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.
15 February 2010
The First Days of Orientation
Yesterday was the first full, official, major day of orientation. It started at 9AM and went to 9:30PM. Mostly it consisted of a lot of lectures about things that most people seem to be fairly uninterested in. We heard about immigration, which was strange because they really just went over getting a visa, which we all have to have done just to be here. They did send us for a walk around campus so we could stretch our legs. Unfortunately the tour leaders did not seem to know much about the campus other than the few buildings they regularly use. We had a nice lunch outside in the full sun. This was a pleasant surprise because that morning we had woken up to, and walked through, a downcast drizzle. At 4:00 we boarded a set of coach buses for a tour around the city. While they pointed out some useful things, it was difficult to orient myself while sitting in the back of a bus. We all met up again, this time including all the first year students, at the Arena Manawatu. Here we were welcomed by the Mayor and several higher ups from the university. After a very tastety dinner (one many of us wished had happened about two hours earlier) we were subjected to a presentation about starting life at Uni. While this may have been nice for the first years, it was rather tiresome and repetitive for those of us who have been to school already. They covered topics like: You don't have to drink, don't sleep with someone unless you're really sure it's what you want, how to be away from home, basically all things many of the international students had already dealt with. Never the less, the presentation was engaging and quite well done. Probably something they should consider getting in the U.S. This was our attempt to take pictures with five cameras at once all on self-timers. We have many Americans, two Germans, and one Norwegian. See, we can meet new people!! Today's orientation got off to a slow start, repeating some of the information we had heard in previous lectures. However, several of us decided to participate in the "Team Building" activities. While I'm not sure it got us introduced to anyone new or built any teams, the activities were fun. We got to run an obstacle course through a giant inflatable . . . Thing? No idea what to call it. We had tug-of-war, dodge ball (not so much fun with the type of balls we used), "Bridging the Gap (where you use tires to get across the field with a bucket of water), and something like a three legged race only with two wooden boards attached to your feet and the feet of seven other people. All in all pretty fun and we showed our blue pride, with the blue team taking first place with over 700 points. Our prize: small Frisbee, mini-highlighter, and first in line for the lunch BBQ (by the way, the Kiwis think they invented this, while I'm not sure who did, I know Americans would probably claim it as do the Aussies). The rest of the afternoon is filled with lectures and class enrollment, but tonight holds a Maze for those of us on the blue, yellow, and purple teams. Ah yes, and about the Sunday farm tours we did. Massey farms have over 1,000 sheep and over 1,000 cattle. They also have several herding dogs, which we got to see in action. One of them is specially trained to jump on the backs of sheep to get them to go where she wants them. This is only used in chute situations. There is also a deer farm around here somewhere, though we have yet to see them. More on the research being done on the farms to come. As for now, time to sit in a classroom for the next several hours, with hopefully one break to try to get a free bike from the school for the semester.