Studying at school in Christchurch
If you are wondering where in the world has the greatest education, beautiful nature and where you can study and relax at the same time. Then, Christchurch, New Zealand has it all.
In New Zealand, pupils can choose their own subjects, mostly based on courses they are interested in studying at university or pursuing as a career after High School. High school in New Zealand also has incredible events such as school formals, the chance to volunteer and the opportunity to become ambassadors for the school. In Vietnam, students are not allowed to choose subjects, every pupil has to study 13-14 subjects (some students don't do physical education due to their health).
Accommodation, depending on the suburb, is very peaceful. In my hometown in Vietnam, most houses are really small because of the high population and they are quite noisy.
In Christchurch, people’s lifestyle is extremely simple and peaceful. People go to work early in the morning so traffic jams do not affect them. After work, some people go for a run, a walk or bike to enjoy the fresh air, otherwise, they would stay at home watching TV, cooking dinner or spending time with their family. On the weekend, they might have a cup of coffee with their friends, visit their relatives, go to the beach or mountain biking/hiking.
No matter what the season, I cannot complain about New Zealand’s weather. Spring starts from September to November, Summer from December to February, Autumn from March to May and Winter from June to August. Courses in Christchurch normally start in February and finish around November-December. In February, it is the last month of summer so the weather is still warm, slowly giving way for Autumn. In general, the weather is very pleasant.
Positives and negatives of studying abroad
Students who study abroad will be really homesick at first and lonely and jet-lagged due to the different time zone, environment, people and culture. The New Zealand community, in general, is nice and welcoming. Culture may be a problem initially but you will fit in easily.
“Study abroad” doesn’t mean “studying all the time” as you might think. “Study abroad” simply means a purposeful adventure. It is the best way to improve the language that you are interested in. It also gives you independent experiences and helps you to develop a deep understanding of yourself. You will gain new friends from all over the world as well as learn about a new culture, improve skills and gain new skills.
Support services at school
In New Zealand, teachers focus on practical and experimental as long as it is safe and fun. Furthermore, pupils are nice and welcoming, it is not hard to be friends with anyone as long as you open your heart. If you struggling with any subjects, do not feel shy but feel free to ask teachers because they are always happy to explain more thoroughly.
In New Zealand, student services will try their best to look for a homestay that you feel most comfortable living in. My experience is that they are really nice people, who understand how it feels to live far away from your family, friends and culture so they always try their best to give you a sense of belonging. Also, food might be a problem as they don’t know your taste, feel free to let them know so they can be prepared for you.
I hope my experiences can help people who wants to study abroad. Study abroad is such an experience of a lifetime but it is also what you make of it. Don’t be scared, just give it a try and challenge yourself.
About the contributors
Quoc Loc Doan, also known as Stevie Doan, is from Hanoi in Vietnam. He is studying at Middleton Grange School, a high school in Christchurch, New Zealand. Stevie intends to study nursing at ARA Institute of Technology after graduating. In his spare time, he enjoys shopping, painting the landscape of Christchurch or hanging out with his friends over cups of coffee or at the movies.