I chose to study in New Zealand because I am fascinated with New Zealand's history and culture.
Studying at Victoria University
In Poland, we do not have access to many books about New Zealand history or professors who specialise in this area. Once in New Zealand, I studied a fantastic course about Māori society and culture. This course has developed my understanding of history from a Māori perspective as well as my basic knowledge of Māori language, I now know basic Te Reo Māori vocabulary.
The course I studied about New Zealand politics and government provided me with a better understanding of current New Zealand politics and development of government. There were many guests lectures, prominent members of parliament (MPs) and journalists who were interesting and informative. I also had the opportunity to attend a question time at Parliament. I have never visited the Polish Parliament or met any Polish MP’s, so this was a very exciting experience.
We also studied a course about World War One in which we discussed the memory of war, women during the war and the influence of war on the environment. It was, for me, a totally new perspective, which changed the way I thought about The Great War. The staff from Victoria University encouraged me to participate in discussion during class, allowing me to offer my European point of view.
There are differences between the Polish and New Zealand educational system. At Victoria University, I had to provide assignments for courses more systematically than I was used too. International students also have the same requirements as New Zealand students, which at times was difficult and time-consuming.
Things to Pack
I really encourage you to pack a good waterproof jacket. You must pack a hat, especially in Wellington, because of the wind – it's cold! New Zealand houses do not have central heating, therefore, thick winter socks should be included in your luggage. You must take comfortable shoes as you will do a lot of walking. In my opinion, it is also nice to pack something which can be comforting when you are missing home.
Living in Wellington
Do not be afraid if you do not understand Kiwis at the beginning. You will get used to their vocabulary and sense of humour. Wellingtonians are the most friendly and open people I have ever met. I never felt embarrassed or uncomfortable.
Wellington is an amazing city. You can visit Te Papa Museum or just spend time on Oriental Bay or Cuba Street. You will easily find a place to buy coffee and it will be always delicious. My favourite places in Wellington are Makara Beach, the Harbourside Market and The Waterfront.