The First Week
I can’t believe I have been in New Zealand for over a week. It seems like ages ago when I was siting in LAX waiting for my flight. Luckily for me, lots of IFSA-Butler students arrived at the airport early making my 7 hour layover a little more enjoyable. I knew right then that it was going to be a great orientation. After an enjoyable 13 hour flight we landed in New Zealand. We quickly made our way through customs and loaded our stuff up on the bus. Before leaving we had some kai (food). This would be a common occurrence throughout the weekend. I felt like a hobbit with all the meals and could not be any happier about it.
I felt as though we were in Jurassic Park on the ride to Shakespear Regional Park due to all the fog. Emily and Amy served as tour guides for the hour and a half bus ride but there wasn’t much to see since the fog was so thick. Once we arrived we had a meeting and the fog lifted. It was quite a sight seeing the countryside for the first time. The lodge we stayed at is situated on farmland and not far from the ocean. In short, a terrific location. Over the next few days there were many outdoor activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, archery, wandering (hiking) and mountain biking.
We also got to go to a hot springs water park. It was a little cold since its the middle of winter but Icouldn’t help but go on the slides. Luckily since we were the only crazy people not sitting in the hot pools there was no line. I’m pretty sure the slide would be illegal in the U.S. since my legs went over the side of the pool when I landed but it was awesome! We went to stay at a Marae for a night in order to get a sense of Maori culture. Although it was not as authentic as I was expecting, it was still a cool experience.
After a stop at the Auckland Museum we were taken to our schools. Since I was the only one in the group who picked to study at Massey Albany, a cab came and took me and one of the staff members Greg to my flat. I’ve go ten all settled and love it here. I can walk to wherever I need to go and can take a bus to various parks. I look forward to starting classes this week and to the many adventures that are sure to unfold over the semester!