Tilly’s time in Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted on the 17th May 2019

Tilly Greensit has spent the last few months volunteering as a School Assistant in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is spending 11 months on placement overall, and is hopefully getting to know the country and community by travelling around during her free time.  Christchurch Girls High School is one of our education placements in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island; the city has numerous parks, beaches, malls and countless activities to get involved in. Only 1 hour away from the Southern Alps, it is ideal for both winter and summer adventures.

Thank you Tilly for answering a few of our questions and sharing your experience with us so far.  We even managed to get a glimpse of your journey through your fantastic photography! We hope that you all enjoy reading about Tilly’s trip to New Zealand just as much as we did:

What first interested you in your country and placement type?

New Zealand is far away from home and I had heard a lot about the country from family and friends. I chose the teaching assistant as I know I want to work with people but I was still unsure about what I want to do in the future.

What were you most excited about before departure?

I was most excited about meeting new friends, discovering my independence and gaining confidence.

Describe a typical day at your placement

No day is the same at Acland!

I start work at 6:30am and help with the breakfast Rolls and room check, then I will walk the girls to school. I stay at school till 12;30, helping in the library and general admin. This normally involves lots of scanning.

In the evening I help with prep from 6:30-8pm.

I am involved in new tasks everyday, however these are the staple jobs.

 What are some of your highlights so far?

So far, my Highlights have been travelling around New Zealand with my friends, spending the summer holidays in Perth Western Australia and meeting lots of different people.

With my Placement I have had the opportunity to go on school camps. This is a grate way to explore more of the country for free.

Any challenges? How have you overcome these?

AS I turned 18 on my first week in NZ I was close to age with some of the older boarders, I had to learn to understand the balance of being someone they can talk to and having the girls respect my role.

How have you coped being away from home? Any tips for volunteers that might be struggling?

I think on the hole I have coped well, being away from home. I will have my down moments where I want mum to sort things out for me and miss the familiarities of home.

When I do feel home sick, I just accept the feeling I am having then I either facetime home or go for a run.

If you have other gap students around you, reach out and talk about how you are feeling. Everyone will feel homesick at some point.

Any advice for people that are considering doing a Lattitude placement?

If you are considering doing a latitude placement go for it. Ask lots of questions.

Be prepared to work hard, as this is a work placement not a holiday.

Go into work with a positive attitude and if you are ever unsure then ask lots of question, the other staff members as they are used to having ‘gappies’ at the school.

Thank you Tilly, enjoy the rest of your time as a volunteer and we hope to share many more of your stories and pictures soon!

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