After an exhaustingly long plane flight surrounded by the New Zealand National Performing Arts Team (I only mention this because they sang show tunes pretty much the whole way there), I and 19 other students from around the country met up and were herded to a hotel in Auckland by our program leaders. At this hotel, introductions were made and showers were taken. From then on, the only goal of the day was to keep us awake. The strategy used was making the group walk all over the city and around a hill full of bunkers. Unfortunately the hill hike quickly turned wet and cold, when the sky opened up and a small group of us (me included) got lost.
The following days were spent in three hours south of Auckland in Rotorua, which is known for its vibrant Māori culture and constant smell of rotten eggs. Thankfully the smell was warranted by the fact that the town is situated in a cauldron of an ancient volcano, thus providing many natural hot springs and thermal pools. We also experienced a farm show, which was not what anyone expected.
The orientation weekend abruptly ended with the group getting dropped off at a warehouse (think a walmart) with one hour to buy all necessary living items (bedding, cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc.), followed by a bus ride back to auckland, where we were all abandoned at our flats.
The following week involved lots of exploring the campus and coffee shops, as well as sorting out all the boring, but necessary things, like bank accounts, 18+ cards, sim cards, groceries, and student IDs. Overall, the settling in process was boring, but it has made me super excited for school to begin.