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EF Stories: Louvisa from Sweden at EF New Zealand

EF Stories: Louvisa from Sweden at EF New Zealand

My name is Louvisa. I am 18 years old and I attend high school. This is my journey up to having booked a language trip with EF to New Zealand for 6 months. When I was younger, 13 years old, I went to Malta with EF for 2 weeks. For the person I was back then, the experience was a real challenge. Of course, I learned a lot about the English language, but the biggest growth was probably in my self-esteem and confidence. Never before had I been away from home for so long, without knowing anyone where I was going. Even though it was an emotional roller-coaster of joy, nervousness, and anticipation, I will never forget the trip to Malta.

It was there that an interest in experiencing the same thing again arose, but this time I wanted to take it a step further. I've always heard stories about people who went on exchange years, language trips, and traveled during or after high school. I wanted to do that too, but it's easier said than done. For several years, the dream of a similar adventure would pop into my head a few times a year. It was fun to dream about, but it always felt so distant that I never really pursued the idea. Then suddenly, I was in the second year of high school, the last year flew by, and in one year I'll graduate. Now, I started hearing about all the fun plans the people around me had. Conveniently, the idea came back; maybe it would be fun to go on a language trip after graduation. I still didn't know what I wanted to study in the future, so taking a gap year seemed inevitable. The question was: what options were available?

Considering I didn't know what I wanted to study, it was difficult to book an exchange year, as it often happens between a university in Sweden (which of course requires you to be enrolled at a university) and a school abroad. Studying at a university abroad without an exchange program seemed both expensive and complicated since I would need to find my own housing, suitable courses, and go without any guidance. EF seemed like a more convenient and secure alternative.

The process of choosing what I wanted to study at EF was relatively easy. An intensive English course seemed right for me - a mix of English lessons with an optional business English addition. The question was just where I wanted to go. Everything seems exciting when you're indoors in April, with slushy snow outside the window, looking at pictures of Miami, Vancouver, and Sydney. One destination, however, stood out: Auckland in New Zealand. To be honest, I didn't know much about New Zealand. The Lord of the Rings was filmed there, they love rugby, and the indigenous people are called Maori. Oh, and of course, the kiwi birds. Otherwise, my knowledge was lacking. After a few hours of online searching (mostly looking at pictures, to be honest), I was sure I had found the right place.

What attracted me the most to New Zealand, besides the good reputation the locals have for being very open and welcoming, was the country's nature. Thanks to its large size relative to its small population, there's plenty of nature to explore. Hiking, or tramping as New Zealanders call it, along with mountain biking and kayaking seem to be very popular, and there's a wide variety of hiking trails, caves, and beaches to explore.

When I turned 18, I received a belated birthday gift from some family friends: a guidebook on New Zealand. After flipping through the first 5 pages, I already have at least 8 destinations I want to visit, some of which can be booked through EF. After having contacted EF regarding insurance, the flight there, accommodation, etc., the decision felt more than right. I received quick and clear assistance from my fantastic study counselor, Maria, and together we found a setup that felt great for both me and my family. A few weeks later, I went to EF's office in Stockholm and booked the trip of my lifetime. Now, I just have to wait a year before embarking on my adventure.

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