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Kia Ora, Hello from Auckland, New Zealand

Time July 21st, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Kia Ora! Hello to you all!
My name is Purushottam. Wait what? Fine, you can call me Puru. I am studying abroad in Auckland, New Zealand and my home university is Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. But I am originally from Nepal. You got it. I am (studying abroad)^2. I am an Engineering major and so forgive me for my use of maths here. Now you can stare at anyone who tells you everyone can study abroad except for Engineering majors.
There must be a reason why IFSA-Butler Orientation in New Zealand is rated one of the highest among all its programs. There is. The amazing food and accommodation that YMCA staff provide in Whangaparoa (read as fangaparoa) in addition to exposure to lots of adventure such as mountain biking, rock climbing, rugby, cricket, archery, hiking, bath in hot water spring and treasure hunt among others. Believe me, I did all of this except for archery. The best part of Orientation however was the visit to a Marae (sacred house for Maoris). Maoris are the original inhabitants of New Zealand and therefore seen as indigenous population.
Not only were we welcomed to a marae but three of us had a chance to introduce ourselves in their language before them. I was one of them. We used natural elements such as mountain and river and our ethnicity, race to introduce the land we had come from. We got to participate in a Kapa Haka performance (a traditional dance). You must have seen All Blacks (New Zealand’s rugby team) perform it before their rugby game. (Watch it on youtube if you have never seen it.) We were also served a traditional meal and ate together with Maoris.
Most Kiwis do not get to have this kind of experience with Maoris which is why we felt really privileged. In addition, we spent our night in their sacred ancestral house. This kind of openness heightened my respect for Maoris. After landing in New Zealand, it was them who welcomed us first, (not our university) because they are the original inhabitants of this land. It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? At night, we were briefed about their history by a very wise woman who impressed me a lot. She had experiences of both worlds and had lived in the US and other developed countries but was among the few to speak Maori language fluently.

We also went to see Auckland’s museum. My favorite part was watching volcanic eruption in a room where the whole room shaked and caught us by surprise. It was a wonderful first week without any rain to spoil our experience. Thanks to New Zealand’s IFSA Butler Orientation Team for making our week so wonderful!

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