I’m 17 years old and I come from Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S.A. I’m taking courses in Japanese and Mathematics at year 11, Maori Performing Arts, Mathematics and Economics at Year 12 and Film and Television and Journalism at Year 13. Journalism is cool and so is Japanese. I really like learning about Maori Culture. I’ve visited a Marae, been to a Hangi and learnt how to participate in a Powhiri (formal welcome). I have a good home-stay family in Miramar in the Eastern Suburbs of Wellington, great people, great food. Wellington High School is a cool school, very liberal. I’ve enjoyed the freedom to choose my subjects. The people here are very nice and accepting and more aware of what is going on in the world. There are interesting cultural elements here. The hikoi (a march by the indigenous people to protest) was really cool. I’m going back to the U.S.A. at the end of this term but I would like to come back and attend Victoria University.
I’m Beau Larson and I come from a small country in northern Minnesota only about an hour away form Canada. The main town is Grand Marais and it is located right on Lake Superior. It’s a major fishing and logging town. It is also a very touristy town in the summer. I live right outside of the town about a 20 minutes drive.
The actual town has a population of about 1,300 people so it was a major change moving to Wellington for a foreign exchange.
I decided to come to Wellington and New Zealand in general because of all the good things I have heard. When the idea of participating in an exchange program, New Zealand wasn’t the first place I had in mind. But after talking with people that have been to New Zealand, I couldn’t pass it up. They said it was one of the most beautiful places in the world, and since I’ve been here I can already tell they weren’t lying.
Coming to a school five times larger than my own was a big change. But it wasn’t hard to get used to because students and teachers alike were and are very kind and made me feel welcome. So far Wellington has been a great place to live. My host family is great and made me feel part of their family right away. I’m sure it wasn’t hard for them since they are also hosing a student from Germany also with seven other kids that are living in the house. So far, Wellington has been a blast to live in.
The locals are very nice and fun people to be around. I plan to take a few trips around most of New Zealand to get the whole experience. I encourage any students that are thinking about an exchange program to look into New Zealand because the people are great and it’s a beautiful place to be.
Comment from Dad and Mom from Minnesota:
“The Transition from a small rural community school in northern Minnesota to Wellington High School was relatively seamless. I found the U.S. liaison contact (Nigel) and the WHS administration effective in informing us all necessary transfer requirements including identifying students needs once they arrive. In addition, in an era that can often be bogged down by bureaucracy and paper work, the required forms and applications were not over bearing. Our 16 year old had a wonderful experience-one with life long memories and with a hopeful return someday soon.”
The time I have spent in New Zealand and attending Wellington High School has without a doubt been the best 3 months of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that choosing to go on this exchange program to Wellington was the best decision I ever made. I flew about 18 hours from my hometown, San Antonio, Texas to get here. Little did I know what I was in for.
My first day at High was very big and overwhelming, but in a good way. I was introduced to a kiwi buddy named Tai and I followed her to all her classes for the first two days until I got a timetable of my own. I found this system a very good one because it gave me time to adjust before having to worry about directing your way around the school. This system also helped me make a lot of friends because Tai introduced me to all of her friends who then became my friends.
Once I was settled in with my classes and friends here, I had more time to start appreciating everything about New Zealand like the scenery, the food, the people, my host family, etc. My family here has been really great. Of course there are ups and downs to every family but I had so much fun with my family. I got along really great with my host sister, Irene, and I know that after this we will keep in contact and always remain friends. I just feel really blessed to have been able to stay with this family throughout my trip to New Zealand and I couldn’t have asked or hoped for a better one.
Thanks to them I have had the opportunity to travel a little and I’ve been able to go to places such as Levin, Sharon, Palmerston North, Tawa, and over the holidays I will be going to Tauranga, which I am very excited about.
My family has also taken me to their church and I then started playing guitar for the church band and I attended the youth group, which allowed me to meet a lot of cool people and have a good time.
This whole trip has definitely had a huge impact on me and will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life. I would recommend this exchange to anyone because it’s definitely a positive and life changing experience, It allowed me to change my perspective on many things such as my own country and this one and has made the world a smaller place because I have now been half way around the world.
I am just really grateful I chose to embark on this journey and come here because I now know that it’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Dad from Texas
“Isabelle had never been away from home before. When she arrived at Wellington airport her family was waiting for her as well as Prue Kelly, the principal of the school. Prue took photos and sent them to us immediately… which was a great surprise. The school worked closely with us picking courses for Isabelle that would correspond as closely as possible to the curriculum here, in order to receive credits for her studies in New Zealand. When we started looking for a program in New Zealand we spoke with several companies, but Study New Zealand program was by far the best choice for us. Unlike the other programs, Study NZ allowed us to be involved every step of the way: picking a family, selecting courses, speaking with Prue etc. Nigel Morris, the main coordinator for us, has been nothing short of fantastic throughout the entire process… He’s always stayed in close contact, communicated on a personal level and nothing, it seemed was ever too much to ask of him.”
