What experiences are there only in New Zealand

A year full of adventures and experiences - a year abroad in New Zealand

  • WORLD CITIZENS donors:worldly
  • Program: Student exchange
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Duration: 10 months
  • Surname: Quay

How it all started

On some day in October I had an appointment with one of my best friends and no longer think about the information day about stays abroad until my cell phone rings and I pick up the phone. "Didn't you want to go to the information day ???" asks my mother. - "Mhh- Nö".

The next day I heard from my classmates how “thrilling” the stories of the Returnees were. And immediately afterwards I got the information brochures for the various exchange organizations from at least a dozen other classmates. The first impression of the different countries was the many, many pictures of the landscape and smiling exchange students. At that time I knew nothing more about the exchange than that one would go abroad for a longer period of time; to go to school there and live with a host family. Step by step, I got an idea of ​​the project.

It would happen in July 2012 ... that was clear, but what had to be done? First of all, my parents had to find out about my idea. You were and are open to my plan to go abroad. The way was clear and from day to day I just read through all the brochures. After a while, I excluded a few countries, leaving the English-speaking countries of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In the end I decided on New Zealand, where most schools offered just the right thing and I left the rest to my own liking. A lot of people will ask me why I made this decision later, but it was just a feeling. Only a few days later, when I had looked at the brochures and especially the photos in them, I gradually began to collect information and images about New Zealand. Initially only facts such as the number of inhabitants, land area and the most important cities, but later it became thick illustrated books and films. At that point I only had a vague idea of ​​what was in store for me and whether anything would happen at all. Because all in all, the brochures don't say much more than the price, a few rules and advertising guidelines. The book “Handbuch Fernweh” by Thomas Terbeck was one of the key points in the decision-making phase for me to find out whether it is the right one, because it describes in detail the course of a program and what is much more important, its background, such as the time after the year, the current school, what to expect and the finances.

“A stay like this costs a lot of money!”

Together with my parents, I looked for financial support for a stay abroad and we came across the scholarships that are advertised by the organizations themselves and other sources that of course do not cover the full price of the stay, but support them .

Another good book that I can only recommend is "A school year in New Zealand: visiting students at a New Zealand high school“By Alexandra Albert.

During my research on the Internet looking for anything to do with New Zealand, I of course came across the unbelievable number of exchange organizations. With the help of the book “Handbuch Fernweh” (it has several tables with the most necessary information about the programs of the organizations for the respective countries) we filtered out all organizations that had a scholarship to offer and wrote my first application. It was a tedious job and my father and I spent many hours at the computer writing this, but after a long period of work, a compelling application was ready. Now I applied to various organizations by email and immediately got answers and the first appointment for an interview. This should take place directly at my home. I was a little excited ...

All in all it went well and after answering a few questions in English it went on in German. It should be noted that an organization wants you because it ultimately makes money off of you, so you don't have to worry too much about the outcome.

I had a total of four interviews, got accepted each time (I've never heard from someone who was not accepted) and always felt more secure. All in all, I learned a lot from this preparatory phase alone. I have now decided on an exchange organization and immediately sent off an application for a 3-month full scholarship. After Christmas I received the acceptance for the final interview among the last three participants!

On the day of the interview, I was quite excited and drove to Bonn with my parents. After a group presentation or work, everyone was called for an interview.
The following days I waited for the result and received a letter in which I was told that it had been a difficult decision to choose the right participant, but they did not decide for me. Pity!

Tuesday, 07/10/12 after D time

After I started packing my suitcases it got kind of tight and the time was just passing by, suddenly there were only two days left until my departure. On the one hand I wished I had more time to prepare for the trip, on the other hand I didn't want to. On the previous weekend I celebrated my farewell with my classmates and at the same time our final year of the 9th grade. You didn't really know what to feel, but I think the farewell was more difficult for some people than mine, because I knew what this trip meant for me and how long I had prepared it together with many friends and acquaintances; for which I want to thank you again.

