“Some of the biggest differences about being away from home and being in New Zealand is definitely the landscape. Australia’s landscape can be pretty similar in parts, and being from regional NSW, the land out there is generally pretty flat. In New Zealand everywhere you go you can see something new. From the huge mountain ranges, to the rolling hills, as well as the lakes, beaches and beautiful green flats. I’m experiencing a whole new nature.”
Currently on his Gap Year in New Zealand, Archie from Quirindi, Australia is already feeling at home. He tells us about travelling with his fellow gaps, his favourite spots, Māori culture and a standard day of work as a Boarding Assistant.
What’s been the best part of your Gap Year so far?
The best part of my Gap Year so far was definitely the Term 2 holidays. Having a placement at a school is perfect as you have heaps of opportunities to travel around within the 2-3 weeks of school holidays. Myself and most of the other Gappies in NZ all did a big road trip around New Zealand. Exploring nearly the whole country, which is such a diverse environment, with a postcard view everywhere you go. Meeting in Queenstown we stayed there for a little over a week. We did a lot of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, skydiving, jet boating and eating the world famous Fergburger, to name a few.
Tell us about the friends you’ve made
When first meeting all the other NZ Gappies we connected so well from the start and all became great friends straight away. At every chance we can travel somewhere we all try and meet up. Even if it’s just a weekend away, such as going to Auckland to watch Australia vs New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup. Apart from the other gap students you, meet so many new people moving to a different country and town. I’m feeling at home still being able to do all the things I love such as playing rugby and basketball, and making many new friends through that.
Travelling in New Zealand – Archie’s top spots
New Zealand has so many amazing locations and views everywhere you go it’s so hard to just pick a few. Since my placement is within Hawkes bay I have to include Te Mata Peak which has the most amazing view. You can see across the towns, ocean and all the high mountain ranges in the North Island. You can even see Mount Ruapehu, which is halfway across the North Island. Travelling down the West Coast of the South Island there are many extraordinary views to see. All the way down from Hokitika to Haast, including the Franz Josef Glacier and Mt. Cook, the highest point in New Zealand. I would definitely recommend it.
When looking to travel there’s always many places to visit and there’s always great advertising for all of New Zealand’s wonders. If you talk to the locals in your hometown as well the people in the places you visit, you can find all the spectacular places to go to.
What’s surprised you most about living in a new country?
Experiencing the Māori culture in New Zealand is so fascinating, learning and seeing how this is incorporated into everything. I must say learning to pronounce some of the towns and names was pretty tricky at first, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Aotearoa definitely has an awesome culture that I love learning about.
A day in the life of a Boarding Assistant
A standard day of work for me is waking up at around 7 and heading to the dining room for some breakfast. We’re given a timetable for the term so I know what classes I’ll be helping with during the day. This includes helping out with the sports lessons and helping out in the classroom. During recess and lunch I head to the dining room and get some food. From many joined opinions from other gap students the food at the schools is very good! During the afternoons I’m either coaching my rugby team or supervising the kids before they head home. I alternate boarding duties after school with the other gap assistant Jack. We supervise the kids for their prep and while they mess around before going to bed.
Why did you choose to take a Gap Year?
Both my brother and my sister did Gap Years once they finished school. They told me what an experience it was and how they had the time of their lives. My brother went through Letz Live as well and did his placement in the UK. He told me about all the people you meet and places you go, so I didn’t hesitate to apply through Letz Live for a Gap Year in New Zealand.