Since I’m on the other side of the world right now I bet you would like to know what differences I’ve seen or felt or whatever by now. So I think I do you the favor and try to think of some.
First of all the weather. It’s windier, it can be really windy, which is kind of stupid sometimes because you don’t know what to wear. The weather also changes really quickly, but the Kiwis are all kind of used to that, and after a few weeks it should be alright for a European too to wear shorts although it’s raining.
The clouds – even the clouds are more beautiful than the German ones! The sky itself seems to be bigger, higher, and the clouds look like cream or wool all the time. There’s more freedom everywhere. I think that’s really something that has some influence on the atmosphere of the whole country.
By the way, even Auckland, the biggest city as you all should know, is full of trees! There’s green everywhere, which is just beautiful, even the mainstreet doesn’t have the heavy depressing feeling of big cities.
Then the traffic. I’ve said enough about public transport, it’s actually not so bad at all, if you know where to go and when to push the ‘stop’-button, because it’s really cheap (if you don’t happen to have an idiot as a driver who doesn’t believe that you are a student) and you can just go everywhere. It makes you feel independent. 🙂 I’m finally used to look to the right side first if I want to cross a road, I wonder when I will be confused again because I still think I’m looking to the wrong side and then want to look to the left side first. Hehe. But even if you look to the bad side you will hardly cause an accident because Kiwis are usually very careful and relaxed drivers. Something that I had to get used to, too, is that they always stop for pedestrians if you are near a zebra crossing, and sometimes even if you try to cross the road anywhere. That’s very nice, but when I’m back in Germany I will probably go to hospital very quickly because of unfriendly German drivers. Or rather because I just want some cars to stop that won’t have to stop.
The people here really are more relaxed and friendly in general. On the other hand they still have some problems that are common in Germany too, like a lot of the youth drinking heaps of alcohol just to get drunk or whatever.
School’s really interesting. I’ve had a discussion with a friend today about the basic knowledge of the Kiwis because the courses we have in Germany too are very easy, they are learning things that we’ve learnt some years ago. So my opinion about it is this: Basic knowledge is something you can discuss. What do you have to know, and what don’t you? Because most of the stuff we are “learning” in Germany (even if we honestly try to learn something we forget all of it after the next test anyway) is totally unneccessary (for living) and no basic knowledge at all. Here you have the possibility to specialise very early which is great I think. I mean, there’s this “You’re learning for live, not for school” thing but this is really not true in Germany. In NZ it is. If you want to get into the arts you can have like, four different art courses (design, practical, photography etc) and if you want to to get into business you can have business as a course, and economics, or if you’re a sports guy you can have all those different ways of getting into sports. You see?
It’s also kind of fun to go to school because they are all so relaxed – as I said (in Germany they would try to “motivate” us by scaring us and saying how serious and difficult everything is). The only thing that I don’t like so much (or rather that I’m not used to yet) is that they’re doing a lot more practical stuff instead of theoretical.
This friend I mentioned was kind of scared of how serious the docs around here would be, like, how much they know about their job. I wonder what doctor I would prefer: one who doesn’t know every exact happening in the human body and their evolutionary background and everything, or one who hasn’t had enough sleep for a week or so and is awake for 38 hours thanks to heaps of coffee. Hmmm… I wonder, I wonder.
Some general differences: Have a look at the school’s floor plan at http://www.orewa.school.nz. There’s only one block that has two levels, the rest is almost like bungalows, with many windows, and always full of class’ workings. There are also trees everywhere. We have form period every morning, which means that you have to sit in your form class and listen to the form teacher who reads out school notes interesting for everyone. Once in a week is House Assembly, (there are I think 5 houses named after a famous Kiwi) that’s cool, it’s like a festival or dunno what. The house monitors throw lollies into the crowd and they are dressed in the house’s colour (in my case black (+white) :)) and they say that we have to beat the other houses and that we are the best house etc. It’s fun 😀 School starts at 8.40 a.m. and you have five of the seven subjects you’ve chosen, so it’s kind of a revolving system, you’ve got a time table for two weeks. Every course is one hour long, which is good if you’re watching a movie, for example, or just enjoying the course, and it’s bad if you don’t like the subject. Hehe. A school day ends at 3.15 p.m. It’s weird, in a good way, how very quickly you get used to school here.
Something more about the time: Actually, most of the shops here close at 6 p.m. I mean, six! That’s still afternoon! That’s why you can’t go shopping very well after school. On the other hand, shops are also open on Sundays, so you have the whole weekend to do whatever you want.
Kiwis don’t stay awake very long, which is good I think, because I don’t either, and I’ve always felt somehow strange among people in Germany going to bed at eleven or later during school days. Some families have dinner at 4 p.m. actually, so their hostdaughter is hungry again when she goes to bed… We usually eat at 6.30 or a bit later, so that’s fine. But I’m already realising that I’m eating too much. Although there are heaps of fruits and not that much lollies. I’ll still get big. Hehe.
~ 8 Feb