After checking suitcases and other luggage for the last time and writing down emergency numbers, it started. The sun, the journey was calm and I finally realized that I was going to New Zealand for several months. At the parking lot in the airport my father: "Let's go." In the hall we met the other exchange students, got a StepIn T-shirt, and checked in; 27.1 kg + hand luggage weighing 6.7 kg. On the visitor platform we watched other planes departing. The farewell was approaching; then the group photo and the farewell; it was actually a pretty short one for such a long time, but I think it was best that way, then you went through the first passport check and you had such a feeling of suddenly being alone. In the waiting hall we exchanged ideas: How long are you staying ?, Where are you going ?, Gas family ?; you got to know each other. Finally on the plane in 42B next to a Chinese who studied in Germany and also spoke English. I talked to him about my exchange; then at half past eleven the flight started. The plane started the machines, an ear-deafening sound, turned towards the runway, accelerated, and took off. I had this strange feeling in my stomach, like floating and I was on my way to Dubai. I was happy because after almost nine months of preparation the time had finally come. Before that it was only about preparing for the stay, one always thought in steps which tasks still had to be done and did them, one got advice and congratulations; but now the time had come and my long journey to New Zealand had begun.

Wednesday, 07/11/12 after D time

Packaged water was served in 100 ml cans on the tray. Everything was a bit tight and the food wasn't that screaming, but otherwise it was okay. When we arrived in Dubai we went through the security check again. You were very focused on the flight and didn't think much about the time ahead.

Thursday 07/12/12 after D time

With so many “time leaps” this is only a “fictitious date”. Again through a number of security checks and controls, the next flight went to Brisbane. Slowly I got tired and slept on the plane, because the longest flight of about 16 hours was imminent. With a few films and constant nodding in between, shoving some stuff in, the flight passed. When we arrived in Brisbane, the next security check came and we met the Australians who looked much more relaxed; they had a chat before a bomb check and talked to the travelers. Then at around 8:45 am local time, the next plane to Auckland took off. This flight lasted only three hours and when you arrived at the airport you were greeted by a "Welcome" poster and went straight to passport control with the previously filled out cards. Then we did a security check and we were there; in Auckland. Greeted by Chris and Michelle, we picked up our bags and off we went to Epson Girls School with old shuttle buses. (I should find out later that New Zealanders don't think much of new cars anyway)

The first encounter with left-hand traffic was hilarious. In Auckland it was currently around 14 degrees in winter and the sun was squinting through the cloudy sky. On the way to the boarding school, where we had our two-day preparatory seminar, one saw the plants that seem so strange to a European, such as ferns and palm trees. Sometimes I still feel like I'm on vacation with palm trees and other tropical plants. As soon as we got into our rooms we noticed that the New Zealanders do not have proper heating; Also the windows were just glazed and the light switches were totally strange as well as the doorknobs…. After arriving we went to the mall and what we noticed immediately, apart from the left-hand traffic, were the traffic lights, which make a totally spacey (blind) noise when these traffic lights turn green. At around 6 o'clock in the evening everyone was tired and exhausted, but in order to survive the jetlag we "had" to stay awake until at least eight o'clock.

Friday July 13th, 2012 according to NZ time

The next morning at 8 o'clock there was breakfast: Toast with Vegemite (I haven't tried it until today - it just smells% $% & $ !!), jam, honey and hazelnut puree and muesli.

Then there was a short tour of the city followed by a pizza meal in a restaurant that belongs to a very spirited Italian. I noticed there that there is crane water there without paying for it; that is rather unusual in Germany. At the school (our two-day home) there was a small workshop with the "change game" and rules of stay. The next day I got up early for the flights to the different regions of New Zealand for me I went to Nelson. I was really excited about my host family. I flew with others and was able to shorten my time. When we arrived at the airport, we got a picture of Sunny Nelson who was just rainy ... In the reception hall I met the elderly couple who were to be my family for at least half a year. Short greeting and drive to my new home. I had my own floor with a bathroom to myself Cool! After I found my way to school and made my way through the left-hand traffic, we, the International Students (approx. 40), were greeted with Maori chants on Monday and divided into groups.

