Winding Down

Bryan Mitchell University of Auckland, New Zealand


June 22, 2018

Sky Tower:

Time is running out. There will be future travels, including time off after I graduate uni and get my Instrument and Commercial pilot licenses, so I am not too worried. This lack of time convinced me to experience something I see every day here in Auckland; the Sky Tower. It looks a lot like Seattle’s Space Needle. For $20 NZD (about $14 USD), I am whisked up to the 60th floor to see Auckland from above. Even though it is rainy June (the only month so far where Auckland is generally colder than the US), the day I go is perfect. I take in the city from above and identify key places I have been including Rangitoto, the uni, and my flat. I am glad that I finally went to this iconic Auckland landmark!

Studying for Exams:

I have been busy studying for my three final exams. They are all worth 50% of their respective course marks, more than what I am used to. Many students have four exams to contend with, so only three is a big relief. I have been getting together with my peers from class to study, going to open office hours, and studying some on my own. Exam period is longer here than in the US; while this is anxiety-inducing because there is more time to dwell on the tests before taking them, it does allow more than enough time to thoroughly prepare. I am hoping that they at least go okay. I have five free days to relax and run out the metaphorical clock between my last exam and leaving for California. 

Taking Exams:

Taking final exams in New Zealand entails a stricter process than in the US; one could equate it to taking the ACT or SAT which are more strict than normal uni tests. Exam rooms are not revealed until the night before, phones must be turned off and placed in backpacks, which in turn must be left at the front of the lecture theatre. The testing period lasts 2 hours, 15 minutes: five minutes to get set up with your pens and water and to fill out an attendance slip, ten minutes of “reading time” to go over the exam questions, and then two hours to test. Students can only leave with between 15 and 45 minutes of the two hours remaining. Exam week is exhausting, mainly because I just want to get them done for good, but sitting the tests goes just fine. I cap off the semester with a nighttime ferry ride to Devonport across the harbour, where I photograph Auckland’s vast skyline!

Last Days:

In the days before going to North America’s west coast, I just hang out with people, go to the cat café and farmers market, and relax. I feel very accomplished because I have checked everything I have wanted to do during my time here, plus a whole lot more. More on that in an upcoming post; I plan to post about three more times. One for California and Nevada, another recapping the entire trip, and a third about reintegration and advice for you. Next time I will be posting from the US.