Auckland City Limits music festival

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College Kia ora! The music festival season has officially begun for some of us lucky study abroad students. Kicking off the fifth, and arguably the most enjoyable, season of the year was the Auckland City Limits music festival on March 19th. Lasting only one day, the festival is […]

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“Wait, is this a volcano?” Climbing Mount Eden

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

I have been fortunate enough to call three other countries, besides America, my home in my short 21 years of life. In that time I have had the opportunity to travel and explore a baker’s dozen or so more countries. And without fail, I always run into stereotypical American travellers and vacationers. With their socks and sandals combos, fanny packs, NFL jerseys, obnoxious irreverence for everyone else around them and all together ignorance for the history and culture of the places they are visiting, there is nothing more in this world that irks me. However, I must admit with great embarrassment that I happened to be as completely clueless on one such hike up Mt. Eden this week. Although I must assure you, I wasn’t wearing flip-flops and white socks nor do I own any NFL jerseys, but I was completely conscious and respectful of all the other hikers around me. (Sometimes I do wish I had a fanny pack though. Don’t judge me.)

Climbing Mount Eden

Seth Aubin surveilling Auckland from atop the city’s highest point, Mt. Eden.
Captured by Ali Sousa

It was a beautiful, partly cloudy morning when I met up with Seth Aubin and Ali Sousa on the lime green couches in ground floor common room for 9:00am. Advantageously, we decided to make the most of the low 70 degree early morning weather by going for a hike. Allie took the lead leaving WSA, turning onto Symonds Street directing us up the hill toward the Mt. Eden region of Auckland. After about a fifteen-minute walk out of the central business district and through the more residential streets of Mt. Eden, we arrived at the car park at the base of our destination. There, we were directed by a kind Kiwi woman that the walking trail we were in search of was off to our right, up the earthen steps. Thanking her, we departed.

Happy is he who hikes. Captured by Ali Sousa

Happy is he who hikes. Captured by Ali Sousa

Now, there are two ways to summit Mt. Eden: along the paved path that was once intended, but no longer used for cars, or by way of the dirt path through the bush. Being adventurers, we naturally chose the latter. The first leg of the trail was the longest and moderately steep. We walked under trees and around bushes; all the while the cicadas hummed, providing us with a natural soundtrack for our journey. At one point, one fell from its perch on an overhead branch, landing on my shoulder. Luckily, Ali quite literally had my back and quickly brushed it away. We came out from under the trees as the path opened onto a clearing and leveling off point on the hill. We stayed for a few moments, let our heartbeats return to normal, and snapped a few photos. Continue reading

Sea swimming, Skylines, and Sunburn

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

A seagull profits from low tide, searching for lunch. Captured by Ali Sousa

A seagull profits from low tide, searching for lunch.
Captured by Ali Sousa

Kia ora!

For our first full weekend together in Auckland, the Champlain Abroad students banded together to pass the day bronzing on the beach. We started out early, catching the 10:30 ferry at the harbor at the bottom of Queen Street, direction Devonport.

After the short 12 minute long ferry ride across the harbor we arrived at the Devonport dock. We meandered along the coast for two kilometers before reaching our sandy destination. In almost perfect unison we kicked off our flip-flops and unfolded our towels. Unfortunately, for the sake of swimming, when we arrived it was low tide. The 70 degree water was only ankle deep allowing us to wander out into the sea a good quarter mile before the waves began to break, wetting us above the waist. We floated, splashed and considered ourselves lucky to be enjoying the summer sun and warm water while our friends back in Burlington were most likely in class wrapped up in multiple layers. As we made our way back to shore we couldn’t help but kick up dozens of sand dollars-both living and dead. Over the next few hours we were in and out of the salty water, spread out soaking up the sun, scouring the shore for sea glass, and fantasizing about owning the cookie cutter bungalows behind us. Continue reading

Settling-in to the Wellesley Student Apartments

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

Finally! After 22 hours of travel, 8 time zones, 2 flights and one bus ride, I arrived at my accommodation in New Zealand. Located on 8 Mount Street in the Central Business District of Auckland are the Wellesley Student Apartments. The massive fourteen-story building is going to be ‘home’ for me and some 500 other AUT students for the next semester. WSA has an interesting cast of characters–international exchange students, native Kiwis, and hoards of first years–guaranteeing that this semester will truly be a unique experience.

AUT building

WSA as seen from the courtyard.

The apartments at WSA are suite-style, much like those of Champlain’s Spinner Place. There are five individual bedrooms, one common living room, one common kitchen, and two shared bathrooms per apartment. I share my apartment with two Kiwis and my fellow Champlainer, Kohl Davis (we still have one vacancy). The bedrooms are fairly well sized, on average slightly bigger than those of Spinner Place, and come equipped with a long-twin sized bed, a desk, a cork board, a shelving unit for storage, and an armoire. Every room also comes with one complete set of dinnerware (one bowl, dinner plate, dessert plate, glass, coffee mug and silverware). In addition, the kitchen was stocked with pots and pans and the extra cooking utensils required to prepare pretty much any student made meal.

Typical bedroom setup, minus the ukulele-playing AUT student. (From: https://www.aut.ac.nz)

Typical bedroom setup, minus the ukulele-playing AUT student.
(From: https://www.aut.ac.nz)

When I arrived, I was a little bummed out that I had forgotten to pack a set of sheets and a towel. I could just hear my mom, “I told you to pack those,” as I tore apart my suitcase in order to enter my clothes in the armoire. Luckily, my Kiwi roommates came to the rescue and told me about a couple of options I had to resolve my linen dilemma. Option one, I could buy a set from the front desk for $120NZD, which he assured me was a rip-off. Option two, I could wander down Auckland’s main drag, Queen Street, and pop into the student’s retail wonderland, The Warehouse, and buy a much more reasonably priced set of linens. Taking his advice, I chose the latter.

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