Okay so, this is my second blog post since arriving in Auckland. It has been a while but as they say, beauty takes time! I’ve now been here around a month and a half. After starting off with a lot of exploring (since my last post I’ve visited Hobbiton, glow worm caves, a basketball game, a few more beaches and some more waterfalls), I did in fact eventually start going to university.
I am lucky enough to be living about a 5 minute walk from the main building of the university, which if you like sleep as much as I do, is a big plus. The campus is big and pretty, has its own kebab shop and sushi place, and a fair share of bean bags (great if you need a nap).
Of course, starting somewhere new is always going to be daunting, but it’s exciting as well. There are a small amount of things that I have found to be a little, to be frank, annoying. Being new to the country means that it is unlikely you would have been keeping up with the goings on before arriving. This means that often lecturers or tutorial leaders will talk about things that are known locally which you will not understand; be that just discussing an event, or a business. Furthermore, as a second year student on second year courses, those around me have shared the experience of first year together and have been taught about the same t hings. This is not something that has meant I cannot join in on conversations, but it throws me off guard and is like not being in on an inside joke. The university also uses a different referencing system, and we all know how annoying referencing is, let alone changing it up halfway through!
To try and get involved in the local culture, I am taking a module called Noho Marae – a paper consisting of all things Maori. I am learning some of the Maori language (Ko Jade taku ingoa), traditional dances and about the culture. This gives added meaning when visiting places in New Zealand, eg. I will be visiting Cape Reinga during Easter which is well known because it is the highest point and where two oceans meet; but to the Maori people it’s a pathway to where spirits begin their final journey.
There are a couple of major differences between Cardiff university and Auckland; here the lectures are only 1 hour long instead of 2 (God bless) and the tutorials are 2 hours instead of 1. At first I was sceptical but actually I quite like this way round. It means that we have more opportunity for things to be clarified and our questions answered. Also, I receive more assignments over here which is not ideal because I’d prefer more free time here to be travelling. However, weighing up travelling and working is completely doable. So far I am on top of my assignments and have plans to travel the whole South island in our two week spring break. Its great having things to look forward to, especially places totally new and amazing – I may be exploring but I’m still learning!