UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore.

UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore!

UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore.

UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore.

New Zealand: Trip Down the Whanganui River

Submitted by Rachel Sclar on the 2020 winter session program in New Zealand sponsored by the Department of  Communication…

This past week was unforgettable. We got to do a three-day river trip down the Whanganui River. The weather was incredible and the group chemistry improved, but most importantly, I really found out what it means to be part of the Maori culture. Our first day was mostly rowing, but the second day was devoted to learning, appreciating, and even performing some of the Maori traditions. As part of their culture, they go through a whole ceremony to welcome other people or “tribes” onto their land. We were taught a Haka, a welcoming dance along with a chant. Not only that, the group that we got to welcome onto the land that we had already stayed on for one night, was another University of Delaware study abroad group. It felt so special, and almost surreal, to incorporate this culture I have learned to love and appreciate, with my peers that I go to class with 9,000 miles away. In addition, I was able to get extremely close with some of the Maori people. Two of them were ages 17 and 23 – the same ages as my brothers. I was surprised to see how similar we are even though we live so far away, yet how different our cultures and experiences have been throughout our lives. Their welcoming and kind nature are definitely part of the reason we became so close so quick. I believe that even though I was only able to spend three days with them, we will definitely keep in touch via social media.