Backpacking Adventure in Kahurangi National Park

This was a huge week for all of us getting out of our comfort zones. We left the cozy comforts of St Arnaud and headed to Nelson to grab our expedition gear and plan for our three night backpacking adventure in Kahurangi National Park. We were all relieved to see that the weather was changing in our favor and that the low temperatures would now rise above the negatives (Celsius!) and the rain seemed like it would no longer follow us up the mountain. The night before we… Read more

The New Zealand & Australia Program in Emojis

Kia Ora!It’s been one month since we all have been in the land of the long white cloud, Aotearoa, New Zealand. During this time we have been to the North and South Island. As a group we have decided  to share some insights from our travels in the form of Emojis. Have a read below to find out what we have been up to.  Lily: We’ve learned to really enjoy camping. Even though it’s been in the rain, the cold and sometimes the sun, we still have worked through it together an… Read more

Spotting The Elusive Kiwi Bird In New Zealand

We have had quite the first week down here in New Zealand. While we would love to fill you in on all of it, we thought it would be best to share one of the highlights from earlier this week.   The other night, we all went kiwi hunting. If you don’t know what a kiwi is, or think it’s the fruit (or apparently the native people), it’s not. A kiwi is type of endangered bird native to New Zealand. They are what we described as a mix between a gopher, a chicken, a chipmunk, … Read more

NZA Group C: Surf Surf Surf!!

Check out Instructor Sophia's review of the group's first surfing experience: As we pulled into the Surfaris site, the anticipation to go out and surf was felt throughout the group. Leaving the campsites where we slept in tents, it was quite refreshing to sleep in actual beds and have meals cooked for us. The Surfaris site was energy-filled with positive vibes and friendly welcomes, as a result of the incredibly open and fun personalities accompanying us on this journe… Read more

When a Program Friendship Changes Your Life

Laura and James met on the New Zealand & Australia Gap Year Semester Program back in 2016 and it changed their lives forever. They talk to us about their program experiences and their new home Alaska.How did you end up in Alaska?Laura was born and raised just outside of Anchorage, Alaska. I was born and raised outside of Toronto, Canada. We developed a tight bond and strong friendship from the program, and we were interested in visiting each other after the program had e… Read more

NZA Group A - On the Move

NZA Group A is on the move, Liz, one of our instructors fills us in:  We said goodbye to the quiet of the Crossing and moved straight into the busy city of Sydney. On the first full day of Sydney, the group split into two. Half went to Newtown and the other went to the beach and did a little sun bathing and swimming at the coast of Australia. Newtown was a quirky, artsy part of the city. There were outside markets where you could get food, clothing, and lots of little t… Read more

NZA Group C Update: The Crossing

Lauren and Wes get their hands dirty at The Crossing, working hard on sustainability and landcare projects. Check out their video blog to see what they're up to!     If you want to learn more about the New Zealand and Australia Semester Program, you can read more here. Read more

NZA Group A Update: Canyoning and Service Work

Liz gives us an update on what NZA Group A has been doing:  This was a fun and emotional week for us. We started off in the blue mountains canyoning, the guides equipped us with helmets and harnesses, and we learned how to abseil. They hooked a rope to our harnesses, and we used it to guide ourselves down the rock wall. We first practiced abseiling down a 3 meter rock, then 15 and then a 45. It was very nerve-racking for most of us in the group but we all did it with a … Read more

Time to hit the surf! NZA Group B update

Surf Camp – Day 1 “You just gotta drop in, smack the lip WHAPAHH then tuck in there and just get GAHHH” – SURFER GUY.Since our last group blog post, much has happened!  No days off for that girl. We have been stationed at the Surfari retreat homestay, where we have been working with local contractors doing bush regeneration by weeding out a harmful invasive species of plant, Bitou Bush, and by replanting helpful and beautiful trees to flourish in coming years. It was inc… Read more

Surf Camp - NZA Group A

Another surf update, this time from NZ A Group A! Liz one of the instructors gives us the low-down on what they've been up to lately: After a six hour drive from Byron Bay we arrived at Surfari—our accommodations in Crescent Head, New South Wales. After a week of living out of tents it was lovely to sleep on real beds. The relaxation didn’t last long, because the next morning we drove to Plomer Beach for our first day of service work. With a view of the waves crashing o… Read more

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