I spent the spring semester of 2010 studying in New Zealand through the ISEP program. I used this blog to keep an account of my school experience and as a record of the adventures I found. Hopefully it can serve two purposes: to have kept my friends and family informed of my travels and experiences; as well as to serve as a reminder of how important the study abroad experience is, whether it's in New Zealand or not.
23 February 2010
Classes Begin and Oh What A Different Land This Is
Monday we all start our papers, some of us a little more confident in what we are taking than other. Jessica for example is doing the trial semester for vet school, so her papers are predetermined all she has to do is choose which of the sets of lectures for each paper she wants. Sandy on the other hand is trying for vet school as well, but they won't let her take the trial semester papers because she already has a Bachelor's of Animal Science. Both of them need to get at least an A average to even be considered for the program. Papers here are apparently much harder than other places. They tell A students to expect C's regularly. Just hearing that is a little scary, let alone trying to actually get an A when C's are the norm. My timetable appears to be worked out, except that one of the papers I'm in is a repeat of one I just did last semester. The problem is, the transcript sent from Hampshire is not up to date and is therefore lacking the classes I took last semester. This worries me because I really don't want to repeat a paper. I didn't fly 9,000 miles to do that. So, after much struggle I find a record of my classes and grades online and send off to Hampshire for a copy of my transcript. With record in hand, I head off to the College of Science to get approved for the four papers I know I want. (This makes the whole thing seem a lot easier than it was. I spent about five days, going to at least four offices, e-mailing the ISEP coordinator, and endless hours online looking at papers and timetables to get this figured out. The whole process has been quite difficult and drawn out.) By Tuesday late afternoon, I finally have a workable timetable and the four papers that I want. I am now signed up for four, 300-level papers (A feat not many attempt, but I feel fairly confident about, because really, it's not the grade that matters, but how much I actually learn by the end). So here they are: Sheep Production, Animal Nutrition, Reproductive and Lactational Physiology, and Animal Growth and Meat Production. All four should be very useful and they all sound quite interesting. In my first Repro lecture we watched an old video called "The Fight to be Male." Wherein they described all that goes into a fetus becoming male and repeatedly told us that the female form is the proper one, where we all start as female and revert to female if testosterone doesn't work properly. So ha, all you men, you should be female. Not really, we need you, but the video was interesting none the less. I already have three projects, due near the end of March, but don't let that fool you. I won't have time to slack off, they're all extensive projects that involve quite a bit of work and research. But I'm excited for the semester and to see what I learn from these papers. Now, not to disappoint you with an entire entry about school work, this is "O Week" on campus. The official welcome here and back to students, both new and returning. So last night many of us attended the Bizarre Ball. This was really just a concert with crazy clothing. We did a shopping trip to pick out some crazy outfits. I'm working on getting a picture to post here and I'll edit the post later to include it. The main feature was a performance by Gin, a famous NZ singer. She was once enrolled at Massey, but never actually made it to moving in or taking classes. Instead she went on to be a rock star. She was quite good really and we managed to wiggle and worm our way to the front so we could both see and be behind the speakers where the noise wasn't entirely deafening. It was pretty crazy, with a lot of pushing and shoving, but still enjoyable. But don't worry, I know it's a school night, but we made it to bed by 11:30 and my first class wasn't until 10 today. Today was clubs day as well and Nadja and I poked around finding some good things to keep us busy for the semester. We signed up for the Equine Club with the hopes of getting in touch with some people who own horses. The club really doesn't do riding as much as lectures about horses, but we'll see what we can do with it. I got some info from Sport Manawatu on local bike/trek trails. I even picked up some information on studying in Germany (at Nadja's insistence) though I don't know if I'll ever use it. We also got signed up for the Young Farmer's club, which offers something farm related, their brochure doesn't say much. However the one I'm most excited about is the Alpine Club. They offer trips practically endlessly. Just to name a few: Tramping in the Ruahines, Overnight tramp in the Kaimanawas, climbing at Whanganui Bay, Tramp the Pouakai Circuit, Tramping the South Island for mid-semester break, Tramp NZ's best 1 day walk (LOTR costume required, oh hell's yeah, nerdyness rocks), Overnight tramp to Totara Flats, walk to Tama lakes, Piripiri Road End caves, and Tramp the mighty Manawatu Gorge. If that seems like a lot, I only listed the most exciting ones and it's maybe 1/3 of the list. How much I can actually do, I have yet to work out, but you can believe I'll be at as many as I can. And, as an after thought, Nadja, Jessica, and I signed up for the surf club where they will teach you how to surf. Should be an exciting semester!