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Arianna Avezzu – Bolgna

My 5 Months in New Zealand

I decided to come to New Zealand many years ago because I have always been interested in its landscape and its culture, which is very different to mine. I came here on the 4th of February 2007 and I remember that my host family was waiting for me at the airport and when they saw me they gave me a big hug and that made me feel really good. They have always been kind to me and they introduced me to their neighbours and family friends.

After three days, when I went to school, I met a lot of other exchange students who had been having the same experience as me and that made me feel happy and more relaxed. So my experience began! Just after a week I’d already made a lot of friends and everything was going well with my family. I’d been to the beach, met people and had seen places and things that were completely new to me.

I think that Wellington is a beautiful city for a student because it has a very nice centre (with lots of shops, libraries and nice cafes), has a beautiful harbour with a waterfront, and it’s also really alive and busy at night (I love that!). So, I’ve never been bored!

I’m also really happy that I went to Wellington High School because it’s a school which is very well organized for exchange students and the teachers have always tried to help and understand you, and they have always been ready to hear your problems (all kinds of problems) and resolve them.

Another beautiful thing is that it’s very easy and safe to travel around New Zealand! I remember that in April, for the Easter holidays, I went with some friends (we were a funny group of seven people from all over the world!) to the North Island where I saw volcanoes, waterfalls, water springs and I did bungee jumping, horse-riding and I went kayaking! It was just awesome!

After that I went with my outdoor education class to the South Island, near Picton to do the Queen Charlotte Sounds track by bicycle. It’s a five day track in the pure wilderness. We camped out in the wild, with no water or showers, and at night we had to cook our own dinner on the beach! It was the best experience of my life! Now, I just don’t want to stop travelling, so I’m ready to go to the South Island again to see dolphins, glaciers and forests. I can’t wait!

I’ve really changed during my experience here, and now I can say that I am independent and I don’t want to go back because here I have a lot of friends from everywhere in the world and I know a lot of different cultures, so it’s like I’ve been to a lot of places but really I’ve just been in this one country. Now I think that when I’m back in Italy I’ll have a lot of interesting things to tell, and that makes me feel richer inside. I think that this experience has changed my life and I think that it is the best experience any student could have! Of course there will be some hard moments in New Zealand, but they will pass and you will feel stronger and you will be ready to confront problems that before you couldn’t. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I advise everybody to have the same experience as me! I just love New Zealand.