Courtney Windju - “Where are you now? - i-studentglobal Follow-up Blog”


 Courtney Windju

Courtney left the USA to study at the University of Otago in New Zealand. When she’s not studying she likes exploring, baking and meeting new people. Courtney graduated from the University of San Diego in 2016.

Two years ago I was embarking on one of the most unexpected, yet life-changing journeys of a lifetime – a semester abroad in New Zealand. Surprisingly, of the many things I was uncertain of heading into my University experience, studying abroad was not one of them. Although I did not know where at the time, I knew spending six months of my life in another country was going to be an absolutely pivotal experience and one of the most valuable in my three and a half years of study.


Often times when relaying my study abroad experience to friends and family, I find myself stumbling for the accurate descriptive words and spontaneous adventures of many to share; thus, I have merely shortened up my time in New Zealand into two words – “Pure Bliss”. This is a feeling I knew I must bring back to my normative University experience in San Diego, California with me, however, equally knew how challenging it would be to re-create the familiar feeling without the same people and environment.


Admittedly so, I returned to the University of San Diego in January 2015 with a refreshed perspective, especially in regards to the importance of living purely and connecting with nature, yet, also brought with me an incredible amount of nostalgia. Although living on the beach in Southern California I view as an absolute fortune and many people’s dream, I also felt suffocated by concrete in every which directions and much too many hours in the library sitting in a constricting, mundane and privatized cubby – was this really, living? Certainly not the kind of living I was used to in New Zealand, but also certainly an opportunity that I should be grateful for, as many individuals in this world aren’t granted easy access to education. That being said, I carried with me graciousness whilst hiking on weekend adventures and whilst studying for the next midterm exam and most of all, whilst sharing laughter and sacred memories with new and old University mates. And might I add, the knowledge that one-day soon, I would return back to New Zealand.