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Tennessee Wesleyan student Hannah Pike to study abroad in New Zealand


In July Tennessee Wesleyan sophomore Hannah Pike will leave Athens and fly to New Zealand, where she will be until November. Pike is participating in a study abroad with Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). As an international management major, Pike is required to study abroad before graduation. She wanted to spend more than a couple of weeks on her trip, however, making the ISEP exchange program the perfect option for her.

“I wanted to go for the whole semester to learn about the culture,” Pike said. “I feel like two weeks isn’t enough. I like to take my time, so I want to go there and…do everything.”

Through this program, she will spend the fall semester in New Zealand, taking international management and international marketing courses. As a student at Massey University, she will live on campus, sharing an apartment with three students from Massey. Spending a whole semester in New Zealand will allow Pike to get a more in-depth experience, learning more about the culture and country of New Zealand.

“I’m excited to see how I am going to adapt to it, to the different culture and everything, how I’m going to meet new people, what New Zealand’s education is like, how the courses are,” she said. “I know financially it’s going to be hard on my mom and me, but it’s going to be a great experience for me. It’s going to help me put my foot in the door for my major. What I want to get out of it is it’s going to help me see different cultures and how I’m going to adapt to it. I know that whatever I want to do for a job will demand that I adapt to different cultures.”

While she is in New Zealand, Pike hopes to continue her hobby of stand-up paddle boarding. Several years ago, she and her mom took a class, and she has turned that hobby into a career.

“My mom and I did Groupon, and we just saw it one day,” Pike said. “Then I got really hooked on it, so I applied for a job in Nashville and I’ve just worked my way up in that job. I worked in the store, then I went to lessons, and now I’m the manager after two years. I just fell in love with the hobby.”

Pike hopes to join the surfing club at Massey University and participate in their stand-up paddle boarding activities as well. The ability to take part in university clubs and activities as well as continue her studies was an important consideration for Pike. In addition to continuing her studies and her stand-up paddle boarding hobby, she is also looking forward to exploring the area, going on hikes and learning the culture of New Zealand.

“I really just want the experience,” she said. “The best part is I can go and still learn there. I don’t have to put my courses on hold, so I’m getting the opportunity to go and study but also go and explore.”

Pike is excited about the prospect of spending the fall semester in New Zealand. Even though she will be abroad for the first time as an adult and away from her mom, she is looking forward to the experience and the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of studying abroad.

“My mom is a single mom, so my mom and I are really close,” Pike said. “I think it’s going to be really hard when I do leave. I’m excited to leave and I’m excited about this experience, but I am really nervous. I am ready to go. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

For more information about the Tennessee Wesleyan global studies opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Ruleman at To make a contribution to help fund this opportunity in New Zealand or other study abroad opportunities for Tennessee Wesleyan students, please call the Office of Institutional Advancement at (423) 746-5330.