So, you're new and want to fit in with the locals: Go get yourself involved with the community! Make yourself busy by spending your free time after studying exploring attractions around your area and get to know your neighbours. There are also heaps of volunteering opportunities for university students or as residents around your city.
3. Keep in touch with family and friends back home
Every time I felt a little homesick, I would get in touch with my family and friends back home. There is a sense of relief and therapy talking in your mother tongue after speaking in English most days.
It's the 21st century - which is a fantastic time for technology! You could use FaceTime or any video call apps, or get in touch on social media. As much as you are excited to talk to them, they must be looking forward to hearing your stories as well.
Sometimes I like being a little old school and send my family and friends postcards! The cheapest only cost a dollar, but you can also write them letters.
It's essential to keep in touch with old friends, even when you have new ones!
4. Eat food from home and explore different cuisines
Did you know that there are 213 different ethnicities in New Zealand? Aotearoa is a multiethnic society and home to millions of people of different cultures. If you're walking around town, you'll find all kinds of restaurants of different cuisines. If you feel like having Chinese or Indian food, or living like a local and having fish and chips - the choice is yours.
One productive way I found to satisfy my home food cravings is by practising my own cooking skills. I would also invite my Kiwi friends over to enjoy Malaysian dishes as well. You can easily find special ingredients from back home in the International aisles at the supermarket or Asian Food Markets around Dunedin!
Not only that, but the International Food Festival is also run during Orientation Week.
5. Decorate your new place to suit your personality
I remember being extremely excited every time I moved to a new place because it was a chance for me to design and decorate a new room. I would find inspiration on Tumblr and Pinterest under 'workplace inspiration' or 'interior designs' etc. to find ideas based on my personality. Most of the items from my room are from Kmart, the Warehouse and Typo!
Adapting to a new environment isn't easy - but once you get there, you'll feel at ease throughout the rest of your studies! It's important to know that you are not alone, and there are other international students, just like you, who feel the same way. There are a lot of resources and support centres and you can get help from the university, friends and also people from the community.
Remember, although we try to fit in with the locals, never forget to embrace your own unique culture as well, because that is what makes New Zealand colourful.