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Journals from New Zealand (University of Waikato)

2010-08-09 Kia Ora from Aotearoa!

Kia Ora from Aotearoa! (Hello from New Zealand!)

Its been about two weeks since weve arrived in New Zealand and so far, its been a blast! Logan and I are the two students from Linfield studying at Waikato, and we both flew out of the Honolulu Airport. It was a long flight to New Zealand, and we had a lot of time to prepare ourselves for what was to come. I was really nervous on the flight over; so many questions were going through my mind. What would the people be like? Would they like us? Would I make friends? What was the university like? Classes? Logan was full of excitement, and he didnt seem to worry much at all.

We arrived in Auckland on July 4th at 6:30 AM, and were supposed to catch a domestic flight to Hamilton at 9:30 that morning. Unfortunately, due to bad weather conditions, our flight to Hamilton was canceled! Turns out, Hamilton is a very foggy place, and it didnt help that its the middle of winter here! An airport shuttle drove us down to the Hamilton airport and a uni (what they call universities here) shuttle picked us up and drove us to campus.

We were dropped off at our respective dorms and one of the RAs showed us to our room. School wasnt starting for another week, and most of the kiwi students were still on holiday, so it was mostly international students on campus. The RA who led me to my room is named Huhu, and hes become one of my really good friends. The first day in the dorms, I blew out the circuit in my room when I tried to plug in my hair straightener, and he called the electrician to come and fix it for me! (Their electricians are called sparkys.)

We spent the first week at the univ going to orientation meetings for international students and getting to know the campus. We also met a lot of people from all over the world! Of course, we got our ID cards and registered for classes, but we actually had a lot of free time. A bunch of us caught the bus into town and wandered around for hours. Hamilton town is pretty mellow (during the day.)

At the end of the week, Logan, myself, and three friends we made decided to take a trip to Auckland. We caught the Nakedbus* to Auckland and stayed there for the weekend. (*No, you FORTUNATELY, do not need to be naked to ride the bus. In fact, they probably wouldnt allow it! J) While in Auckland, we visited the Skytower, Auckland Museum, and different parts of the city. Hostels are very cheap here and quite popular, so it was easy to find a place to stay for a reasonable price.

Classes started after we got back from Auckland. The univ is very large; consequently, the class sizes are large as well. Im taking four papers (their word for classes) and my smallest paper has 70 students and my largest paper has 400 students. Obviously, its hard for the professor to get to know everyone in the class, and it is equally as hard for students to get the appropriate assistance, so along with enrolling in the paper, we have to sign up for a tutorial. Tutorials are taught by grad. students and there are about 20 students in each tutorial. This allows us to get all our questions answered in a more intimate and student-friendly environment.

Thats pretty much our first two weeks in New Zealand! Until next time Cheers!

Kailee

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