Studying in Hamilton as a Latin American Student
Before I came to New Zealand, I didn't know what to expect from Hamilton. I felt as if I were going to the land of the unknown. Nevertheless, I was ready to begin the adventure of my life.
A helping hand
I still remember the day I arrived in Hamilton. After meeting my homestay family, I went straight to the university to enrol in my programme. The first thing that I noticed about people living and studying here is that they are always willing to give others a helping hand. In fact, the staff at the university were very helpful and wherever I went people smiled at me – a nice lady even helped me return home when I got lost!
Being Latin American
After a few days, I had the opportunity to interact with my classmates, all of whom represented different nationalities. It was a great experience learning more about their cultures, as well as sharing my own Latin American customs.
One of the most curious things that has happened to me as a Latin student in Hamilton is that many people make assumptions about the place I come from. For instance, many people believe that Ecuador is hot, in fact, Hamilton is hotter than Quito, or since I come from South America that I speak Portuguese – I wish I could! So being able to clarify things has been both enjoyable and interesting.
However, before coming to Hamilton, I also had assumptions about studying at Waikato University. I thought that I was going to be the only Latin American student in my class! However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my classmates comes from Colombia.
Although I had dreamed of studying in an English-speaking city, I did miss speaking my mother tongue, Spanish, so it felt good to meet someone from my culture. I was also thrilled to discover that there is a small Latin community in Hamilton and that I can get the main ingredient that I need to cook “arepas!” Arepas are a type of corn cake and one of Venezuela’s traditional dishes.
Hamilton, the city I now call home
Because of those experiences (and many others), I appreciate the beauty of the city that I now call my home, especially the diversity and intercultural understanding between people. No matter the path that I follow in the future, I will always cherish my precious moments in Hamilton, which have helped me learn and grow as a person.
About the contributors
Guillermo Revelo, a Venezuelan-Ecuadorian student, is studying for a master’s degree in Business and Management at the University of Waikato. Guillermo loves studying in New Zealand because people are friendly, the country is beautiful. He has developed professional and interpersonal skills as well as independence. *Views expressed are the blogger's own