31 August 2016

The Things I Learnt Studying English in New Zealand | Study With New Zealand

Yuko Shimada
English language student from Japan

Headwind and tailwind, challenge and chance. Wellington, full of wonder.

Hi, My name is Yuko and I'm from Japan. I halted my career in Japan to head to Wellington and pursue my dream of working in the film industry in New Zealand. I'm currently studying at The Campbell Institute English Language School to arm myself with better English and help build my confidence. I'd love to share my experiences of what it’s like to study here in Wellington!

Wellington student experience

Vibrant city life

You can enjoy something a little bit marvellous every weekend in this city; such as the night market, festivals and galleries that change exhibitions often and that are mostly free of charge! The city entertains not only travellers but also the locals, which explains why the city is so full of ideas. For me, however, what I like the most is going to the movies as it's a very different experience to my country. The audience is more vocal and laughs out loud a lot. I watched 'Civil War' (no spoilers) in a theatre, and when Spiderman appeared, a boy's arms suddenly shot up and he yelled "Hey!". That made my day because I was so excited too! I feel freer as I’m not just watching with a crowd of strangers, but watching together with everyone else. That means I often go to a movie on Friday nights for language practice and as a reward at the end of the week—it's a vibrant city experience.

Teachers in the city

How much English did I know before I came? To be honest, ZERO. One day, I went to a cafe and ordered a hot chocolate and a bagel. The cashier asked me something, so I answered “Here,” because I thought she had said “Have here or take away?” but actually, she had asked “Ham or bacon?” I could hear an umpire's voice in my head shouting, “OUT!!”. It was funny but I almost swore in front of her because I'd already been studying English for 2 months. Actually, I've had similar experiences in this city quite often, because everybody treats us like locals, which is really great and much appreciated. It makes me feel like I have a lot of teachers and can push myself. Wellingtonians have helped me with my English.

Wellington student-life experience NZ

Valued friends

Even if your hometown is multi-cultural, it's a rare experience to have a conversation with so many nationalities in one day. At my school, there are students from a range of countries. Everybody has a different purpose for learning and they have varied skill levels. This international conversation is definitely an irreplaceable experience for me. My friends tell me lots of interesting things and they are not only older than me but there are also those who are younger. I love to listen to stories about their different cultures. Also, they all have an admirable attitude to studying. I often ask for their advice and sometimes it really works. Of course achieving your goals is something you have to work towards yourself but amongst friends, it's much easier.

Thinking about home

"Homesick? Never." That's what I said 3 months ago. Learning every day is stimulating, but I often struggle with the study because the language is not easy, so sometimes I feel sad and mope around. I actually didn't feel homesick until I got some amazingly happy news, and that was when I missed my friends at home because they would have understood how much it meant to me. Only after leaving home, did I realise how precious my friends in Japan are. Besides, I’m a bit sheepish to say so, but ironically, I'm more interested in my country now than I was before. At home a lot of news is available but here it's easy to miss. However, my friends often ask me "What’s happening at home?", which keeps me on my toes.  

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About the contributors
Yuko Shimada
English language student from Japan