Thursday, March 19, 2009

Emily - Spring 2009 - New Zealand

Kia Ora! (That means hello,welcome, goodbye in Maori)New Zealand is a lot of the "Same Same but Different." I have only written two sentences but need to explain the first one already! Kia Ora is a greeting said by many of the Maori, and some Kiwi people in NZ. Maori (pronounced MOW-rri--mow as in mow a lawn)are the indigenous people of NZ. They are laid back, humorus, and friendly people. The Kiwis are not only fruit, but native birds to NZ and what the "originally European" people of NZ call themselves. Now, what I mean by same same but different is that they are so similar to us, but there are just a few changes here and there. They speak English but with an Australian/British twist, they drive cars, but are on the left side of the road; they have normal grocery stores, but have different brands-- they even have chicken flavored chips! I haven't tried them yet; and their culture is simply different. It's beautiful down here. Green grass and blue skies= something IL hasn't seen in a while! Beautiful hills and SHEEP ARE EVERYWHERE! They have 25-30 million sheep and only 4.2 million people! It's crazy! Anyway, we spent our first 4 days in a city called Rotorua. We went caving, wet zorbing (youtube it!), visited a Maori village, went to the Agrodome where we saw lots of sheep, and then some! We stayed in a hostel (which is, when you're traveling, the best way to stay somewhere) called Kiwi Paka. Then we split and went to our Uni's. I'm studying at University of Waikato in Hamilton on the North Island. It's a great city with a wonderful downtown area that has EVERYTHING you need. New Zealand is one of those places people rarely think about, so it's hard to know what to expect. But I must tell you: they ARE civilized! When you come here, it isn't like if you left something at home you couldn't find it here. Again, same same but different. Because I came with Australearn, there are about 15 other students studying at this school too. We are getting to that stage where we made our American friends in Rotorua on the program introduction and now we are working on making Kiwi friends. Today all the other students are moving into campus because (we think) we start school on Monday. OH fun fact! --You only get the fun fact if you've actually made it this far into my blog:) kudos, by the way-- The time and date for you in Elmhurst, as I am writing this is... Tuesday, Feb. 24th, 7:42pm. For me? It is: Wednesday Feb. 25th at 2:42 pm. Crazy, huh? Well, that's all for me. Until next time, Kia Ora! Emily LabrecqueNew Zealand, University of Waikato, Spring 2009


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Emily,

I have been reading your blog and it sounds like your having a great time. I am planning on going to New Zealand for a couple weeks this summer. I just have a couple questions. What are there eating habits like over there? Are they any different from the way they are in the US? also what was the biggest difference that you have noticed in their culture.

I hope that you keep enjoying your time there. Hope to hear from you soon.

Courtney Lawyer
Elmhurst College

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Emily Labrecque said...

Hey Courtney,

A couple weeks will not be enough time!! But I'm excited for you. What are you planning on doing down here?

In regards to your questions: Eating habits are very similar. They have some different food (lamb, meat pies, different kinds of potatoes and veggies) but otherwise they eat just like we do. Culturally though, you NEVER sit on a table! :) Just a heads up! If that doesn't answer your question, keep asking! :] Sorry it's kind of vague. Biggest cultural difference... it's so hard because they are so similar, but I would have to say their mullets! Just kidding. They do have them here, but I would definitely say the welcoming, warm, relaxed lifestyle. Here, people work to live, whereas in the US they live to work. People say "no worries" here all the time, and they mean it. I'll try to think of something that would be culture-shock-like and get back to you :)

12:15 AM  
Blogger Abby Gammage said...


I have been reading your blog and it looks like you are having a great time! I never thought about going to New Zealand but after reading about your experiences...I hope to make in there sometime in the near future! How are your classes??Easier or harder?

I hope you continue to enjoy your studies there and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Abigail Gammage
Elmhurst College

8:40 AM  
Blogger melissa said...

