A Whole New World
This post is far overdue; I can hardly believe I’ve already been in New Zealand for almost an entire month! It feels like it’s been so much longer than that because I have already done so many exciting things. After plenty of traveling, the first few days in New Zealand were spent at orientation with the entire IFSA-Butler program (including students at unis in Palmerston North, Wellington, and Christchurch). Orientation took place at the Shakespear lodge with breathtaking views and tons of activities to welcome us into a new country. We kayaked, mountain biked, relaxed in hot springs, and learned how to play rugby. The first few days were great. I even met someone from my home university who is in Wellington.
After our stay at the Shakespear lodge, we were able to learn about Maori culture by staying at a marae. We learned a little bit about the different ceremonies and history of the Maori people of New Zealand. The last day of orientation included trips to Mt. Eden to overlook the Auckland skyline, a wine tasting at Villa Maria, and finally moving into our new flats! The first week or two became us trying to get used to our new homes, including a few trips to nearby islands and film festival screenings. The past few weeks have been us trying to acclimate to a new academic arena.
We have just finished our second week of classes. It’s quite odd considering August had yet to begin. Despite the excitement of visiting glow worm caves, ziplining, and planning trips to Fiji and Australia, the reality of uni is setting in. The University of Auckland is extremely different from Wake Forest. Auckland has over 40,000 students; thus, lacking the small, relatively homogeneous campus of Wake Forest University. The class structure is different here. All of my four classes have a two hour lecture and a one hour tutorial once a week. This is slightly more in-class time per week than I am used to, but there are fewer weeks in the semester here. That being said, readings tend to be dense with class time being devoted to covering as much material as possible. It is definitely different, but I do not feel too stressed so far. However, I doubt I will be feeling the same in a few weeks with essays accounting for 30% of my final grade being due. Right now, I am just focusing on staying on top of my work while balancing the adventures in which I am partaking as well as planning for the future. It feels like freshman year all over again!