Gap Year in New Zealand – Orientation on arrival

Posted on the 10th February 2020

New Zealand Lattitude Orientation January 2020: for our “gappers” beginning their gap year in New Zealand, a mixture of fun, making new friends, learning and recovering from jetlag. The emotional rollercoaster of excitement and nerves make the first day of orientation one to remember!

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The first nights activities included pizza, a classroom session and getting to meet some slightly more experienced volunteers currently placed in NZ, followed by some well needed rest.

Fun activities on the second day like visiting the Canterbury Museum, sightseeing in central Christchurch, going to the beach and Fish and Chips on the Port Hills while watching the sunset helped develop a sense of belonging to in New Zealand for the next few months.

Preparing breakfast and lunch was a team work activity, as well as learning about NZ supermarkets, shopping and money. To avoid cross-cultural miscommunication, several workshops and learning opportunities focused on Maori Tikanga (cultural history and values) and more general Kiwi culture.

gap year new zealand

Preparing the volunteers for their roles as School Assistants was a focus for much of the orientation and it was great to have some current volunteers available to lead question and answer sessions on the exciting challenges of volunteering in the New Zealand school system.

The final day is about getting the volunteers to their schools and was a lesson in repacking bags and the casual nature of airport security for small aircraft in NZ!

The experiences and friends these volunteers will make while in Aotearoa New Zealand will be lifelong and something to look back on with satisfaction and a smile.

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