It has been almost a month since I left New Zealand. I have had time to reflect on my experiences and have discovered its impact on me and my habits. For example, I am way better at cooking meals for myself now and eat more fresh produce. But I also feel my outlook on what I want to do and expectations for things to be the same. My identity as a U.S. citizen came up a little more than I thought it would, but it was helpful when conversations were stalling to talk about the differences between us like how ‘z’, pronounced ‘zee’ in the U.S., is pronounced ‘zed’ in the New Zealand alphabet. It was fun for me to learn about all the little differences between these two English-speaking countries.
In my first post, I had goals to learn, explore, engage with locals, and immerse myself into Kiwi culture. I am proud to say I accomplished all of them! I learned not only in the classroom, but also at the flat where I was learning about how to get and budget groceries, and at club meetings where local kiwis helped me understand some differences between their culture and mine (I got roasted for calling the ‘tap’ a faucet). I got to explore in the north and south islands at places such as Hobbiton, Rotorua, National Park, and Queenstown. I got to engage with locals by joining a few clubs and participating in a German play, as well as getting to know my kiwi host and her friends. Immersing myself into Kiwi culture was interesting as I am a selective eater, so I did my best to try kiwi foods like kumara and pavlova and hokey pokey ice cream in addition to taking a class on Māori Society, which allowed me to learn about their language and traditions. I even had the opportunity to visit a Marae (muh-rye with a rolled ‘r’)!
I enjoyed my time in NZ so much that I cannot wait to go back sometime in the future. And maybe throw in Australia too.