My name is Emmaline and I am a junior at Linfield. I am studying Anthropology, with a minor in Literature. I am spending the semester studying abroad at University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. Hamilton is about an hour and forty five minutes south of Auckland and is full of life! I have been in Hamilton for a little over a week now. I left my home in Oregon, full of anxiety and worry about my upcoming journey. I even considered changing my ticket last minute, after I realized that I would be arriving in New Zealand a day later than all of the new students. However, I ended up choosing to stick with my original ticket because I had too much to do before leaving to leave a whole day earlier. I flew from Portland to Vancouver, BC, and then to Auckland, a fifteen hour flight, where I lost a whole day! As soon as I landed in Auckland and got off the plane, the outfit I had left home in, a sweatshirt and warm clothes, had become severely impractical. It was already humid at 5:30 in the morning and much hotter than Oregon. I waited for hours in passport control lines, because due to the Coronavirus outbreak, people coming from anywhere but Australia had to meet with an agent face to face. Afterwards, I was able to catch my shuttle to the university.
When I arrived at the university, I was able to check into my housing and get changed into some more weather appropriate clothes. I went from below freezing to 84 degree weather! Immediately upon arriving, I had to confirm my enrollment at the university with my passport, student visa, and insurance paperwork. The insurance that I had brought from Linfield did not satisfy the New Zealand requirements, so I had to purchase new insurance through the university here. When you’re fresh off of a fifteen hour flight, a LONG way from home, in hot weather, and alone, this can feel really overwhelming. However, I am glad that I budgeted for unforeseen costs like this one, and I would suggest to any student studying abroad that they too prepare for these sorts of costs. The insurance was $310.00 NZ dollars, which is about $192.00 US dollars. I would absolutely recommend preparing for unplanned fees like this one.
On the day that I arrived, I also attended an outdoor games competition with my hall. We competed in a variety of games, from capture the flag, to water polo, to a slip n slide, to an egg and spoon race. In the end, my hall won the overall prize! The games were a lot of fun and a good way to get to know some of the faces in my hall.
The entire first week that I was here was O Week, or Orientation Week. There were informational sessions, tabling about campus resources, free lunches, giveaways, and every night there was a different party at local clubs. The university provided transportation and water and sandwiches to the students attending the clubs, because so many students go out! I went out with some people from my hall and had a ton of fun!
I also attended international student orientation, which was very helpful. At Linfield, I am a work-study student at the International Programs Office, so it was interesting to be on the receiving end of the information that I usually prepare for international students!
I also went to Hamilton Lake with my hall mates and walked around the lake and visited an ice cream shop that is supposedly the best in Hamilton! They had a huge assortment of dairy free ice cream, so I was really happy! I took the bus for the first time with them, and then a few days later, I took the bus by myself to the Town Centre to get some new clothes. I don’t have phone service yet, so I took photos of the bus routes that I needed to take and then my route to walk to the mall. I also bought a bus card so that I can get the student discount of $1.70 per ride. I made it to the mall, bought some new clothes, and then made it back to campus without any major issues! I felt really proud of myself for figuring out how to ride the bus from campus to the Town Centre!
I have been walking around campus to familiarize myself with the layout and where all of my classes are. There are beautiful lakes and plants all over campus! I have really enjoyed walking around to de-stress and enjoy the nice weather. My classes start this week, and I am really excited! My classes look really interesting and I am so thankful that I got into all of the courses that I wanted to take.
More to come soon about classes and adventures! Thank you for reading!