It’s been a bit more than two weeks since we’ve arrived to our new Uni, University of Waikato in Hamilton, NZ. And so far, it has been awesome! John, Megan, Amy, and I are the four students from Linfield studying in New Zealand this semester and we are all at the same university. Amy and I flew out of the Honolulu Airport together and Megan arrived here, after flying to Canada, on the same day, July 1st. John arrived a few days later but quickly sprang into adventure-mode. We, girls, took him straight to the Hamilton Zoo just a couple hours after he got to campus.
When we got here, it was still mid-year break so we were pretty much the only students, besides other international students in our dormitories. It was quiet and with a week ‘til classes started, we were getting quite anxious. We were nervous and we had so many questions but no one to provide the answers. What were classes going to be like? What do we wear to class? Are there any cultural customs we should be aware of? What are the norms of New Zealand? Where do we go if we need to buy something? Are the people here nice and welcoming? It was very exciting to wake up every morning, knowing we were now in New Zealand, but at the same time we had this anxiety that seemed to hover over our heads for the first week or so.
We did a lot in our first week in Hamilton. We figured out the bus system—which is convenient and inexpensive, if you use your time wisely. We went to the Hamilton Zoo, the Waikato Museum, and even toured a shopping center called The Base. We also had orientation meetings on campus. After our introduction-week to Hamilton, we decided to take our first adventure.
We caught the Nakedbus to Rotorua and stayed at a Nakedsleep. And no, we were not naked! The company refers to themselves as ‘naked’ because they ‘strip’ the unnecessary fees of traveling. Knowing that Rotorua is the home of luging and zorbing, we knew that we were going to have an exciting weekend. But due to our time limit in Rotorua, we only got to go luging. We did, however, go white-water rafting and we walked around the government gardens, as well as the lake.
Since Rotorua, we have been in school. We’ve been to all of our papers/classes at least once and it seems that we’ll learn a lot about the Maori culture through our choice of papers. The classes are lecture based and most classes also meet once a week for a tutorial session. The tutorials are much smaller so that students get the assistance they need in a more intimate environment. The tutorials are often taught by grad students but I have tutorials that are guided by the lecturer as well.
We’ve made it through half a month in New Zealand! Cheers!