My name is Elin. At the end of the first term of year nine I went abroad to New Zealand. I arrived two months ago and I am going to stay for a year. I am living now in Timaru a town with around 40 thousand inhabitants located on the South Island in between Dunedin and Christchurch (both around two hours away by car). The house of my host parents is pretty modern. I have four great younger host siblings (6, 9, 13, 14) and we have two dachshund (or sausage dogs how the people here like to say) and two guinea pigs. Every morning I walk 40 min. to school beside Caroline Bay one of the most loved NZ beaches.
I go to a catholic school called Roncalli College. We have to wear a school uniform consisting of a very long skirt (over the knees), a blouse, socks, a blazer and uncomfortable shoes. In summer you get really hot because the uniform is very heavy and on other days in autumn you are freezing cold because this uniform is for term one (summer and autumn) and term four (summer). But I got really fast use to my school uniform.
School starts at 8:40 am with assembly. We pray every time and it is also about learning how to be a better person and building a school spirit. I have five subjects a day. I am in NZ in year 11 thats why I could choose six subjects. I have chosen English, Math (year 12), Outdoor Education, PE, Arts and my favorite subject Resistant Material Technology. At the moment we are building a wooden chair.
There are also four house groups. In special activities you compete for house points. Yesterday we had the cross country run in the botanical garden in period 5. That was really fun. While you ran teachers made you wet with a hose and threw paint powder at you. There was also a water slide. This term we also had a swimming day and an athletic day. The teachers at school are all very kind and funny. Since I arrived I joined the charity St. Vincent de Paul, the choir and Kapa Haka at school. Kapa Haka is all about Maori dances and songs.
In the beginning it was hard to make friends because everybody already had friends and in NZ international students are normal. But finally I made some great friends. At the weekend I usually go with my host family to church. The church is very different from the church at home. It is a normal building with no tower. During the church service we sing a lot. The church has also its own band. We go swimming in the sea too. At the moment the water is cold because it is autumn but it is worth it. All in all I like my stay very much. It’s a great experience and worth it.