LatestMy Journey to New Zealand

My Journey to New Zealand

Jessie Smith
Jessie Smith
Canadian Jessie has fallen in love with New Zealand. While studying Creative Writing and Religious Studies at the University of Otago she’ll have plenty of time to use her photography and writing skills.

14,220 kilometres from home

In February I was just an exchange student arriving in New Zealand after a long-haul flight from Toronto, Canada. I didn’t know much of what to expect.

I flew into Queenstown and visited the city of Wanaka first.

The beauty of Wanaka was hypnotising: its clear blue lake and the distant mountains of Mt. Aspiring National Park.  I didn’t think I could love a place more, and I was half heart-broken to leave.


Though when the bus into Dunedin drove down George Street, past the Cadbury factory and came to a complete stop at the Railway Station, I was hit by a feeling of complete comfort and ease. I felt right at home.

I was quick to learn the secret behind Dunedin’s charm.

A city built on Scotland, Edinburgh’s city layout; Dunedin is warm and well placed.

The octagon is like a magnet, drawing in energy from all over the city, (as well as drunk “scarfies” on nights and weekends!) I discovered the farmers market, close proximity beaches, the national sport of rugby, the yoga studio downtown, and also hikes just outside the city.

With its proximity to the ocean and the laid-back feel of the city, Dunedin really reminds me of Halifax, Nova Scotia my University town!


Since arriving in Dunedin I’ve been living in University Flats on Leith Street Central, a few minutes walk from campus.

I enjoyed spending time with my flatmates as well as other exchange students I’ve met who are from all over the world – namely Canada, America, Austria, South Africa, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary and of course New Zealand.


I set out to New Zealand with a few goals: to learn to surf and hike every chance I get, to see a whale dive and to jump out of a plane.

Ultimately to really embrace everything this country has to offer and make the most out of each day!


Check out my photographs of the things I’ve experienced so far, as well as check back next week to hear stories about my time in New Zealand!