I am Christina H. (16), from Vienna in Austria and I spent the last 6 months in Whakatane and at Whakatane High School.
When I arrived here and settled in, I didn‘t really want to go back to Austria anymore. All of the people are extremely nice. Every stranger on the street greets you, the cashiers start a conversation with you at the checkout and even the teachers are like friends.
I got the chance to join the Volleyball School Team and to exercise with them during the week. All of the exchange students got the opportunity to do surf lessons with the school.
That was really cool because it‘s a sport most of us can‘t really do and learn at home.
At Whakatane High School you can take Marine Studies as a subject. It was one of the reasons why I chose this school and I would recommend it to everybody who is interested in the sea and its living creatures.
We got the chance to go on a dive trip to Whitianga and do our diving liscenses there. We dissected sharks, observed the behaviour of crabs and studied deep-sea creatures. These are experiences for which I am grateful to have made them, which I will never forget and which can rarely be made at home.
School is quite different here than at home. You have every subject with different people which is a great way to get to know people. At Whakante High School many young people from different cultures and countries come together. It is great to meet new friends from all over the world, to learn from them and their culture and to share your own one.
At the moment we have around 30 international students at Whakatane High School. At the beginning I was bit annoyed with it but I turned out to be really happy about it. I made friends from all over the world, for example, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovakia, Norway, Japan and Chile.
Our Homestay Cordinator & our International Director were two amazing women. They organised so many trips for us to get to see the country and get closer to each other. We got the chance to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, White Island, which is an active volcano and Whale Island.
My favourite trips were the Tongariro Crossing and we spent one week at the Hillary Outdoor Ed Camp.
In the holidays between Term 1 & 2 I did an South Island Tour for 10 days with another organisation and that was also one of my highlights of my entire stay in New Zealand.
I was really happy and lucky with my hostfamily. I got an older hostbrother and an older hostsister, who is also an exchange student from Norway. I lived pretty close to the school so I only walked there for 15min.
I did a lot of activities with my hostfamily and I got really well along with them. Saying goodbye to them at the airport is going to be really emotional and sad for me...
I think Do It was the right choice for me for my exchange because it is a small organisation and I always felt cared and safe. Always when I had problems or questions, there was always someone here or in Germany who could help me.
My life in New Zealand was amazing and a time I will never forget. I got to meet so many amazing young people around the whole world and I can’t wait to meet them all again.
Spending time with my hostfamily and my friends at school shaped me and I can‘t believe it‘s already over.