Lindsay: In Wellington

July 9, 2010

These past few days since arriving have been pretty quiet for the most part. People have been slowly arriving at Te Puni and I notice with every meal that the line for food is longer. Really I just thought I’d post a small update with what I’ve been doing and some random things I’ve noticed about New Zealand.

We had our International Student orientation, which wasn’t a whole lot of new information if you had actually been looking into how Vic worked prior to arriving. It was mostly just general ‘new to uni’ type information (What the college can do for you, general rules, etc) and some random stuff about Kiwi culture and adjusting to a new culture that we had already heard through AustraLearn and that I had heard through the University of Minnesota before as well.

We did get to enrol (Hehehe, Kiwi spelling) in our ‘papers’ which was nice. I feel like I’m the only one who took the time before enroling online to make sure my classes didn’t overlap or conflict with one another. Of all the people I know I had the smoothest enrolment process here. I had only registered for the classes I intended to take and didn’t have to go about signing up for new ones or dropping some. So for anyone looking to study abroad at Vic: Take the time to pay attention to the times listed on the website when you look at classes. It will save you having to deal with that headache while you’re in a new country wanting to go out and have fun.

All the AustraLearn kids got together for a potluck dinner and we invited other people as well, mostly other international students. I met some British kids there which was nice because between us we were able to figure out what was uniquely Kiwi or what aspects of Kiwi life were more European/British.

Besides that, there hasn’t been much exciting going on. Took a day off to just lay around as it has mostly been GO GO GO for two weeks and having to absorb all the new stuff on my own is overwhelming some times. So it was nice to just relax a bit.

Tomorrow I will be doing my first load of laundry here. The forecast for Sunday is looking pretty good so I am probably going to go into town and walk around a bit. I have been having troubles finding clothes hangers (who knew!) and a good quality ceramic mug, but I have been told that I should go to a store called Briscoes and they will have both of these things. It kind of sounds like a Bed Bath and Beyond (although they also have those here for some reason).

On to the random things I’ve noticed in New Zealand…

  • A majority of the roofs here are corrugated iron while some are Spanish tiles. However, I have probably seen only a handful of regular shingled roofs. I assume it’s because of the difference in weather patterns, but it is still quite interesting.
  • While in American high school or college dining halls, it is considered odd and awkward to just randomly sit with a group of people you don’t know, here it seems to be the norm. I was looked at a bit funny when I asked if I could sit next to someone. I guess it’s just normal to all sit in a big group of people unless you already have a group of friends with you, in which case you might sit farther away.
  • Some things that us Americans take for granted as being sold everywhere, are not sold everywhere. Finding clothes hangers has been my mission since arriving and only now have I found out where to get them.
  • Meat flavored chips! Kiwi chip flavorings are much more adventurous than our own in America. Today at the store I saw: Chicken; Tomato and Mozzarella; Lamb with Mint; Chili with Sourcream; and Lime with Pepper.

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