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My name is Lisanne Antenbrink and I was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. As a 20-year old I enjoy almost everything: from binge watching films for a couple of days to hiking and bungy jumping. When I started my Tourism Management studies I decided right away: I want to go to New Zealand in my third year. Time passed and in the second year I heard about the possibilities of studying abroad. As I am a Dutch student I figured it would be worth going abroad for the full third year so I informed myself about the possibilities. I would have limited finances so a European country allowing myself to get the Erasmus grant made sense. Narrowing the universities down to Scandinavia and Finland, I instinctively chose Finland, not realising yet I would be living on the arctic circle.
At the start of the third year I moved to Rovaniemi, to live with reindeers, Santa Claus, and a couple of hours of daylight per day. Looking back I consider everything I experienced there normal, but it is not really. When I arrived there last August there was more daylight than darkness, and when I left in December we only had 2 hours of daylight. In October there was snowfall which would stay until April, meaning I was living in the snow for a couple of months. It got so cold there that whenever I went inside the supermarket it was way too hot and I had to take heaps of layers off. One time I exited the supermarket and saw there was a traffic jam caused by reindeers crossing the road. During my studies there I organised a gala, went to Norway, and helped reindeer herders catching reindeers.
I could not be any happier for picking Lapland University as my study abroad experience. The culture, the people, the food, it is all very different compared to the Netherlands but I absolutely loved it. Leaving a couple of friends behind in Rovaniemi which I now consider a second hometown, and a couple of others who also returned to their home country, I was sad but knew I will see them all in the future. And, that also meant it was time for my next adventure.
After spending just 3 weeks in the Netherlands and experiencing a reverse culture shock (which I did not have when I lived in Finland), I had to pack my bags to go to Auckland, New Zealand. I went on a small holiday to Hong Kong first which is an amazing city with a great vibe, delicious food, and amazing architecture.
Now I am living in New Zealand, and I absolutely love it. On one side it's completely different to Finland like a very obvious climate difference, but on the other side the people are very relaxed in both countries. New Zealand’s nature is stunning, the food is great, and until now I have only met very kind and helpful people. It feels like I am on a holiday any time after office hours. Honestly I do not want to leave New Zealand since I feel like I am truly home. After graduating I will certainly return to this amazing country as it offers very good job opportunities in tourism. For now I will enjoy living here and make the most out of it.
This third study year I moved from an arctic environment being surrounded by snow and reindeers to a more tropical one with cyclones and magical scenery and I can totally recommend it to everyone if what you want is a diverse but super exciting third year.