Maori culture is respected and very common in New Zealand.
We were then shown the school in these groups, which is much larger in area than mine in Germany, because it is divided into several blocks and each subject or its teacher has its own room. You are warmly welcomed by an international office that is only there for exchange students. You can always go there if you need help choosing a new subject or want to take part in extracurricular work groups. The teachers in the International Department always look forward to when a student enters the office. The rules of dress code (I don't have to wear school clothes) and school are discussed in small groups and the subjects are chosen. That was quite complicated because there are an unbelievable number of different subjects, which are again divided into three levels for the years 11, 12, 13, but now I have chosen 6 subjects, namely the two compulsory subjects English and mathematics and fun subjects such as Outdoor Education, Photography, PE and New Zealand Studies.

Today, on Wednesday, I had “really” school for the first time. In most subjects we have really cool teachers who are simply different from "ours". Especially the math teacher, who brings a butterfly doll into class to wait for when the butterfly hatches in order to film it with the webcam, teaches us international students the KIWI slang and speaks incredibly quickly (but understandably) that he goes through this sentence explains: ´Me (+ sugar) = talking fast. 'Well ...

The lessons are based on independent repetition at home, but little or no homework and the oral participation does not flowdirectly into the note. The lessons are also different here, because there is usually a couch that you can sit on and if you don't work and disturb after the lesson you are left alone, so that you have to "take care of yourself ..."
After a good two weeks in New Zealand, the first wave of “being new” is over - you are planning to join sports and leisure clubs or try to join the school clubs. After a few days you are so familiar with the school grounds that you no longer have to rely on outside help and can find the rooms on your own.

A big problem, what is becoming more and more obvious is thatNot Speaking your "own" language, because unfortunately I have chosen a school where there are quite a few Germans. This may be an advantage in the first few hours, but you don't really get there if you find yourself constantly in the German group and don't meet or get to know new people. So in the beginning, in the first few weeks, you still have so much to tell about the current situation, but that subsides and you have to fit into the life of the kiwifruit.

I am mostly in International Cours, because the subject matter has been adapted to that of the Internationals - it's actually a shame that way I almost never get to know Kiwis directly ...
A normal school day begins with the form class in which the daily events and important dates are read. This class is a group that is always the same because the school is based on a course system. Every Wednesday, however, the International Assembly takes place instead of the Formclass. Most days of the week I have five subjects and a half-hour break every other hour. My favorite subject is clearly OED, because there you constantly leave the school grounds to go mountain biking or do other outdoor activities. If there is not enough time, we do fun group games and challenges. The highlight of every OED course are the camps. Up to four camps take place every six months (two terms). Before the camp begins, it must of course be prepared and you start with the meal plan. It took my cooking group two hours to find the right food in the supermarket, because it is not that easy to find the right taste for everyone.

During the camp you can see breathtaking nature, get to know your classmates better and have new experiences. My greatest experience was sleeping outside and seeing the incredible night sky (at -1 ° C). My next camp is a summer camp in Golden Bay or Abel Tasman.

Fresh snow and breathtaking views, at 5 a.m. and on the way on our day tour to the old ski field to learn snow skills ...
In the second lesson I have International English. Depending on your knowledge of English, you were assigned to the different levels (Int. 1, Int. 2 and Kiwi class ...). In the international classes, the lessons are tailored exactly to the knowledge of the students. Many speeches are given to practice speaking freely. Another international subject is New Zealand Studies. It brings together New Zealand history, Maori culture and modern culture. Even if there is a lot of listening, I can recommend this subject to anyone who is interested in the country.
Later in the day I still have PE and math.

In PE we drove to the nearby Rainbow Ski Area. First time snowboarding !!!

Every Thursday there is a meeting for the whole school, divided into junior and senior students. There people gather in the auditorium and all kinds of things are shown to the students; from music to theater, speeches and award ceremonies. After school, when the weather is nice, we often go to the nearby beach.

My family has a small holiday home in Golden Bay and we go there once a month so there is the opportunity to go kayaking with my guest father or to explore the area. He is an OED teacher and that gives me the opportunity to see them in a different light, such as climbing mountain biking and kayaking ...
There is so much to tell that I can't stop writing. How will it be when I come back to Germany? To my second home, because I definitely already say that New Zealand has become a second home!