Sounds like New Zealand is wonderful. That is one place I have not been that is still on my list of places to go, and now reading your blog I am just more intrigued. I have a few questions for you if you dont mind. First, do you like the food that you are having there. Second, can you give me any clues on how to pick the right classes when I study abroad. I am a business major, but want to broaden my horizans a lot when I go. How many classes are you taking? Well thanks if you get time to answer. Enjoy the rest of time you have.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was so glad to hear from you. Thanks for answering my questions. I can not wait to be there!!!! It sounds like a great place. Im al about being relaxed and workin to live haha. Definitly let me know of anymore fun tips. I will be sure not to sit on any tables haha. . i assume you made that mistake. Sounds like mullets are the style. . how funny!!
Keep enjoying yourself and i will keep up on your blog

have fun!!

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Em!!!! I miss you!!! Come home!!! Not really. Stay there. I'm sure it's fabulous. I just came back home from Mexico for a service project over Spring Break and it was wonderful! You would have loved it. I will have to share more with you later. Or check out my Shutterfly if you have the time. I hope you are absolutely loving New Zealand! Perhaps it will be warm in Chicago by the time you come home...hmm. Anywho, I am going to Spain for Fall Term...I think I told you that, but I'm actually accepted to the program and am I shall be in Madrid no later than August 30th! My question for you is, how did you go about your course selection process for your trip? Did you take anything for Religious Studies and did it transfer? (I need something for my Religion & Service minor.) Gracias senorita! I hope you are well! :-)

~ Jenn Kosciw

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Ashley Mothershead said...

Emily!! I miss my next door neighbors... But I am so excited for the amazing experiences you must be having in New Zealand... Sounds pretty interesting actually, how does it feel to be in a new culture? Was it hard to adjust to?
I am getting ready to go to France next year! Will you be back at Elmhurst this fall?
Hope you are having the time of your life!! Take care, oh and Angelica misses you too :)

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily! I shall continue to bombard your blog with my questions because I miss you so. How are the sheep? Was that some weird culture shock experience? Do you really see a lot of sheep? I want pictures! Lol. Having been there for a while now, what's something you've picked up on in the culture that seems totally normal to you now that you didn't do back at home? I hope classes are going well! I need to catch you the next time you Skype with Ally! Hasta luego chica!

~ Jenn

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Emily Labrecque said...

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been so delayed! I just got back from my two week break where me and three other girls from the US traveled the South Island. It was incredible!!

anyway, to answer questions..
Abby: I would say my classes are definitely harder. I mean, the classes themselves are similar to home, but the work is different, and when things are different they tend to be harder. There is definitely more reading and writing required, but that could just be because of my course of study. It always depends on the school and program you go with too!

Melissa: I do like some of the food. The campus food, like most campus' isn't the best, but the food of the country is good. They're big on potatoe wedges and french fries (what they call Hot Chips) and their meat pies. I like it! In terms of classes it depends on what you need. I took 3 classes i need, as I intend on graduating next spring. (With my program, I'm only allowed 3 upper level classes.)However, if you have some room in your schedule, DEFINITELY take classes that will broaden your horizons and help you learn more about the culture in which you are living. Hope that helps!

Jenn- YES TONS OF SHEEP!!!!! I miss you too! i was just thinking about the NC the other day! I hope you're well! Read my above post about course selection. I have one REL class that will count for my World Religions and then one for history and one for ICS. Alice and Dr. Lagerway work with you to make sure your classes transfer, so you usually don't have to worry about that. But definitely choose stuff you're interested in so you can go out and have fun and not worry too much about homework! :) But you will most likely be able to find classes to fit wherever you go! And in terms of whats normal now... probably walking to class without shoes. haha! THe no shirt, no shoes, no service rule doesn't apply here at ALL! So it's totally normal to see kids skateboarding to class without shoes on!

Ashely: HEY! I miss my neighbors too!! I will be at EC in the fall. Are you going to France in the spring!? THe culture here wasn't too hard to adjust to because its relatively similar to the US. Because it was settled by Britain, it is similar, but more relaxed than their culture. It is definitely different in some aspects, but still very similar. The biggest difference is probably taking into account the Maori (native peoples) culture. They have some cultural norms that are expected of everyone, natives, kiwis, and internationals, but you live and learn!

Hope that answers everyones questions. I will try to be more prompt next time! Keep asking!


7:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home