2. Don’t worry about the language
You will make mistakes and, to be honest, people won’t judge you because your English isn’t perfect. Just the fact that you speak another language will amaze most people. It’s all about not taking yourself too seriously, and being willing to learn. If you don’t understand something – ask. People will be happy to help you improve your English.
3. Try not to have high expectations
Personally, this is the best advice I received before coming to New Zealand. Of course, it’s hard to not have any expectations at all. With higher expectations, there’s also a higher risk of being disappointed. Most things will, regardless of what you expect, turn out differently to what you thought. Being open-minded, and sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone, is the key.
4. Make both local and international friends
For me, realising how important it is to have international friends, as well as kiwi friends, took a while. Having friends who’re in the same situation as you are in is worth gold as they are the only ones who can truly understand what you’re going through.
5. If you have the opportunity – travel during your time in New Zealand
Ask your school for help as they will be able to give you options and point you in the right direction. New Zealand is such an amazing place with so much to offer so while you’re here, why not travel around? I had the most amazing road trip around the South Island and there are several companies offering tours for international students. Your school might even have their own activities and trips for international students.
I think one of the most important things you can do is to make the best out of your time, and all the opportunities you get. Appreciate every day, because you will find out that time is going so much faster than you think it is. This is regardless of if you’re staying for just a few months, or longer.
Taking a year abroad while you’re still in high school is something most people only dream about and, if you have the opportunity, I would say go for it! You will have days, both before and during your time, when you question why you’re doing this and realise how crazy it seems. To be honest, the whole situation for me; studying at a high school, in another country, in another language, on the other side of the world still seems surreal, even after half a year.