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Study in Bay of Plenty

The Joys of Living in a Homestay

One of the first things that you have to arrange before arriving in New Zealand is for you to have a place to stay. There are many options to choose from ranging from residential halls, to flats, and serviced apartments.

I decided to stay with Graham and Marissa, a Kiwi couple in a homestay and I guess this was the best decision I made before I went here.  It’s been six months now since I arrived here and looking back on my experiences, I think these are the benefits of living in a homestay, just in case you are in the crossroads of making a sound decision at this very moment:

  • You will have a virtual walking Kiwi tutor immediately adjacent to your room. Graham is a 100% Rotoruan and having spent most of his life here, he almost certainly knows all the nooks and crannies of this beautiful city. He has taught me a lot – from politics, work and social etiquette, healthcare system, flora, fauna, name it he has shared it with me!  I usually practice my English with him and I have learned to decipher some of the slangs and figures of speech he throws at me most of the time. Kiwi food?  Graham is a very good cook and he has introduced me to a lot of food that one finds at a typically Kiwi table – mince, boil-ups, roasted pork, salads, pies, desserts and a lot more (though I still sneak in with a plate of steamed rice most of the time!).  He has showed me the art of gardening because he is simply good at doing that. One thing I would never forget was when he said that “the best food that you will offer your family someday is in the garden because it has grown out from your heart”.
    • The diameter of your circle will increase fast!  Graham is a Kiwi and Marissa is Filipino so I get the best of both worlds.  They have a huge circle of friends and a family which I have met.  Within several weeks, my circle of connection and acquaintances exponentially grew.  Their family and their closest friends have been a great help to me as I assimilated in my new crowd.  In fact, my first job was due to Graham’s recommendation and I had successfully secured a job a month after I arrived. Pretty fast as compared to the other ones I knew!  Marissa has introduced me to a lot of Filipinos here in Rotorua so I get the chance to mingle with my own countrymen too!
    • You get to hitch most of the time.  The Kiwis enjoy the outdoors and weekends are especially devoted to it.  In a span of two months, together with EJ my friend, I have been swimming in the waters of Ohope Beach in Whakatane, touring the gardens of Hamilton, climbing Mt. Maunganui in Tauranga, walking the streets of Matamata, discovering Auckland, frolicking in the shores of Lake Taupo, buying fruits in Te Puke, seeing the majestic mountains of Tongariro and Ruapehu, and roaming around seeing the best of Rotorua and its surrounding areas.  It’s a good way to know the country and traveling offers a lot of benefits to a weary heart. 

    These I believe are the benefits of living in a homestay.  Wherever I will be in the future, I would definitely go back and visit them once again – back to the roots when I first came to appreciate how beautiful New Zealand is.

    Homestay experiance

    My Friends

    • You get a family. Probably the best benefit of being in a homestay is getting an instant mom and dad to take care of you. For me I wanted to have the security offered by a foster family. It’s a good way to instill peace of mind to the family you left behind at home.  There’s no better way to pacify their anxieties than to know you are here and being taken care of.  A homestay family offers a ton of advice and a valuable support once culture shock takes a grip on you and homesickness is limiting you to be what you wanted to become.When my wife and my daughter visited me here three months after I arrived, they generously offered their home and treated my family as their own. It’s soothing to know that someone is out there is looking after you and offering you a mug of warm ginger lemon tea to lift your spirits up. This often comes with a simple note reminding you to eat, stay fit and be healthy!

    Graham, Marissa, and EJ has been my family away from home

    Bay of Plenty homestay

    Graham and me at Mt. Maunganui; my wife with Marissa at Taupo

    Bay of Plenty experiance

    Having a great time together

    Philip Y. Lopez

    By Philip Y. LopezFilipino Post Graduate Diploma Student

    Updated 9 days ago

    Philip is currently studying at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua taking up a Level 8 Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Professional Studies (Mentoring and Leadership). He finished a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology (Medical Laboratory Science) and is a physician with speciality training in anatomic and clinical pathology. He earned his Masters of Science degree in the Philippines and had worked as an academician in his beloved country.  He is currently finishing his PhD through distance learning alongside his present endeavour for a New Zealand qualification.  

    *Views expressed are the blogger's own
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