Student Stories

For most students, coming to live and study in New Zealand is one of the biggest personal challenges they've ever had to face. Until they have to leave again.


Chiara, Germany

Chiara, Germany

I'm Chiara from Germany and I've been in Whangarei since July. I must say it's a great place! Everybody here is so open and friendly. At Whangarei Girls' High School everybody has tried to give me the best time possible, and when I needed help it was always given to me.

It is difficult to integrate into a new country and a new culture, but everybody at school has made me feel at home. Of course it is quite a big change, wearing school uniforms and going to a girls' only school is something I didn't know from Germany.

I still feel like I have just arrived and want to learn so much more about the Kiwis and their culture. I am looking forward to some great trips with the other Internationals this month and I'm sure that one day I'll come back to Whangarei because it was one of the best experiences I'll probably ever get! Thank you Whangarei Girls' High School!

Hanna, Austria

Hanna, Austria

The last six months were fantastic but have gone too fast. I left Austria at the end of January excited but also nervous to go away for half a year, with no expectations, not really knowing where I am going and what everything will be like.

I came from winter to summer, from a co-educational school to a girls' high school, from German as my first language to speaking English all the time, and to a new host family. The first weeks were exciting and exhausting but I soon started to love my completely new and different life here. School, friends and of course my really nice host family, who I really want to thank for everything, helped me to become part of a real kiwi life. Speaking English wasn't a problem any more and I even started dreaming in English.

Now six months later, I am still the same girl apart from the fact that I have many new experiences every day, made lots of friends from all over the world and got to know a completely new culture. I have had a fantastic time at WGHS, I have experienced a real high school system for the first time in my life and got the opportunity to try new subjects such as Maori and Tourism. I really enjoyed my time here. Saying goodbye and leaving now is probably the hardest part of my whole exchange experience. After living here for six months I don't feel like a stranger or tourist anymore. I feel like a part of this beautiful country and even call New Zealand 'home'. During my exchange I have learnt a lot about a new country, culture and language but also I have learnt a lot about myself. I have come to love New Zealand – it will always be one of my favourite countries in the world and one day I'll definitely come back “home". Thank you for everything.

Tak Wun (Ruby), Hong Kong

Tak Wun (Ruby), Hong Kong

I am Tak Wun, or you can call me Ruby. I come from Hong Kong and I've studied in Whangarei Girls' High School about two years. I joined this school since October 2010.

I am so happy that I can study at your school. I have tried so many new things in New Zealand. For example, fishing in a boat, patting a sheep and cow, feeding the ducks in Mair Park and playing with fireworks in the garden. Here it is so amazing that I can see many stars at night and smell the fresh air on the road. Maybe you will think they are normal things in life but they are so special for me because where I live is a concrete jungle. Hong Kong has lost many natural things, there are only cars, large buildings and crowds of people around you everyday. I have not seen a real sheep or cow before I come to New Zealand because there is no farming in Hong Kong. I was so excited when I first saw them in A&P show!

I want to say thank you to all the staff and girls from Lupton Hostel, they are so nice to me when I stayed at Lupton last year. Also, I want to say thank you to all the teachers who have helped me and taught me for these two years. Especially, Mrs. Nielsen and Mrs. Pishief, I am sorry that I always waste your time to ask many silly questions and I keep forgetting what you teach in class. I am so lucky to be a student in this school, thank you very much!

你好,我是羅德媛。今年十八歳,是來自香港的學生。當我中五畢業完成會考後, 便來了紐西蘭繼續升學。不經不覺己四個月了。

我就讀「Whangarei Girls´High School」十二班, 修讀了五科, 包括: 數學、物理、化學、生物 及 ESOL (英文)。這裏 , 還有很多科目可以選擇,例如 : 美術、設計、畫劇、音樂、食物興營養、地理、會計、經濟 等……

這邊的課堂亦很多元化,除了理論還提供了實踐的機會。當我們在學習上有任何問題,老師都會悉心教導 .在課堂外,我們也有很多活動,如社際比賽和水上運動會等。我們都會悉心打扮來參與活動,為社隊出一分力, 場面非常熱鬧和有趣。

