It is exactly 7 weeks since I first arrived in Auckland, New Zealand. And how is it? Amazing.
To start with, it is safe to say the journey was hell. 30 hours of travelling, horrendous plane food, you can imagine… However, the journey is a distant (yet tragic) memory, in what seeks to be a fantastic year.
Whilst I would in general describe Auckland as relatively “European”, there is something about the city that makes it like no where I have been before. With an abundance of shops, restaurants, bars, beaches and extremely friendly people, the reasons it repeatedly falls within the top 10 liveable cities in the world are immediately clear.
In my short time here, I have visited some amazing places. Glow worm caves, waterfalls, natural hot springs, rivers and some incredible beaches to name a few. Whilst it is Winter, the climate is pretty temperate, and when the sun is out it is easily comparable to a British summers day. Next week is mid-semester break here, so I am taking a trip to the South Island. I am told this is where the “real” New Zealand scenery is (think Lord of the Rings) and I cannot wait.
Whilst I have experienced no real culture shock or home sickness here, there are some differences which can be irritating. The current exchange rate is unbelievably bad, and with a generally higher cost of living, it is clear that the year ahead will be much more expensive than I had planned.
However, that being said, Auckland feels like home already and I really can’t believe I have only been here for 7 weeks. University life is great and it truly was the perfect choice for a year abroad. I am unbelievably excited to see what the year ahead brings…
Written by Abi Greaves – University of Auckland