I can’t believe I’m in New Zealand!! I arrived on Thursday, February 13th around 11:30am New Zealand time. The flights were long and somewhat uncomfortable, but not as bad as I expected them to be. I had 3 flights and the longest flight was 13 hours. That one was the worst, but it was overnight, so I slept most of the time. I’ve been here 5 days now but I feel like it’s been longer because I’ve already made a bunch of friends and we’ve done so much every day. I don’t have very bad jet lag, but I am always exhausted by around 9pm because we get up early and do so much everyday that I’m tired out by the end.
During our orientation, we spent the first day exploring the apartment areas and the university. We went on a scavenger hunt around the university to find some important things like the health center, student services and the gym. We also played some get to know you games together with the IES group and learned a little bit about kiwi culture.
The next day, we walked into downtown Christchurch, which took about an hour. We saw some amazing things on the way, and once we were there we had lunch, went kayaking, and had another scavenger hunt. The trip was awesome!
This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever set foot in. Everywhere I go, I keep saying “wow, that’s amazing” and gaping at the scenery. The only downfall I’ve experienced is that there is virtually no wifi here. In the states, I’m used to unlimited wifi all the time, pretty much everywhere. I wish I had been warned about the wifi issues here before I came so I wouldn’t be expecting to keep in touch with people with iphone apps that allow free international texting. There is wifi in the apartments lounge, but it is a fair walk away from my room and it took a few days to find out the guest password. We can have internet using an ethernet cable in our rooms, but we have to pay for it.
I’m actually kind of liking not having a phone or internet access right now because it is forcing all of us on the program to be more social and plan to meet at certain times and places since we can’t get ahold of each other until everyone gets New Zealand cell phones. I just wish I had been prepared beforehand.
Besides the wifi issues, I can’t say a single negative thing about being here. It’s absolutely amazing and I’m so glad I chose Christchurch New Zealand to study abroad!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Katie Steike and I'm a junior at the University of Rochester, studying molecular genetics and music. I love reading, playing soccer, and going on hikes and adventures! I'm going to be studying in Christchurch New Zealand for spring 2014 and I'm excited to become immersed in the Kiwi culture and explore the beautiful country!</span></p>