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Next Up: New Zealand


I am over the moon with excitement. If you know me and/or have been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been incredibly eager to travel to New Zealand. I just feel drawn to it. I’m curious about it. I want to discover what it’s like over there. I want to see all its beauty!

But my plan has changed somewhat! I won’t simply be heading there for travel, but rather, I’ll be going to New Zealand for a Master’s degree!!!

About two months ago, in May I came to the decision, or rather the realisation, that I wanted to pursue a master’s degree. I’ve always liked the idea of obtaining a master’s degree, but I didn’t feel ready. I wanted to be sure that the degree would be something that sparked my excitement, something that made me passionate. Something that would allow my career to grow. Throughout the past two years, I was never quite sure of what this was. I had ideas, thoughts that wandered by, but nothing I was sure of. That is, until now.

In May, upon evaluating my life and where I want to move in my line(s) of work (as I do much more than just one thing), there was a clear factor present in all of my work: communications. More specifically: writing. Now to you that may not seem like anything surprising. I’ve written on here and I’ve always talked about writing in one form or another. But now I have a more clear idea, a more clear path, of how I want to use my writing throughout my life and what I’d like to accomplish with my written stories.

Photo by Aaron Birch on Unsplash

Deciding on New Zealand

Although it may not seem logical, New Zealand wasn’t the location I had in mind at the start, when embarking on the master’s program research path. Initially, I had thought about going back to the Netherlands, where master programs are insanely cheap. That might sound funny to say about a program that costs around €2.000 per year. But when you compare it to master degrees in the United States, where I was looking and hoping for New York City (such a dream city…) I realised that the Dutch prices were crazy cheap. A master’s degree in NYC had a price tag of nearly $100.000 – which is a loan that I don’t wish on any student, although I know many college grads (of which many with an American education) have high loans with absurd interest rates.

After chatting about my ideas with my family, specifically with my mom, she asked whether I had looked at programs in New Zealand, viewing it as an opportunity to combine travel and study. I immediately liked the idea and started researching. This process wasn’t as smooth, as somehow the websites I landed on didn’t feel all that clear or organised, but eventually, I navigated my way through the information and settled on the Auckland University of Technology. The more I looked into the program and the school, the more I wanted to attend. I completed my application at what felt like record speed and sat back to wait for a reply.

Oh boy, am I impatient. This is nothing new. I know this about myself. After calculating the time-difference, from Sunday evening to Friday morning, I was refreshing my outlook email. Every time my phone sounded, indicating a new email, I would get a mini heart attack, immediately checking if it was from AUT. Their average reply time is four weeks, and of course, it took those full four weeks, even when I had hoped that it would take only one. I know. Very unrealistic. Possibly this is inside of my control, but when I’m excited and eager, I am incredibly impatient.

After about three and a half weeks, I got a message that said my application had progressed. The admissions team had reviewed my application and accepted me, and had passed it on to the specific program, as they hold the final word over who gets a spot in the master’s program. Their message said they expected an answer within 10 working days.

Unfortunately, it took all 10 of those working days for them to get back to me, although that didn’t make me any less excited when, on Tuesday night (20.07), before closing my laptop for the evening, I decided to check the portal one last time, and saw that there was a change in the status of my application. Carefully reading the words on my screen, I gasped. Rowena, sitting on the couch to my left turned to look at me with a hopeful expression. She knew exactly what message I’d been hoping to receive all night and the excitement on my face gave it away.

AUT had accepted me and had given me a spot in their Master of Communications program. I was over the moon. I immediately called mom, who was at home with Christiaan. Somehow, even as I was sharing the exciting news, and as the official email arrived in my mailbox, it all felt somewhat unreal. I had finally received the news that I had so eagerly been waiting for for the past four-ish weeks, and now it was here and it was a reality.

I slept better that night than I had all those four weeks.

The next day I called my grandma and big sister, who were, besides two of my closest friends, the only other people whom I had kept in the loop about my application. I’ve found that sometimes I overshare, and when things work out differently, I then feel like I have to explain why things played out differently, and this time this was something I wanted to avoid. But now that the news was here, it was time to celebrate. I started with my friend group from my undergrad, who immediately send me loving and exciting messages. I called grandma in the afternoon, who stated numerous times that she was so proud, and also really happy that this meant that I would get to see her soon too. Before leaving for New Zealand, I’ll have to pass through the Netherlands, allowing me to spend a week or two with her, my big sister and her lovely kids, and get myself organised – half of my belongings are currently in storage in the Netherlands.

Photo by Roell de Ram on Unsplash

Why a master’s degree?

I’ve now had two full years of work experience, which have been amazing and have allowed me many, many learning opportunities and room for growth. Additionally, I’ve written a book, numerous articles on my Medium, many blog posts on here, build my website (then re-build it on a different provider), and have continued to work as a communications specialist for the Global Young Leaders start-up. Evaluating all that I have done and concluding that all this work is in the area of writing and communications, a master in communications seemed like the perfect choice. I’m looking to specialise in journalism and thereby enhancing my interview and writing skills, as well as any other growth that it may bring me.

I came to the realisation that I want to do a masters degree because after all this time growing in my work, I’d like to learn some more about the field and from other journalists, writers, and do so in a university setting, which I’ve found to be incredibly stimulating in the past.

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

February 2022

By mid-February 2022, I’ll be arriving in Auckland and starting my New Zealand journey and my master’s degree journey. I’m insanely excited, and I’m super happy to finally be sharing the news with you! You can be sure that I’ll continue blogging throughout my adventures on the other side of the globe.

2 replies »

  1. Geweldig Leona. Volgens mij de perfecte keuze om je master in Communicatie te doen gezien het feit dat je al heel lang veel schrijft en dat ook graag en goed doet. En dat je dit dan ook nog kunt gaan doen in New Sealand, waar je graag naar toe wil is helemaal te gek. Ik zie je blije gezicht voor me toen je het bericht per mail kreeg dat je bent aangenomen. Veel succes en plezier, ook met de voorbereidingen. Liefs, Catja

    Liked by 1 person

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