I have heard from many that it had always been their dream to go abroad and that they had already planned it at least a whole year in advance. With me it was different. I made my decision rather spontaneously and also only half a year in advance. Why? I do not know it also so exactly. I think maybe because I witnessed how a good friend of mine experienced a successful year in the U.S. But probably also because I could use a change in my old life. Besides, I always wanted to improve my english. In any case, I then researched on the internet on the subject of student exchange. And that's how I got on the world citizen scholarship to new zealand. I applied – and even got it! 🙂 I've never been more proud of myself than I am at this point in time.
So far so good. The next 6 months went by very fast with all the preparations and my excitement. And yet sometimes I thought to myself, why are you doing this?? It is still not too late to cancel the exchange! But these are just little panic thoughts. 😉 I wanted to pull it off for myself and also for everyone else.
Then finally the day of the departure and the farewell. I had been dreading that day a little bit. But then it was actually not so bad. Except the moment my mom started crying, that's when I started too. When I was through the control at the airport, I felt strangely relaxed.
The flight went by relatively fast because most of the time I was either sleeping, watching movies or talking to another student from berlin. We were traveling with an incredibly large group of about 80 germans who wanted to stay in new zealand for between 3 weeks to 1.5 years.
When I arrived in auckland, I took a big bus and started to explore the city. This was to try to keep us awake so we wouldn't have such big problems with jet lag.
The next day we were welcomed by a group of maoris with traditional dances and songs. Then it was time for everyone to take off or go to 2. Hometown – for me tauranga. Funnily enough, on the drive I saw thousands of cows but only a few sheep and I was a bit disappointed. But on later trips the sheep cliché has been confirmed. I also had to get used to other peculiarities of new zealand at first: for example, my host father z.B. Picked up by my new college and I ran to the wrong side of the car. My host father laughingly pointed out to me that the kiwis drive on the left side of the road. In my host family I have 4 host siblings. The oldest host brother studies in auckland, the second oldest goes to technical college and the youngest brother goes to my college. My little host sister attends middle school. The house we live in is perfectly located. I only need 2 minutes to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, 20 minutes by bus to central city, 10 minutes by bike to our 'mount' and 20 minutes by foot to my school. What more do I want? 😉
My first day of school..
…Was pretty exciting with a welcome from the principal, tour of the big school, choosing subjects and all the new people. I was glad to be able to talk to germans because my english was still pretty rough. In new zealand there are so many great subjects: marine studies, hospitality, outdoor education, dance, drama, photography, soft materials, hart materials and much more. Of course, the "normal subjects" like math and foreign languages are not missing either. I decided to take outdoor ed, hospitality, french, maths, english and sport. You choose a total of 6 subjects. By the way, school uniform is compulsory here.
In the first days we new 'internationals' were an attraction and were asked for names and countries of origin. Most of the kiwis then told us what words they knew in german. This usually involved "hello, good day, bitch, how are you, son of a bitch". A funny combination when you imagine that someone comes up to you and says: "good day, bitch. How are you?" But apart from the superficial questions, it was very hard to really make good contacts. New zealanders are used to the fact that international students come and go. But instead I met different wonderful people from all over the world. So my closest friends that I have here in new zealand are from brazil, france, japan, denmark, germany and italy. The advantage for us is that we all know what it is like to be an international student. The downside is that you really only learn good english when you talk to kiwis. But little by little you get to know the kiwis in class and meet them at a party. This made me very fond of the new zealanders.
The time went by so fast because everything was new and exciting and I experienced a lot. For example, we organized a hiking camp in outdoor education. I'm not really a fan of hiking at all, but the camp was the best school trip I've ever experienced. In class we talked about the dangers of hiking and how to prevent them, as well as what is best to take with you to eat. We also got a group cooking kit. Moreover, we each got a huge hiking backpack and had to get our luggage in it, with sleeping bag, food and drink for 3 days! That was a real challenge. In the wilderness of coromandel we set off in the pouring rain (in germany it would have been cancelled by this point). When we arrived at our accommodation after 4 hours of hiking uphill and completely soaked, we were cold and hungry. The only problem was that it was just a hiker's cabin – no stove, no lights, no cell phone network, an ice-cold rainwater shower, an outhouse, a simple wooden hut. But we were still in a good mood and snuggled into our sleeping bags and played cards until it got dark. The next day was fortunately good weather and we walked the mountain to the top. There was a breathtaking view from there.
