Bearden sophomore to study in New Zealand during spring semester


Bearden sophomore Gracie Kouns is well-traveled (pictured here snorkeling in Alaska), and she is now studying abroad in New Zealand.

Studying abroad provides opportunities to travel to new places while still participating in school. It allows students from all over the world to experience different cultures and widen their views of the world.

Bearden sophomore Gracie Kouns has recently been granted the opportunity to study abroad during the spring semester of 2018. She is living in Queenstown, New Zealand. Kouns is staying with a host family and will attend Wakatipu High School.

Despite being in a new country, her life will still remain similar.

“When you study abroad, you basically live a normal life just in a different country and with a host family,” Kouns said. “I will still attend high school daily, and just focus on experiencing the culture.”

Kouns got this opportunity through a program called Quest Exchange which she discovered after plenty of online research. She went through the application process and was accepted to participate in the program.

“This is definitely a huge and amazing opportunity that I am so incredibly thankful for,” Kouns said. “I think it will give me the opportunity to grow as a person, make lifelong connections with people, and practice my photography.”

The opportunity to travel to New Zealand has opened and will open up a string of opportunities for Kouns; she is looking forward to experiencing a new country, culture, and a new group of people.

“I couldn’t be more excited about all of it,” she said. “I am most looking forward to making new friends and experiencing a country on the other side of the world.”

Kouns decided she wanted to study abroad because she has been traveling her whole life and has developed a love for it. When she discovered it was possible to study abroad during high school, she jumped at the opportunity.

“The easiest part will probably be just going on adventures and experiencing new things there since traveling is something I love more than anything,” Kouns said.

Although there are many things to look forward to, there will still be some difficult things that come with being away from home.

“Being away from my dogs will definitely be the hardest part of studying abroad,” Kouns said.

Traveling is something that Kouns is passionate about and participating in the Quest Exchange program will allow her to experience a different environment in New Zealand and help her grow as a person.