22 November 2023

My First Holiday Break in New Zealand: Yamika’s Story | Study With New Zealand

Yamika Gandhi

While getting a quality education is high on every student’s list of priorities, spending time away from the classroom and coursework is also important. Whether you only have a day off, a long weekend, or it’s the end of the semester, New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to plan a holiday!

When international student Yamika Gandhi arrived in Christchurch to continue her studies, she suddenly had a lot more freedom about what to do with her money and free time.

“When I came here, I experienced so much freedom because I could work and earn money and use it to travel as much as I wanted.”

“It’s so beautiful here and everything is so accessible. We’ve got mountains in Christchurch and there’s a lake an hour away, too. If we just feel like we want to take a quick one hour trip and come back, we can do that!”

During her time at university in India, she also had free time – but no money to make the most of it.

“We all were very broke. In India, it’s not like you can do a part-time job. It’s just not available.”

“There’s no concept of a minimum hourly wage either, so you can’t really work and earn. So even though I did have a lot of time in my university days, I still could not go anywhere without asking my parents for money.”

Due to the crime rate, families often did not let their children travel far, meaning holidays were spent close to home and close to family members.

“Our parents are pretty strict about our safety, so I never went on a trip anywhere with friends. But there are no safety issues here because New Zealand is a very safe country.”

So, when she had the opportunity to fly from Christchurch to Central Otago to visit family friends, she booked her flight and headed off on a new experience.

“At first, I was a little hesitant about it because I wasn’t sure if I could afford to buy a plane ticket. But when I noticed that the plane ticket was like $60 NZD, I just immediately bought it!”

“It was the prettiest flight ever! I saw so many pretty things.”

Landing in Queenstown, Yamika and her family friends went to the iconic burger restaurant ‘Fergburger’ and spent several hours relaxing by Lake Wakatipu before going to Arrowtown for sightseeing, and then through to Wanaka, where her hosts had recently bought a house.

She visited Lake Wanaka to see the famous Wanaka Willow; a tree that gives the illusion of growing out of the surface of the water.

On her way back to Christchurch, she decided to travel by the InterCity bus. A seven hour journey, it was a great opportunity to see the local scenery more in-depth.

And her favourite part of the trip? The feeling of independence she had, paying for her own tickets, and planning the whole journey on her own like an adult.

“Planning every little thing on my own without restrictions made me feel like such an adult. That was the most exciting part, I felt.”

Yamika shares her experiences as an international student on her Instagram blog (@yamika.gandhi) and her YouTube channel.

With so many students already juggling a busy work and study schedule, time away from coursework can seem like something enjoy after graduation. However, it’s highly recommended that students spend time away from their studies to relax and unwind.

This blog, written by a former international student in New Zealand, has several tips on helping international students balance schoolwork and the potential to travel in New Zealand.

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About the contributors
Yamika Gandhi

Originally from India, Yamika is studying her Master of Applied Data Science at the University of Canterbury. She shares her experiences on her Instagram blog (@yamika.gandhi) and her YouTube channel (@yamika).