Christina a medical student from London, worked in New Zealand for 6 weeks on an overseas medical placement at Starship Children's Hospital. She stayed with Auckland hosts Charlie and Kelly, who made her feel really welcome in their home. Read on to hear more about her trip and pick up some tips if you're relocating to the North Island.
Christina in Herne Bay
I was nervous embarking on a 6-week journey across the world on my own, but knowing that there was a loving family that I would stay with was comforting for myself, and also reassuring for my family and boyfriend back at home. I developed a wonderful friendship with the family of my Homestay. There is a mutual sense of trust and respect you develop that is unique to a Homestay visit, that you cannot get with other types of accommodation. They made me feel at home and welcomed me into their family, giving me a first-hand experience of the country, way of life and friendly people of New Zealand.
I was working at Auckland Hospital as part of my abroad medical elective, which was an insightful learning experience; I learnt a lot about diseases prevalent with specific demographics, and management protocols in New Zealand that I would never have considered before. On the weekends, I travelled to Waiheke Island, Coromandel, Bay of Islands, Rotoroa and hiked the Tongariro crossing. The North Island is beautiful with stunning, untouched scenery immersed with Māori culture. People in New Zealand take much pride in their culture, history and way of life. Learning about the Māori people was fascinating. I also went to a rugby game at Eden Park Stadium, reigniting my love for a sport that the Kiwis are extremely passionate and proud to be a strong part of internationally.
The Blues vs. The Highlanders at Eden Park Stadium
Rent a car and drive out of Auckland when the weather is good to see the beauty of the North Island. Take your hiking boots, a necessity in New Zealand! The Tongariro Crossing is an incredible hike with stunning views and Mount Doom in the distance. Stay in Taupo or Rotoroa for a night en route to break up the journey there, and see the beautiful geysers, lakes and geothermal wonders! Make sure to get an AT HOP card whilst getting to places around Auckland, they are extremely handy for traveling across the city via public transport. Enjoy the view of Auckland at the One Tree Hill domain - at sunrise and sunset, it is particularly stunning. Food shopping can be expensive, so find your nearest Pak ‘n’ Save which is great for doing a weekly food shop in bulk.
Kayaking to a secluded beach at the Bay of Islands
I discovered a lot about culture in New Zealand I had little appreciation for before. I developed lifelong friends with my homestay family, and am lucky to have had their wonderful company. They took such great care of me, that I will forever be grateful for; I truly feel as though I found a family and home in New Zealand that I hadn’t expected to find before I arrived. I learnt about the Māori way of life; their value of “Manaakitanga“ was particular resonant with my experience at my Homestay - the idea of welcoming guests with friendly hospitality, generosity and developing mutual respect toward one another. It is a spirit and value in New Zealand that I will carry with me, and always remember as a part of the wonderful experience I had whilst I visited the country.
Sweet Kumara Fries
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