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Final reflections before Fiji

June 23, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Tabarik's blog:
It's June 23, 2010 and I'm in Fiji. I still cannot believe that my New Zealand adventure is over! I have learned so many things both personally and academically, it's just so hard to believe that we spent three whole weeks there and that it came to an end.

Time flew by and before I knew it, I was heading to the airport and leaving behind the fresh New Zealand air. It was a sad farewell, as we sat in our seats and waved goodbye to our wonderful professors and TA. I always said that I would never live anywhere but the United States. However, my time and experience in New Zealand has changed my mind. The people I met, including those living in New Zealand, will be lifelong friends. There were 39 of us on the study abroad trip. We were all insanely different, but we became a family. I think we all have grown personally through this study abroad experience.

The social and cultural reflection is something I cannot avoid. Throughout my adventure in New Zealand, people were unexplainably nice and hospitable. Being born and raised in the melting pot that is the United States, I have, over the years, received different reactions from people when they see me. For some people, I believe they have a barrier up and they shut me out even before they get to know me, all because of the way I look.

I cannot speak on behalf of all New Zealanders, but based on my experiences with the people that I have encountered here, I believe they have a high tolerance and acceptance of people with different backgrounds and beliefs.

Tabarik Ahmad, a global health major, will be a junior this fall. She is studying abroad in New Zealand and Fiji this summer.