Kia Ora, Windy Wellington

Annie Josephick Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


July 9, 2019
Currently Studying at: Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Homeschool: Arcadia University 

It’s already been almost two weeks since I’ve landed in New Zealand.

My journey abroad started with meeting about 60 other international students. We landed in Auckland and toured the city for a day and then headed to Rotorua the next morning. One of the goals I set for my time in New Zealand was to see a Kiwi, and I did it! We went to Rainbow Springs, where we saw the Tuatara and Kiwi along with other wildlife present in New Zealand. That night we got to go to a Polynesian Spa to relax after a long few days of traveling. It was really cool to see the stars of the Southern Hemisphere after having taken an astronomy class last semester which, obviously, focused mostly on the stars in the Northern Hemisphere. Although it was a bit blurry since I had to take my glasses off, it was a wonderful experience to mingle and enjoy soaking in the warm mineral water under the stars.

If you have been looking into going to New Zealand, you’ve probably heard of this amazing thing called ‘zorbing.’ I hadn’t known about zorbing before I decided to come to Wellington, but when I learned about it, I was equally scared and excited to try it out. Zorbing is when you jump into a huge plastic ball filled with some warm water and then roll down a hill in just 29 seconds. The initial fear I felt went away the second I got into the plastic ball with two friends. I’m not sure how fast we were going, but the world record is 32.3 mph. I’m going to assume we didn’t break the world record, but it sure felt like we were going a lot faster than that. It’s something you definitely need to try out if you’re ever in NZ!

One thing I was really excited to see and learn about while in New Zealand was the Maori culture and traditions. Luckily, we were able to go to the Tamaki Maori Village the night before departing for Wellington. We saw a traditional Maori welcome, a little concert of Maori songs, the Maori war dance (Haka), and then a Maori dinner (Hangi). It was a really welcoming experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the culture and history of the Maori. After going to the village, I realized I really wanted to know more about the Maori, and now I’m trying to squeeze in a Maori Society and Culture course into my schedule. Hopefully, it’ll work out since this is pretty much the only chance I’ll get to take a Maori course.

After a few short days, our little getaway in Auckland had ended. Once we landed in Wellington, I was suddenly hit with the reality that yes, I am studying abroad and not just on vacation. However, classes didn’t start for another few days, which meant we had some time to explore before settling down. The Uni Hall students (including myself) had to live in a hostel for 5 days before moving into our own houses. Although it wasn’t too ideal (and a bit tiring to be living out of a suitcase for nearly a week), the location was in the heart of Wellington and made it super easy for us to get a barring of the city. I’ve been in Wellington for all of maybe a week and a half now, and pretty much got the public transportation stuff down pact thanks to my handy Snapper card—still trying to master navigating without a GPS though. One thing I’ve noticed is that the phone plans here in NZ are a little expensive and don’t give you that much data to use—meaning I need to stop using data and just stick to Wi-Fi.

So, I’m writing this post now, after a riveting first two weeks. There’s a lot that I left out, including a hike up Mount Victoria, a trip to the Havana Coffee Works, and a house party at my very own house with my 8 (yes eight!) housemates the night we moved in. I had my first paper (class) today with about 90 other students; that’s about 70 more students than I’m used to in the small class sizes at Arcadia. I’m excited to see what my other papers have in store for me. I’m going to try and make these posts a little more exciting, but for now, I just had to document these past weeks.

Until my next blog post. Kia Ora!


Semester New Zealand