My experience at Wellington High School has left such a fantastic impact on me that it will last indefinitely. Throughout the whole process of applying and registering, both the programme and the school was very helpful, making the application process simple and stress-free. Wellington High School has an impeccable International Programme. The amount of support and encouragement from the International Office staff made me feel welcome and instantly part of the school community. Wellington High School is a very diverse school, with a large range of courses and extra-curricular activities. The teachers and staff at the school were all very helpful and did a wonderful job of making me feel like I had attended the school since Year 9. On my first day of school I got my “Kiwi Buddy” who was absolutely lovely. She took me along to all her classes and included me, as well as just showing me what a day at school was like for her. On my first day of classes, all of my teachers and classmates were very friendly and helped me catch up on what I had missed. The classes I took were Year 12 Photography, Physics, History, Classics, Advanced Mathematics, and Spanish. I enjoyed every single one of my classes. Photography had been something I was very interested in, but had not had the opportunity to learn, but the teacher, Mr. Gordon, taught me how to use a DSL as well as an SL camera and taught me what makes a successful photograph. My Physics teacher, Mr. McGlashan, made Physics an enjoyable science to learn. His Physics class gave me a higher knowledge of Forces in Electricity and Magnetism, which helped, because I had a much easier time catching up with what I had missed in my Physics class back at my school in Philadelphia. History, in particular, was one of my favourite classes. In Mr. Steel’s history class I had the opportunity to learn about the Russian Revolution and some of New Zealand’s history, which is not something my school back in Philadelphia teaches. Classics was also another class that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Classics is not a course that my school in Philadelphia offers, so I really enjoyed learning about the daily life of the ancient Romans and the activities that Ms. Harvey had planned to make it more interactive. For Maths, while I had learned some of what we went over before, it was really nice to review it all and Ms. Weston really solidified it all for me. My Spanish class was really fun. Señorita Henriquez always made the class enjoyable and taught me a lot of vocabulary that I had forgotten or did not know before. It was nice to continue my studies in Spanish, even though I was away from my school and normal Spanish curriculum. All of my classmates were really kind and made me feel very much a part of the class. I had a fantastic time working in the library on a project for Classics with two of my classmates, and I like to think the project turned out really well too. In Physics, my classmates were all really helpful when I didn’t quite understand a principle or in helping me understand something I had missed in the previous unit. I also enjoyed practising speaking in Spanish with my classmates in Spanish Class. While I was at Wellington High School, I participated in the rock climbing club and the Ultimate Team for a wee bit. I also played in the senior volleyball team, which was heaps of fun. All of my teammates were marvellous and so wonderful to play with. Since volleyball is a really big part of my life back in Philadelphia, it was really nice to be able to play with the team at Wellington High School. I chose to come to New Zealand because I am not too good at learning new languages and I didn’t want to be set back in my schooling in Philadelphia. I didn’t want to go to the UK because that was too familiar with many of my relatives living there. I am very glad that I chose New Zealand because I had a truly magnificent time at Wellington High School and in Wellington, made some amazing friends, and got to be a part of my lovely host family’s family. My host family was just an amazing family. They made me feel right at home instantly.
I had two adorable little host sisters and a fabulous host mum and dad. They really included me in their family and genuinely took an interest in me and made me feel at home. On my second day with them, they took me to a volleyball game because they had heard I played volleyball, and they went to my first volleyball game, which was so kind of them. I really enjoyed having family dinners and playing Connect Four with my host sisters. I also got to go down to Nelson with my little host sisters to visit their grandparents, which was so nice that they extended their hospitality to me as well. I am so grateful that I got to be a part of their family and I can’t wait till I get to see them again. Wellington is also an amazing city. My favourite aspect of the city is how diverse yet compact it is. I lived near Seatoun and just had a short walk to Worser Bay, and Wellington High School is located right in the city, and only a minutes walk from Courtney Place; so I had the beach and the city all within a bus ride and walking distance. Being in New Zealand was a fantastic experience which is not one I’ll forget. I got the opportunity to go a fabulous school, make wonderful friends, and stay with a superb host family, and the staff in the International Office really did an excellent job in making sure that I enjoyed my short 5 and a half months in New Zealand.