同學們都很友善, 非常照顧及幫助外來的同學.令我們對學校都很有歸屬感。

當我放學後,我會回到學校的宿社吃茶點和上網。晩飯後,我便回到自己的房間内温習和做功課。在週末時,我們都會在宿社做一些勞作。例如用紙皮製作公仔、畫畫 等等……

在這裹的生活方式和香港有很大分別,我可以感受到不同的文化和生活體驗,以及精彩的校園生活。擴闊了我的眼界,為未來作更好的準備。

Valeria, Italy

Valeria, Italy

My experience in New Zealand has meant gaining awareness of the world and of myself. It was growth and change, that change has scared me at times but has made me rich and real.

It meant having the possibility of learning to sing in front of an audience of 200 people, I has meant discovering the beauty of art and drama, it has meant throwing myself into experiences and discovering passions that I didn't even know that I had.

New Zealand was for me the possibility to live in a wonderful place where walking in town takes you straight into the forest, where watching dolphins playing in the ocean is something pretty normal, where the sky is wider and the clouds are whiter and the air is purer.

It meant challenging myself and discovering to be strong, heaps more than I could ever imagine. It has meant finding myself deeply and radically changed, because when you choose such a rich experience like this the journey is much more inside of us than outside. Thanks to you all for making it so special.

Flora, Germany

Flora, Germany

My name is Flora, I'm 15 years old and from Germany. I enjoyed every day in New Zealand and I'm very sad that I have to leave. I will never forget the awesome things like bungy jumping and swimming with the dolphins, living with a new family and just going to school here, meeting kiwis and making new friends.

New Zealand is such a fascinating country with it's beautiful nature and open and friendly people and the Maori culture which is very impressive.

I'm so happy that I chose Whangarei Girls' High School – everything is so different compared to my school in Germany. To experience going to a girls' only school, wearing a school uniform and being able to choose subjects like OED and Drama was really interesting and I really enjoyed it! I'd like to say thanks to my host family who have made me feel at home from the very first day and they are just so lovely! And thanks to my Drama and Form class – we had so much fun.

Thank you so much for this awesome experience. I will miss you all so much! Coming to New Zealand was the best thing I've ever done and I will definitely come back!

Marie vom Steeg, Germany

Marie vom Steeg, Germany

I didn't come to New Zealand because I wanted to but because my parents decided they need a change in their lives. I really cannot tell you how many hours I spent trying to convince them either to stay in Germany or let me stay with my grandparents there. No matter how many people told me it would be amazing, I didn't believe it – well, sometimes you have to see and experience things yourself.

From the first day on, people were friendly, interested and keen to help me whenever I needed it. I just want to thank all the people, students and teachers, who made my time here such a great one. Especially the subjects, Outdoor Education and Hospitality, together with their teachers are things I will terribly miss at my school back in Germany. I really hope that one day I might be able to come to New Zealand again and enjoy its beautiful nature and people.

Clara, Germany

Clara, Germany

Ko Clara ahau. That means my name is Clara in Maori. I'm 15 years old and come from Germany. This 6 months has been absolutely amazing. I will never forget the awesome things like parasailing, swimming with dolphins, flying lesson, living with a new family and just going to school here.

New Zealand became a second home for me. It just took a couple of weeks until it was normal to wake up in a different room, to catch the school bus and to wear school uniform. I really enjoyed every single day at school! I love my friends and will miss them all heaps. Thanks guys for making my stay so amazing. I will miss as well all the fun subjects like Hospitality, Outdoor Education and Maori.

From the first day at school, people were helpful and friendly. New Zealand is wonderful country with a lot of opportunities to play hockey. I'm so happy that I could travel to this country. In this amazing 6 months I experienced more things then in my past 14 years in Germany!

So, for all new international students….stay as long as you can. Use every opportunity to see or try new things it just gets better:)