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Constanza Perez Cornejo – Chile

Constanza Perez Cornejo, ChileWhat can I say after living such an amazing experience?
Well, I’m Coni , I’m 16 years old , I’m from Chile and I can say that I just lived the most incredible five months of my life here in New Zealand.

It’s not just the place, it’s everything that I like about Wellington – the people, the culture, the food and even the busses!!

When I got here on February 11, everything was so different and new for me because I wasn´t in my home anymore, I was 12.000 km away from my hometown!.

At first I was so confused because manners are really different between Chile and New Zealand but I got used to it.

I’m really thankful to all the people that I met here, everyone helped me during the times I was homesick and sad. I especially have to thank the people who are in charge of the international students because during my first week in NZ, I was really sad.

I love the teachers at Wellington High School – they are all really patient and friendly with us because they are aware that English is not our first language.

The other thing that was helped make my exchange experience so good was my host family, I’ve a beautiful little host sister , an adorable host mum who’s a really great cook and a really nice host dad.

Thank you WHS for making this experience the best one of my life! <3

Alondra Arellano Hernadez – Santiago, Chile

Alondra Arellano Hernadez, Santiago, Chile

Alondra (in green) celebrating her 16th birthday with her international friends

Hello my name is Alondra and I am from Chile. I went to New Zealand February 19 and I remember the first day I went to Wellington High School. I was scared about what was coming, but at the same time I had a lot of enthusiasm about meeting new people and learning about this interesting new culture.

So my host family took me into the school and from the moment I saw it I didn’t believe I was about to study in such an amazing school. My family took me into the international room, where I met Maria, Di and Julia, the best international coordinators ever, because whenever you have a problem or if you need something, they will be there to help you.

I also remember that during the first week I was very impressed, because everything was totally new for me, the students, teachers and even the classes. Everything was more relaxed and fun. For example I had to choose my subjects, which is great, because you can choose whatever you want and you are good at, that gives you the opportunity to discover different skills you didn’t know you had.

At Wellington High School I have learned so many things about New Zealand and lived lots of amazing experiences, which I will never forget.

I would like thank the school for teaching me all these unforgettable lessons and especially for opening my mind and showing me that are many different ways to learn and work.

Andrea Castellanos – Guatemala

Well….I’m from Guatemala, a beautiful country in Central America. It’s really hot over there, and we speak Spanish, not Mexican as everyone thinks. I have been here for ten months. It took me around 28 hours to get to New Zealand, and yeah, I got sent to a very different place from the one I’ve lived in my whole life. Leaving home, friends, family and my lifestyle wasAndrea Castellanos – Guatemala really hard, but my new friends, host family and teachers made it heaps easier.

New Zealand is more than I expected. Before I came I was expecting a country full of blonde people with pretty lives…but NO! People in New Zealand have a calmer life than people in Guatemala, and of course not all of them are blonde with blue eyes!

Everything here is so different from my country. The weather…here was the first winter of my life! And I saw snow for the first time in NZ! And yeah, as everyone says it’s the only country where you can get four seasons in one day.

Being an exchange student in NZ is AWESOME! I’m enjoying every single moment here. Being in NZ is just a new experience every day. I have learnt a lot from the things I have done here. It’s not just about the language, I also learnt about different countries and cultures, and one of the most important things is that I got a chance to know myself better.

Now I have a different view of my life and myself. I love my school. Here in NZ I had just 5 subjects, but back at home we have 14, all compulsory, so I think the students here are quite lucky. I wouldn’t meet a lot of friends if it wasn’t for school. I also love my teachers. They are more than just a teacher to me, they are good friends!

I love being the first Guatemalan student in Wellington High! Almost all the students were really nice to me, and I really like how they were always keen for a party, and how Kiwis try to do their best for a better country. I will never forget NZ: the Cookie Time biscuits, the fish and chips, L&P, the ice-cream, pavlova, the beautiful beaches, the sheep, the hills and my favourite thing….my electric blanket….always on! I can’t believe how fast time has gone…time goes incredibly fast when you are having a great time! I have found souls in NZ family and friends that I never thought I could love so much! Thank you very much to my host school, my host family, and to all my friends for making my experience unique and unforgettable.

Agustin Furey – Argentina

Una Experiencia Inolvidable

Hace ya cinco meses que llegue a Wellington y todavia me faltan cinco mas por recorrer. Durante estos primeros momentos vividos en esta ciudad he experimentado cosas extraordinarias que nunca en mi vida hubiera podido descubrir y disfrutar si me hubiera quedado en mi pais.
Recuerdo mi primer dia en Wellington cuando conoci a mi familia anfitriona. Nunca olvidare ese sentimiento de insertidumbre por saber: Como seran? Como me trataran? Por suerte rapidamente me integraron a sus vidas.
Fue bastante fuerte el shock cultural que tuve al llegar. Las dos cosas que mas me costaron al principio fueron: por un lado el acento y la forma de hablar que tienen los Kiwis (son un poco diferentes a el Ingles que yo aprendi en casa). Por otro lado tuve que aprender a mirar para el otro lado al crusar las calles ya que manejan al reves que en mi pais.
En cuanto al colegio, nunca me olvidare de mi primer dia en Wellington High School. No conocia a nadie y me sentia muy nervioso por esto. Poco a poco fui conociendo gente, y aunque me costo un poco, cada dia me doy cuenta de que tengo mas y mas amigos. Gran parte de esto se debe al exelente desempeño de los docentes. Dia a dia no solo hacen un gran esfuerzo por ayudarnos a progresar en el aspecto academico como aprendisaje de Ingles por emplo, pero tambien a integrarnos con el grupo. Otra cosa que realmente me gusto mucho fue el hecho de poder elegir las materias de mi interes ya que en el sistema de educacion de mi pais todos los alumnos tienen las mismas materias.
Son infinitas y variadas las experiencias que he vivido en mi nueva comunidad. Pero de algo estoy seguro, nunca me arrepentire de haber elegido Nueva Zelanda como mi destino.

