International Connections


Jonathan Mennecke

Major: Kinesiology and Health



Year: Junior
Hometown, State: Ames, Iowa

Type of experience: Semester Abroad
Experience: A Semester in New Zealand - Massey University
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=Massey
Destination: New Zealand

Overall experience..
It was one of the most amazing things that I have ever done and I am so happy that I made the choice to go to New Zealand. I met so many interesting people and saw so many incredible things during my time there. For anyone that likes to experience the outdoors, I would definitely recommend considering New Zealand as a place to explore.

I learned...
I first learned about this experience when my friend had started getting ready for his study abroad experience. He told me that I should look into it, and I did and decided I should either study in Australia or New Zealand. After meeting with my advisor, I decided upon New Zealand.

An impact to my life...
This experience has broadened my views of the world and has made me realize how much fun it can be to travel around the world. During the semester, I had the opportunity to serve as a social media ambassador for Iowa State's Study Abroad Center and for Education New Zealand. Working with both of these organizations allowed me to grow in my social media skills and my leadership skills. I also learned about the native population of New Zealand, the Māori, and grew my knowledge of other cultures.

My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable learning experience I gained from studying abroad was to always be prepared for anything, especially while traveling. There were several times that I had to spend extra money on supplies because I was unprepared for the conditions of a certain area.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience that I have from this experience is when me and a couple of friends went to Milford Sound in the South Island. We woke up in the morning and it was foggy for most of the drive to the fjord, making it an eerie drive. We finally got to the tunnel that lead to the fjord, and when we made it to the other side it was sunny and absolutely beautiful. The views that we saw were unforgettable, and it is somewhere I really want to go again someday.

A surprising discovery...
Something that surprised me about New Zealand is how similar the culture is to American culture. Besides driving on the other side of the road, most of their culture very closely resembles American culture.

Advice for others...
For students looking to study abroad anywhere, I would recommend being well prepared and planning out your experience at least a year in advance in order to have a great experience. Along with being prepared, I would also recommend saying yes to doing random things and just trying to meet as many people as possible. Meeting a lot of different people allows you to have multiple people to do things with and can open the doors to amazing experiences with new friends.

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