Then it was 7 hours downhill to our patch of meadow where we pitched our tents for the night. Unfortunately I fell on the way there and banged my knee bloody. The scar remains for me as a small souvenir ;)). In the evening we made a campfire and became more and more friends with the class. On the last day of our hike we fortunately only had to walk on flat paths. But we all had sore muscles and shoulder pain from the heavy giant backpack in the luggage. The school trip was a great experience for me.
Life in my host family
My 17. Birthday I celebrated here in new zealand. Different, but still good. In the day I went to play laser tag with friends, which was really fun. And only in the evening I unwrapped my presents and got a chocolate cake. 🙂
after about 3-4 months I really settled in and even made myself some toast without asking first. But still I have the feeling to be a long time guest. This does not mean that I do not like my host family. On the contrary, my relationship with my host parents is getting better and better and more familiar, but I could never really make friends with my host brothers. They always kept to themselves and did not give me a chance to get close to them. But my little host sister, she is cute.
Sports in new zealand
My host family is very active in sports, as I am too. Through them I came to surf life saving (similar to DLRG in germany – only much better!). The fact that new zealand has so much coastline means that there are also a lot of clubs. First, I trained for competitions in the pool, swimming in the "north island pool champs" and "new zealand agegroup champs". I even did pretty well. Then my trainer persuaded me to do my lifeguard award here. To do this, you first have to pass a theory test and then a practical test. I have passed both! 🙂 my coach was proud of me because I was the only one with a full score. Once you have passed this, you will be on lifeguard duty on the beach approximately every 3 weekends. That is pretty cool. Through this I met new people and learned a lot. For example, how to ride a quad bike (used on the beach to patrol), how to rescue people with a rescue inflatable boat and how to recognize dangerous currents. I was also present at a few small rescue operations, which fortunately all turned out well.
Lifeguarding is a sport in the ocean where you z.B. Paddles against other clubs on a board. I have also tried it once, but it is not easy. It is definitely fun and the people are like a big family. I am also in a swim club here and train 3 times a week each morning. My coach mainly trains triathletes, lifeguards, ocean long distance swimmers and water polo players. She made me to swim also some oceans swims and to take part in some small triathlon. In any case I am not underchallenged! I love to discover and experience new things. My host mother is my biggest help. Without them I would not have been able to do so many things. I think I got the perfect host family!
The second half of the year in new zealand was at least as great as the first half. At first, though, this was like early december, I was pretty sad. I had to say goodbye to many friends who stayed only half a year and then I also imagined to come home and spend christmas with my family. But that was the only time I was really homesick. Otherwise, I got along very well. But the summer just started and it became warmer and more beautiful. With half a year in new zealand, you miss at least half of the summer!
December in new zealand
Jittering in the snow, eating christmas cookies, doing christmas shopping and decorating for christmas – you can forget about that! I did not have the slightest feeling of christmas. It was just too hot, the trees had all their leaves, flowers were blooming, the beach season was starting and you just couldn't think about chocolate or gingerbread! And then suddenly was the 24. And that was nothing special, except hanging a sock on the room door. My host mom had given me a christmas sock so I could get gifts too. On 25.12. Were all awake early and excitedly unwrapped the gifts. I had some packages from my family and got some small gifts from my host family. 🙂 afterwards we went to grandma and the rest of the family for a christmas dinner. To give me a little more christmas feeling, instead of a snowball fight, we had a water balloon fight. This was really fun. I still didn't have a christmas feeling, but this christmas was a good new experience that I don't want to miss.