New Zealand Update

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Why Kia Ora everybody! Welcome back to another post. I know that I have left you all in the dust for over a month, but now I am back! The last time I wrote was on February 22nd and now it’s April 2nd…and at the time I am writing this, it’s mid-terms week so it will be hectic. The majority of this post is looking back at things that happened in March. It’s crazy because I remember many of these things like they happened yesterday, I’d even say today.

The reason for my absence was that as soon as school started, it STARTED. Work just piled up and I already had quizzes and tests the second week. It was crazy. I have noticed a few differences between the US and New Zealand education systems, as well as a few little “cultural” things academically. Overall I would say universities in both countries are fairly similar however, New Zealand seems to be more “formal” and have more emphasis on tests/exams. Also, at the time I last wrote, I don’t think I even met all of my flatmates but since then I have gotten to know them and they are all such kind and supportive people.

Besides going to classes (very cool), I have done a few cool things around Auckland. The day before classes started, our student accommodations held a field trip to Mangawhau (Mount Eden) and it’s crazy how there’s a dormant volcano in the middle of a city. The following week, I went on a ferry to Waiheke Island with our study abroad program and it was absolutely beautiful. It was very hilly and the landscapes were out of this world. We all ziplined on Waiheke which was so fun! I had never ziplined before and was a bit nervous but I promise it isn’t bad AT ALL and I actually wish the ziplining trip was longer. Then, we did some wine tasting – spoiler alert: seems like I’m not a huge fan of wine. Two weeks after that, we went to the Pasifika Festival where people from many Pacific backgrounds come to share and celebrate Pacific culture. It was so interesting to see and try Pacific cuisine and learn about the different cultures which remind me a lot of Khmer culture too. That same day, a few friends and I checked out the Auckland Zoo! In between these “major” trips, there were lots of smaller day trips or weekend walks I went on to just explore the city.

There have been times when I pause and realize “I’m studying and living all alone in a foreign country right now.” I appreciate just existing and living in the city and getting to know Auckland more. Sure, cities all over the world are fairly similar but for me, it was a huge leap because I had never left my home city for university or anything. I have just enjoyed living in Auckland so far and taking in all the little things.

I have also made quite a few friends since being here which is very surprising (maybe it’s the chill Kiwi air) because I have terrible anxiety and back at home I rarely tried making new friends. Especially after the pandemic, I had to re-learn how to socialize with others, and studying abroad has helped tremendously; you are always introducing yourself to new people and getting to know people.

Either way, that’s a brief summary of the past month or so. A few ideas for the next post (maybe a few more practical things): cultural differences, getting used to living abroad, managing finances abroad, cooking/meals, and maybe managing time with school, schoolwork, traveling, making new friends, etc. At the time you may be reading this, it’s mid-semester break and I would have headed off to Wellington and Sydney! Thanks for reading and the next post should be out shortly!