academic careers. The student-athlete at Endicott is afforded the same opportunities as the general student population at the College as it relates to internships, study abroad, and postgraduate career pursuits. This philosophy mirrors the mission statement of the College which every student is encouraged to take intellectual risks, pursue scholarly and creative interests, contribute to the community, and explore diverse career paths. Read more Endicott Experience features by navigating the links below.
STUDY ABROAD: Studying Abroad as a Student-Athlete at Endicott | James Dwyer Focuses on Opportunities Abroad in Switzerland with Les Roches Global Hospitality | Endicott Student-Athletes Study Abroad in Asia | Holly Erbe Studies Abroad in London, Paris, Amsterdam | Andrea Courtemanche Gains New Perspectives Through Study Abroad Trip | Shelby Elwell Catches Travel Bug From Study Abroad Experiences | Erica Hadad Studies Abroad In Ireland
(Photo Credit - Bridget Cott)