Welcome to New Zealand and O Week!

Kia ora!

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. 

White buildings of the Student Village in front of a blue sky
One of the blocks, or buildings, at Student Village, where I live!

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. 

Students wearing black t shirts standing in a group pretending to wave magic wands.
All of the students from my block with our RA!

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! 

A view of a building across the lake with a blue sky
A view of one of the beautiful lakes on campus

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! 

A view of Hamilton Lake, with a blue sky, a palm tree, and buildings in the distance
Hamilton Lake
Students pose in front of an old train
Posing with my hall mates in front of the old train at Hamilton Lake

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. 

A tree lined curving path
One of the beautiful paths on campus that I discovered while walking around

More to come soon about classes and adventures! Thank you for reading!

Emmaline