Everyone who is considering going abroad must of course be aware of this, but I can only recommend it to everyone. Because you not only get to know new people from all over the world and learn English or another language, you also become more self-confident and determined. You also learn to live your life.

New Zealand, a country as diverse as hardly any other; traversed by high snow-capped mountains of the southern Alps, the glacier tongues that stretch almost to the coast, rainforests, fjords, beautiful coastlines and sandy beaches and active volcanoes. There is so much to discover and see. I spent a whole year there, from mid-July 2012 to mid-July 2013. Now, almost three weeks after my flight back home, I'm sitting at my desk listening to a song that connects me very much with New Zealand. Every day I wake up thinking of the past year and I feel an emptiness that describes how much I have changed during this time. I will still need some time to be fully back in Germany - I still have one leg in New Zealand.

From start to finish

After the first three months I found my way around quite well and got used to it, but I felt that 5 months was just not enough - I hadn't yet achieved all of my goals. So I extended what I do not regret to a full year! Because only after half a year during the summer vacation did I feel that I had really integrated myself! Acquaintances were now really steadfast friends and I was able to go on a few trips across the country!

The most important part of the exchange, besides the host family, who welcomed and supported me very nicely, was the college. I went to Nayland College in Nelson. At school you get to know a lot of Kiwis and internationals. At first it is more the internationals with whom you are friends, but when many fly again after a short time you turn to the New Zealanders. I've made incredibly good friends who make up this exchange. We were a group of 15 people and did a lot together, which I really miss here in Germany. We often went to Countdown, the New Zealand supermarket, after school, bought lunch and went to the nearby park, beach or someone's home. It was a loved routine to just be in the group.

I organized a week in the capital Wellington with my best two friends Sven and Adam. After a “short-term host family” was found in Wellington, things started two weeks later - I was on my way back from Rotorua with my host parents anyway, so I no longer had to fly to Wellington. We met in the city center and first went to the visitor center in Civic Square. There we stocked up with brochures, maps and flyers in order to be able to plan the following week that evening. Because although Wellington is not a city with a long history, it is still the capital of New Zealand and has a lot to offer. The famous Weta Cave was particularly interesting, but also the view from Mt Victoria, which we climbed shortly before sunset and were able to see all of Wellington in the wonderful light. Since Adam has already been to Wellington several times, he was able to guide Sven and me a bit and also show us places that were worth seeing. We were out all day and saw a lot of other things besides the Te Papa State Museum and the Parliament building. We went to a comedy, where we were the only Germans and so stood out. After asking us and a few others about their origins, he cleverly integrated us into his program. All in all, this week was the best of the year!

The last three months have been the best of my life as the relationship between me and my group of friends has grown stronger over time. At the end of the year I realized that I didn't have much time left - I made twice as much and tried to use every hour. But at some point the time had come: the school ball was the first farewell party. The ball, or "prom," is very prestigious and everyone dressed up and dressed in the best of clothes. It was good that not only the senior year but also the 12th year were allowed to attend the ball; so all my friends could go to the ball (my friends and I were only year 12 and not year 13). Last weekend we organized a farewell dinner - I still hadn't fully understood that I had to go home and that I only had a few days left. It only happened on the plane. Many friends had taken time off to be able to say goodbye. There were many tears and I felt an emptiness. I had achieved so much, I had built my own new world - and now!?! I had to go back! I couldn't understand it because I was catapulted back into the old world. Everything happened very quickly and my friend Sven and I were on the plane. Through the windows we could see everyone who had said goodbye, they were all there on the viewing platform of the small airport in Nelson. A year had passed that I had now been torn out of. Without Sven, who felt exactly the same, the flight would have been very difficult! I was very grateful that we could just talk about the past year during the long flight!

