Journals from Semester Abroad-University of Waikato New Zealand
2013-08-01 Settling in
My first Rugby game - on the second day here Joe (the other Linfield student who is studying here) and I watched the Waikato Uni team play
So here I am in New Zealand. It’s been almost four weeks and I think I can finally say I feel at home here. I’ve never been out of the US for any extended amount of time, so initially just the idea of living across the world from home seemed like a big change. However, getting settled here reminded me a lot of when I first came to Linfield. I had to work to meet people and make friends. I had to figure out the little intricacies of registering for classes and finding my way around campus. It’s interesting because last semester at Linfield, I learned about culture shock in my Intercultural Communication class, and now I can see how my adjusting to life in NZ emulated what I learned to be the characteristics of culture shock. But I’d say I adjusted quickly.
The differences between life here and at home really aren’t that big, that’s why I say it was a lot like just going to college for the first time again. The biggest thing is that you don’t know anybody. However, you meet so many new people everyday and eventually make friends and its all good. But sure, there are little cultural differences that have been fun to recognize as well, like how they eat canned spaghetti on toast in the morning for breakfast and they put “as” on the end of phrases to emphasize it, like “sweet as” if they are trying to say something’s cool. And rugby is the only sport that people really care about here. Oh and not to mention that you drive on the other side of the road here and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, that I’m still getting used to.
Another thing that took a couple days to adjust to was hearing everybody speak with accents. I’ve never really been immersed in a culture where people speak differently than I do. It was just another reminder that this was real and I really am living in New Zealand.