Our New Zealand country manager Lorna recently caught up with Larissa from Germany in Christchuch. Hear what Larissa says about her gap year in New Zealand.
If I am honest, I finished school last July and didn't know what I wanted to study so I decided on taking a gap year. My parents had visited New Zealand when they were younger and I was looking to travel somewhere completely different to what I was accustom to back in Germany.
I am presently based at an all-girls school in Christchurch. There are two of us Gap Assistants living in the boarding house. We both have our own rooms with a shared living and bathroom. The location is great and we are only a short distance from the centre of Christchurch.
I really enjoy being involved in all areas of the school. Usually I help before school for an hour or so then its off to help in the classrooms. The school gives us the flexibility to work in areas that suit our strengths and interests. We also assist with sport classes for year 7 & on top of working in the school office and library.
I love having the opportunity to connect with the students - both the day students and the boarders. A real highlight is going on school camp or travelling around New Zealand with the school sporting teams.
I will admit the language barrier was a challenge initially. Obviously I went from speaking German all day every day to speaking English. I also had to try learn the New Zealand accent. It's also a challenge remembering all the new faces and names but everyone was very helpful about this.
I don't have one single favourite thing about New Zealand. I have done and seen so much since I arrived. The scenery is amazing and the drive between Te Anau to Queenstown is a MUST! I have also visited Fiji and Australia.
I fly back to Germany in December and will start my university course studying Law in April but I am already counting down the days until I return to New Zealand.
I honestly have no regrets doing a gap year. I have so many positive experiences and memories and learnt skills that I will have for the rest of my life.