Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quinn - Spring 2009 - New Zealand

Kia Ora from Aotearoa! (Welcome/Hello from New Zealand!),

After a week without internet, I am relieved that I can finally update all of you with what has been happening in my life during my first days down under (Kiwis do in fact say “down under” even though it seems Australians use it more).

First off, New Zealand is gorgeous and warm! Coming from freezing cold and snow, it was such a change to leave the Auckland airport and have it feel like summer! I am in New Zealand through the AustraLearn program and throughout the next couple of days, we spent our orientation in Rotorua – about a 3 hours drive from Auckland. Rotorua is known for it’s geo-thermal activity and if you have ever been to Yellowstone National Park out west, it smells just like it – rotten eggs! We spent the weekend learning about life in New Zealand as an international student, we went zorbing (rolling down a hill in a huge rubber ball!), caving in Waitomo, and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery.

Following that, I arrived in Wellington almost 2 weeks ago. Wellington is right on the harbour of the ocean, and I have the perfect view of the water and the entire city from my bedroom window. I have highly enjoyed living in the city…it is artsy, fun, and overall, a fun environment to live in. There are thousands of things to do to keep you busy. I’ve visited Te Papa, the famous museum. I’ve climbed Mt. Victoria (Wellington’s own mountain) and I’ve visited some Lord of the Rings filming locations! I can’t say that I have had a bad day in Welly!

Classes started this week and unlike Elmhurst, I will attend 3 50-minute lectures and a 50 minute tutorial for each class. Also, classes are called “papers” in New Zealand. I am currently taking three Maori studies papers and a Contemporary Fiction paper. I’m enjoying them so far, and it is interesting to hear my professors speak in a different accent. The problem with Kiwis is that they talk really fast, so I have to pay extra attention to what they are saying or else I get lost in their accent.

Food in New Zealand is different yet great at the same time! Dessert is definitely what I look forward to the most. I’ve had everything from Rocky Road slices to Christmas Mince pies! Yum! I do miss U.S. ice cream though…the ice cream here is runny and doesn’t have the best taste. I guess it’s all part of the experience of living abroad!

I’ll keep you updated as my classes continue but for now, stay warm in snowy and cold Illinois!


Anonymous Laura Romero said...

Quinn, that is amazing that you are that far south from us. It seems to be that you are having a great time. And I must assume that it is quite difficult to understand people in New Zealand since their vocabulary is very distinct from ours. I had that experienced when I went to Spain during J-Term. From your descriptions, New Zealand is beautiful and filled with many natural lanscapes, there are mountains, the ocean view, and what better than the warm weather. And the picture of you climbing, was that when you were climing the mountain? It looks very exciting! Also I bet it was hard to get adjusted to the time change. Seeing your pictures and reading your blog just gets me excited about studying abroad! I hope that you have an amazing experince during your study at New Zealand.

Take Care,
Laura Romero

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Courtney Lawyer said...

Hey Quinn
I have been reading your blog. I am a freshman at Elmhurst College and i am going to New Zealand this summer Through AustraLearn and i can not wait. It sounds like your having an amazing time over there. If you have any tips for me i would love to hear them!!!

Courtney Lawyer

11:16 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Hey Quinn,
I'm going to be studying abroad for Fall Term 2009 in Australia also through the AustraLearn program but plan to travel to New Zealand during my 2 week long spring break in September. Where would you suggest to be the best cities to travel to if I could only see one or two in my time there?

Have fun!

Kim Pitingolo

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Brett Stockmeier said...

Hey Quinn,
New Zealand sounds fun. It must be cool to explore all the beautiful scenery and eat all that new food. I'll be studying abroad myself in the fall. Do you have any advice?

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Alexina Valdez said...

So Quinn, just curious, but how have you been handling the culture shock? Has anything really stood out for you, besides the language--any surprises at all??

12:18 AM  
Blogger cynthia said...

Qinny! I found you! How is the food? Your pictures and descriptions are beautiful. Question, did you get a scholarship to go?

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Quinn said...

Courtney - I am so excited for you! New Zealand is an amazing place and you are sure to love it. July is their winter, so you won't be experiencing much sun - be sure to bring warm layers and a good pair of hiking shoes! You wouldn't think you'd need warmth in NZ, but I just got back from a 2 week vacation on the South Island and it was COLD! How long will you be in NZ for? Also - AustraLearn has been a great program...I have nothing bad to say about them!

Kim - 2 weeks gives you plenty of time to see a lot of sights in NZ!! I would skip Auckland - people in NZ hate it. HA! Head straight to Wellington, and then work your way down south to Queenstown and spend a good majority of your time there! It's the adventure capital of the world. Also - Dunedin, Christchurch, and Abel Tasman are other places as well!

Brett - Studying abroad is quite the experience - my perspective before I left was completely different then it is now. You are completely independent and being homesick is hard - but if you're willing to put yourself out there and enjoy, then you will be just fine. Good luck with your studies!

Alexina - Culture Shock was not a problem for me at all. I adjusted immediately to New Zealand - so all the blabber about the 4 stages, didn't hit me at all, so don't worry too much about it. But, if you are going to a country that speaks a different language, i'm sure culture shock will be much more present. The only thing I've really dealt with is homesickness - but I'm pushing through!

Cynthia- Hey girl! All of my financial aid came with me to my school in NZ and then I applied and won 2 scholarships to help pay for my plane flights and school! Apply for scholarships - they are wonderful!

6:31 AM  

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