By Marina Stuart
Junior Heather Campbell has just started her junior year at SLA. Why? For the past five and a half months she was attending high school in New Zealand.
“I’ve always kinda wanted to take a year abroad,” Campbell said of her unusual plan.
“I decided I wanted go to another country that spoke English but not Europe, I went through a program that helped me choice the school and gave me a lot of freedom, so I had a lot of choices of school s throughout NZ.”
Campbell stayed with a host family–where she had two little sisters–and went to a normal high school in the town of Wellington.
While she was there she was like a regular student.
“It was a normal high school but it had a strong international program so there were lots of kids from other nationalities,” she said.
The differences between Wellington and Philadelphia are pronounced. “It’s a really hilly place and it’s by the water, there is a river and beaches, socially, there are a lot less people, its a small city, with a lot of suburbs. Between SLA and Wellington High School, Wellington is enormous, the number of people at our school is just one grade, there are about 2000 students and heaps of teachers.”
“Another difference is the time, they are 18 hours ahead of us and their seasons are opposite ours. Right now they have summer break!”
New Zealanders, or Kiwis as they are sometimes called, speak English, their slang and some terms are very different form ours.
“It’s an English speaking country but it has a Kiwi accents, much different than ours, they say “sweet-as” which is like saying “fine” they say “choice” which translates to “awesome”. People use the word “mint” which means “spot on or cool”. They also say aye at the end of some sentences, like asking an opinion, not like Canadians and they say mate all the time.”
Fitting in is never easy at any school but it’s worse if you know you are only going to be there for a few months.
“It was hard to get to know some of the Kiwis at first, because they have so many international students they don’t like to get attached,” said Campbell.
“It was hard to get to know them, but my first friend was my little kiwi buddy and she took me to get lunch my first day there.”
Campbell is not the only international adventurer at SLA. At this time there is another Junior in Thailand, Claire Elliot, who got there through the Rotary Club.
As for students thinking about going abroad, Campbell advises: “Do it, go, you want to make friends and immerse yourself quickly.”