Home' The Eye : April 25th 2013 Contents 25.4.13 The Eye
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SOUTHLANDERS' TALES -- STORIES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
Whack: Michael Sunderland, left, playing squash at Cornell University. The former Southland Boys' High School is at
college in the United States and playing squash for his college team.
Back in his junior days: Michael Sunderland in action as a top New Zealand
junior in 2009, watched by coach Simon Flett in the background.
Photo: JOHN HAWKINS 623550765
Freezing good fun in US
Southlanders are a globe-trotting bunch, so we have started a new series
called Southlanders' Tales. We're looking for Southlanders overseas doing
interesting things, or living in interesting places. We'd also look at former
Southlanders achieving real success elsewhere in New Zealand. If you
know of anyone, please get in touch with us at. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Facebook post on: facebook.com/ TheEyePaper
Between playing squash and studying at an Ivy League University, former
Southland Boys' High School student Michael Sunderland talked to Louise
Berwick about his adventures in the United States.
Where are you?
I'm in a small college town in New
York State called Ithaca, at
What are you doing there?
Up until now, I've been allowing
my body to slowly freeze from the
inside out. Southland will no
longer ever feel cold to me.
Northern Hemisphere winters are
so cold. I have been studying
biology, majoring in neurobiology
and behaviour, and playing
squash for the Cornell men's
team, since January.
What is your favourite thing
about the place you are living
My spell-check is telling me that
''favourite'' is spelt wrong. The
reason I'm mentioning this is that
everything is different here. From
measurements, to driving on the
other side of the road, the food, the
people, the accents, even the
spelling. I love the diversity here
and the fact that everything is a
What is the weirdest, or coolest
thing you have seen while you
have been there?
Oh man, so much has happened. I
think being at a school with 12,000
undergraduate students all living
right on campus is crazy. It takes
me half an hour just to walk to the
other side of campus --- it's so big!
We have huge snowball fights, too.
What is the worst and best
thing you have eaten?
A lot of the food is bad.
Vegetables, in particular, are
nowhere near as fresh. There's
also a lot of good food and the fast
food outlets here have drink
machines, which have touch
screens and around 200 different
drinks inside them. You can
choose Coca-cola in like 12
What does your typical day
Classes every day during the
week and squash training once a
day. Weekends are spent, during
the season, away at other schools,
such as Yale, Harvard,
Dartmouth, staying in nice hotels
and eating good food and playing
squash. Assignments take up a
the rest of the time. Somehow
time is found to enjoy the
''college'' experience I know that
many of you will have seen on the
movies, American Pie, Animal
House etc -- it's remarkably
What was the hardest thing to
get used to in America?
The cold weather. One day was
minus 21 degrees, not including
the windchill. Winter here is very
challenging -- it drags on for such
a long time. Once you make it to
the other side of winter, this place
is beautiful. We are surrounded
by waterfalls and gorges on
campus. Once it warms up and the
water defrosts, it's quite
What advice do you have for
other young Southlanders
wanting to travel or study
Everyone says it -- but follow your
dreams! I feel like whether you
choose to pursue a sporting
career, a career in a trade or other
job, or go to university, getting
world experience is one of the best
things you can do. Things are easy
in the lush place we call home.
Step out of your comfort zone and
reap the rewards.
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