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Farewell to My Study Abroad Experience at Alfriston College

Farewell to My Study Abroad Experience at Alfriston College

I just can’t believe that my time in New Zealand passed so fast!

I went to New Zealand at the end of January last year and I left in the holidays between terms two and three. So, all in all, I stayed two terms. I can really say that in those five and a half months I actually had “the time of my life”.

One of the biggest reasons for this is of course Alfriston College (AC). It took me a really long time to decide on a school, because it had to meet a lot of criteria, but with AC I found exactly what I was looking for.

Even though I was a bit nervous at the beginning I felt welcome from day one. Both staff and students were always there for me when I needed help or was lost. One thing I didn’t expect was for everybody to be so open and interested. People just came up to me, started a conversation, and were interested in my background and culture. The people at school gave me the feeling that they actually wanted me to be there, which is also probably one of the reasons why it was so easy for me to adapt so quickly to the Kiwi lifestyle.

Alfriston College experience  collage

Definitely one of the highlights during my school time, and what I would really recommend to all international students, was Outdoor Education. I got the chance to explore the beauty of New Zealand's nature, trying out completely new things I've never done before, like sailing on a racing yacht and surfing. I very quickly built new and strong friendships with my classmates because of the 3 or 4 day trips.

I also really enjoyed our different whānaus (family), because here at AC, school isn’t just a duty, but also family. Special events like sports day, cross country and choir all strengthen this connection.

Another thing I really enjoyed at Alfriston College is that I got to discover many new cultures which I am definitely not able to at my school in Austria. Also learning the haka gave me an even greater connection to New Zealand and its culture.

At Alfriston College I built such good friendships that it feels like I’ve known these people forever – I would count them as some of my best friends. Not only that, I count New Zealand now as my second home – I actually have a second family there now.

I have to admit, before I actually met my host family I was a bit nervous, because it is one of the biggest impacts of any exchange. But really, all those “worrying thoughts” were unnecessary, because I couldn’t have got a better one. My host parents, Ine and Barend, treated me like a family member and their daughter, from day one. And also, after a time, my host brothers just treated me like their sister, which included teasing each other and play fighting. I felt really at home and I knew that if I had problems I could always go and talk to them, because that is what a family does.

I am just so thankful for everybody and everything that made my stay in New Zealand so perfect and unforgettable. If I could plan my exchange again, I would chose the exact same things because there is really nothing I would like to change.

Thank you Alfriston College, I will never forget this time!


By Tatjana NernetAustrian High School Student

Updated 1 year ago

Tatjana Nemet is a 17 year old student from Vienna in Austria. She recently spent half a year at high school in Auckland as an exchange student. Tatjana’s passion is traveling and learning about new cultures. In New Zealand she improved her English, met lots of new people and had “the time of my life.”

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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