No worries: My first week in Auckland

Jessica Robyns
July 24, 2017

My arrival in Auckland started with a lot of worries. First of all, I had to have my hiking boots inspected. They were caked with mud from as far north as Michigan and as far south as Chile. That wasn’t allowed in New Zealand; my boots had to be cleaned and the bottoms sanitized before I was allowed to enter the country. Although it seemed kind of silly, the biosecurity guy was pretty nice about it.

After that, I went to look for the shuttle that would take me to my accommodation. Unfortunately, my plane was late, and so there was no one to pick me up at the airport. Thankfully, an airport employee decided to help me out. He let me use his phone and then guided me to a shuttle.

My next challenge occurred when the shuttle dropped me off at the wrong building. Although I needed to go to Parnell Student Village, the driver dropped me off at Carlaw. Thinking that Parnell was close, I went into Carlaw and asked for directions. The RA there graciously offered to drive me and my two suitcases to Parnell, which wasn’t as close as I thought.

After that, I had to find my way to the Old Clock Tower for a meeting with my program director and my fellow American students. Since I had just arrived and didn’t have time to find my way around, I got lost on the way to campus. Fortunately, I ran into a couple students who showed me where to go, and I arrived only a few minutes late.

Okay, I know this story sounds kind of discouraging. But really, I’m not trying to scare anyone away from studying abroad. Even though I encountered difficulties, everything worked out fine in the end, and for two reasons. First of all, I kept my cool through it all and didn’t let the challenges discourage me. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s fine. It’s all part of the adventure.

Second of all, every Kiwi I encountered was incredibly kind and helpful. They didn’t roll their eyes at the bumbling American; in fact, they went out of their way to help me. Of course, I thanked all of them profusely, and the reply I always got was “No worries”. People say it all the time here. It seems that in New Zealand, there’s simply no place for worrying.

It’s now the end of my first week in Auckland, but it feels like I’ve been here for a month. I’ve climbed a volcano, visited an island, been welcomed onto a marae, ate delicious sushi, and almost figured out the public transport system. But despite all that cool stuff, this week has also been challenging, of course. No matter where you choose to study abroad, you’re going to encounter difficulties when adjusting to a foreign country. But it’s important to remember that it’s all part of the adventure. Being pushed out of your comfort zone is what studying abroad is all about. Without challenge, how would you grow as a person?

I’m sure that I will have an amazing time in Auckland for the next four months. I’ve met amazing people and have many more to meet. I’ve eaten great food and seen beautiful things. I’m taking interesting classes at the University of Auckland. I’m excited for everything that’s ahead of me, but I also know that it’s not always going to go as planned. Sometimes I’ll miss the bus, or do poorly on an assignment, or feel sick from eating too much fish and chips. All of that is okay, and I’m ready to embrace the challenges and inconveniences alongside the fun and adventure. If something doesn’t go as planned, I’ll just say “no worries!”

Jessica Robyns

<p style="margin-bottom:12.0pt">Kia ora!&nbsp;My name is Jessica and I'm majoring in biology and environmental studies at Lawrence University, a small school in Appleton, WI. I grew up in Marquette, Michigan and will always call the shore of Lake Superior home. I love to travel and have been to Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina so far.<span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times&quot;,serif"> </span></span></span></p>

Home University:
Lawrence University
Marquette, MI
Environmental Studies
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