Municol Kim – Phnom Penh – Cambodia

My Time at WHS

My name is Municol Kim and I come from Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.
I’m here because I want to continue to study at a university in New Zealand and I want to improve my English as well.

I like the people here because they are kind to me and helpful. The main difference is that they don’t like to eat rice and soup as in my own country.

I used to wonder about the houses here, about why they are wooden. Later I found out that New Zealand has earthquakes, which cleared my mind.

Now I am studying in Year 13 at Wellington High School. I’m taking classes in ESOL, Information Science, Mathematics and Design Technology Woodwork.

Here the teachers really care about helping the students and will even help you after school. There are good facilities to help students study, such as the library, computer room, workshops and laboratories. I like the fact that there are lots and lots of books here.

Aylwin Jong – Malaysia

Hi there!

I came to New Zealand with my parents when I was 19 years old. That was in year 2000. We stayed in Newtown when we first arrived, and enrolling in Wellington High School seemed to be the most obvious thing to do due to its location. We moved to Naenae the following year but I stayed with Wellington High as I was totally in love with the colourful, vibrant environment of Wellington High. Best of all, I didn’t have to wear any hideous school uniform.

In 2001, I finished my 7th Form with an A Bursary, and I got accepted into Victoria University. I started out studying design as I have always liked painting, sketching and making things. As I entered the second year in Design, I realised Design was something I wouldn’t do as a profession as doing so would take away the pleasure from it. As a result, I took the second half of the same year off and took up various part-time jobs.

One day during the height of summer when I was flipping through the course catalogue, something caught my attention. That was Linguistics. I grew up in a multilingual environment in Malaysia, and to be able to speak in 4 languages as early as 12 years old isn’t something you do for fun but a necessity for a typical Malaysian Chinese teenager. I had never heard of Linguistics in my life before but I knew it was something I could do for a living as well as for fun at that instance! I have always been good at telling people’s accents, self-taught myself phonetic symbols, Japanese characters and Greek alphabets, but I never thought there were actually people out there studying languages scientifically. Linguistics seems to be the perfect thing for me! It’s not just about studying the structure of languages, but it also covers a range of topics from the evolution of languages to language planning policy. In 2004, I enrolled in a few of Linguistics papers as well as Japanese and French introductory papers, and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics recently in May 2008. It was quite a challenge for a non-native English speaker like me to do Linguistics, but my multilingual background has helped me tremendously throughout the courses.

Looking back, I don’t regret giving up Design and followed my heart in Linguistics. The time spent in studying Design wasn’t completely a waste at all as it has fine tuned my aesthetic sense and given me the ability to think outside the box. Likewise, Linguistics has really opened up my eyes to the diversity of the world languages, how languages shape civilisations and vice versa, and how much we take languages for granted in our daily communication. My next step is enrolling in Cert TESOL courses in this coming summer. Travelling overseas while learning foreign languages, especially to France and Japan, has always been my dream, and a qualification in TESOL will be my ticket to fulfil this dream.. Thanks for reading!

That’s the end of my story so far.

Paula Wulkop – Switzerland

Paula Wulkop, Switzerland, January-July 2011, Year 11,

I stayed at the Wellington High for six months and I really enjoyed this time. On the first day, the principal Prue Kelly and the teachers welcomed all the new students. At the end of the speech, which was held in Maori language, we could do a hongi (maori greeting) with the teachers. This showed me immediately that I was in a new cultural environment and that my life here was going to be very different from my life back in Switzerland.

I recommend to each exchange student to take advantage of the wide range of sub-jects and choose those ones that you can’t take at home. I took outdoor education, food technology, English, Science, Geography and Art. I especially enjoyed food technology, because we prepared and ate some tasty meals and also treats like cup-cakes. Outdoor education was great as well. There we learned fun things like kayaking, underwater hockey and surfing. We went to a camp on a lonely beach where we discovered dolphins and swam with them.

Surprisingly fast, I found lots of Kiwi friends with whom I had heaps of fun. It’s great to stay in contact with friends on the other side of the world. I joined a netball team in school and every Saturday we played against another school. Even though we didn’t win very often, it was a good opportunity to meet some people and to be involved in something fun.

Margaux Raymakers – Rixensart, Belgium

I studied in New Zealand for 10 months… it was an amazing experience (probably one of the best of my life), and I left with unforgettable memories. I did so much during my time, and learned a lot about myself.

New Zealand is the best choice I could have made for my exchange. It’s probably the most beautiful country of all, with so many different landscapes (beaches, mountains,…). I made a few trips around to see as much as I could.

I arrived in NZ to be welcomed by a wonderful host family, really caring. Being in a family was awesome, because I learned more about the NZ culture than if I wasn’t in a host family.

I really enjoyed my time at Wellington High School. I couldn’t have hoped for a better school for my exchange. First, the people in  the international office are so lovely and made me feel really comfortable about talking to them. they always did their best’ to make me feel good and were there at all times to listen to me.

Secondly, the students and the teachers were so friendly, welcoming and encouraging. In particular, my Outdoor Education teacher (Mr Rapson), who encouraged me to do stuff that I never thought I could do, like surfing (one of my dreams) as well as the experiences I had on the amazing outdoor trips he organised.

I was so sad to leave, but I will definitely come back to this unique country to see all the wonderful people who made this experience so incredible.

With aroha

Margaux - Belgium

 

Margaux (in front) riding the rapids on the Whanganui River canoeing trip organised by Brook Rapson from Outdoor Education