Cultural Adjustment

It’s a little over three weeks since I’ve settled into my new home of Wellington, New Zealand, and I am happy to report that I feel I have adjusted quite smoothly. New Zealand culture is not too crazy different than American culture, however there are tons of little things, and these little things sometimes do add up to remind me that I am in fact in a different country.

The biggest difference between our culture and New Zealand’s is that they drive on the opposite side of the rode. At first, this might not seem like a huge deal. It’s simple right, just do everything you do normally, but opposite. WRONG! My second weekend here, my friends and I did a road trip up to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing so we rented a car. I only got 5 minutes out of the car rental place before popping a tire on a curb because I was about to enter the wrong side of a parking lot. An oncoming car was nice enough to remind me of my mistake by blaring it’s horn and scaring me into the curb. Driving is so robotic for me at this point, that being on high alert while driving is here is necessary, and exhausting!

The food in New Zealand is for the most part all grown and made here. It’s easy to tell. I find that I can eat foods like bread and pasta here where I have a difficult time digesting gluten home. But let’s have a quick talk about coffee. As a mild caffeine addict, I’ve been in a bit of mourning for my beloved iced coffees. Here in Wellington, coffee is made commonly one of two ways depending on the cafe. Either you get a cup of milk with coffee shots (kind of like a latte but here it’s called a Flat White), or you get a sort of milkshake coffee drink. Basically the coffee shots and ice-cream. What does a girl have to do around here for a tall ice coffee with almond milk and a shot of espresso?

THE FISH HERE IS UNBELIEVABLE. As a seafood lover, I am beyond happy with the seafood available for students at uni and also for the public at the markets. So fresh and tasty! I eat salmon for breakfast and lunch almost everyday.

Let’s talk about my accommodations for a little bit! I love my house. Student housing here is really nicely done. However, I think my next biggest cultural adjustment would be my bed. While this is student housing and I wasn’t expected a queen sized feather bed, I do miss my beloved bed back home! Here at Vic, you are taken care of in the student housing. They provide you with a lot. Dishwasher, washer dryer, basic cleaning supplies, and most everything you’ll need. I was extremely happy about this 🙂

So all in all I feel I am adjusting to not only life in New Zealand, but life in Wellington (which is said to have it’s own city culture) quite well. I think not only being from a similar society, but also growing up near New York City has prepared me well for the flow of Wellington!

The picture I’m attaching is from a 10 hour hike I did across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing! My biggest adventure here so far!

I'm a psychology major focusing on art therapy as well as gender and sexuality studies. I've never left the country before aside from a couple of trips to Canada, so going to New Zealand for an entire semester is a huge jump for me! I find leisure in art, music, beaches, outdoor activities, and writing. I hope to incorporate my interests in art, gender, and sexuality in my future and I will be observing these key elements especially while abroad!

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