A year in New Zealand: End of first semester reflection

3rd November 2018, 11 pm, wind howling outside my cute little student accommodation in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Time flies when you’re having fun, or when you are on your year abroad they say. And they are right. Almost 4 months in, it still feels like I just landed, scarred and jet-lagged and full of uncertainty about how I will handle whole 12 months on the other side of the world. The past months had put that initial fear aside as I went about, meeting amazing new people, exploring New Zealand, and attending uni, of course. Now, I face new feelings of uncertainty as the semester draws to its end. There are still two exams ahead, but nevertheless I find myself thinking about the four months of summer vacation starting in a week’s time, 18 069 km away from home. The total freedom is exiting, but also frightening. I do have some really exciting trips planned and the fact I made such good friends to go on these trips with me makes me really happy. Then my family is coming for Christmas, and that will be amazing. But it is what comes after that I am scarred of. When my family leaves, I still have 6 months of living on the other side of the world, a whole semester of school to finish, and a lot of rent to pay and food to buy.

In my first semester at University of Auckland I got acquainted with my new home, went for a really awesome road trip to the geothermal zone of NZ, had some nice nights out that strengthened my new friendships, some really nice weekend day trips to the nearby islands and Hobbiton, a concert, and of course, I finished the first semester of lectures and studied for my four exams. I spent the two-week mid-semester break in August in Singapore visiting my flatmate from Edinburgh who is on exchange there. Between the Skype calls with my parents and grandparents, catch-ups with friends from back home, assignments, and adventures with my new friends here, there was little time for homesickness, but I won’t deny that there were no crises. Living in New Zealand feels like living in a bubble, you are so far away that it is hard to believe life back home is going on as usual. You think what is happening back there won’t affect you, that you escaped the drama, but the time difference and the distance makes it only more frustrating. You can’t talk to people when you want, and when you are both awake, it’s either morning or evening and someone is always in a hurry.  The reality of not being able to afford going home, at least for another 8 months, can be overwhelming, it is hard to know that even if something happens and you really want to go home, you really kind of can’t.

But all the troubles aside, I do think and know this opportunity is amazing, and I do love it here. I saw so many amazing things already, and I am really happy I decided to come here. I think it just might change my life. Actually, it already did!

Categories: Auckland, INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE, New Zealand

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