Outdoor experiences and travel

My host family is great! After I changed my host family in the first five weeks, I was welcomed even more nicely by my new one. They support me a lot in my stay, gave me advice and limits, for which I am grateful! Through them I was able to see more of New Zealand than almost anyone else. Many glimpses of the North and South Island are thanks to them. Since Andy, my host father is an outdoor education teacher, he also had the necessary equipment to master many different adventures…. I'm overflowing with the many things we did together, for which I am so grateful because I love being outside! I still miss the long journeys through the North and South Islands, where you drive through so much uncharted territory and listen to the stories of your host parents and their children.

The famous New Zealand school subject outdoor education was exactly what I needed to get out into the pristine nature of New Zealand. I was very impressed to have been to so many “camps”. Because normally you only take a half-year course - in which you go to two 3-day camps, but I just took part in every camp in which one or two places were still available in order to get the best out of ... even asked me if I would like to go to another camp. So it was 11 instead of 4 camps at the end of the year! I took so many new impressions of high snow-capped mountains and golden sandy beaches with me that the world here in Germany just seems boring to me.

On the way to Rotorua I passed one of the oldest national parks in the world, the Tongariro. The Desert Road leads directly past the park. Three active volcanoes are developed from the park.

The best way to show the landscape is through pictures. It was an important life experience to hike in the mountains of New Zealand for several days, which I unfortunately cannot do here in Germany in the immediate vicinity. This is one of Nelson’s perks. On the one hand there is the beautiful and clear city of Nelson. With around 60,000 inhabitants, the beach and the sea and the three adjoining national parks "Abel Tasman / Golden Bay", "Nelson Lakes NP" and "Kahurangi NP", life is good.

The Abel Tasman National Park is great for kayaking. Stopover on Adele Island.

Nelson is also the Capital of MTB, one of the many outdoor sports that can be done in Nelson and the surrounding area. Sometimes I went on a mountain bike trip for several hours with friends from my outdoor education class after school to combine nature and sport. Nelson was and is the ideal city for me. Not only to list the highlights of Nelson: There are many drinking parties in Nelson, especially on the weekends, where many just let themselves be flooded. The crime rate is also high in some neighborhoods.

New Zealanders think differently

Although New Zealand appears very European at first glance, there are many little things that characterize a New Zealander and differentiate it from Europeans. The biggest difference for me is New Zealand's young history. There are few buildings that are a hundred years old, as we know whole districts from European cities. Most New Zealanders can trace their family tree all the way back to the colonial days. In addition, New Zealand is very multicultural, which is not only due to the Maoris, the indigenous people of New Zealand, but also to the high rate of immigration. New Zealand is also very isolated in the Pacific, so that at least in earlier times many goods could not be reordered so quickly. This is how a culture of recycling has developed. Most kiwis try to fix things first and not replace them with something new right away.

What I noticed immediately about the way they deal with other people is that they are much more friendly with one another. They say a lot of “Sorry” and “Thank you” or when you meet someone “how are you” and so on. That seems very superficial in most cases, but it is still a sign of how each other is treated and when you get to know the New Zealanders better, it is no longer so “superficial”.

Why go to New Zealand for a year?

The goals and ideas that I set myself at the beginning could not be met within six months. So I decided, together with my parents, to extend the option of keeping it open to a whole year from the outset. At the beginning there is always the question: How long? I can only recommend spending a whole year abroad to experience as much as possible and to make the most of the idea. Especially from a social point of view, you get a lot more out of staying a full year; In this way friendships are made for a lifetime and people get to know you much better and this is how trust and closeness arise. In addition, everyone needs some time to fully adapt to the new situation and to arrive in the respective country. Something shouldn't be forgotten! You need time to say goodbye!

Live your dreams!

This sentence has been with me basically the whole time in New Zealand. Being outside and experiencing were the things that shaped my time in NZ a lot. But now I also miss school and the everyday things! It was a time when there were ups and downs and I didn't just grow inside. I have expanded my knowledge of the country and language and have become more open. It seems as if someone had turned the clock, as if the time had stopped at home but let go in NZ. Something differentiates me, good or bad, from the others.

I hope I was able to give you a little impression and I will give you the advice again when you are faced with the decision: do a year abroad!
Thanks to the support of so many, especially my parents, who made it possible for me to live this experience.

Thank you for taking the time to read my report.

Kai Denker 09/19/2013