We caught up with Hugo to find out about his Gap Year in New Zealand
Currently in Christchurch, Hugo has definitely been making the most of his Gap Year in NZ. From Adelaide, he joined our April group of Gap Participants who swapped life in Australia for a year in New Zealand. He tells us all about his Gap Year including some secret travel tips!
Why did you choose to take a Gap Year?
During the uncertain year that was 2020, I struggled to settle on a specific uni course to follow. The idea of a gap year had always appealed to me, so I started searching for a way to spend a year without study. One of the first opportunities that I found was the program that Letz Live offers. This was a very appealing offer given that I was getting paid to spend time in another country (how good!). My main motivations for choosing a school placement in New Zealand have been to develop a sense of independence and life experience away from the help of my family. Whilst meeting new and cool people, getting out of my comfort zone, and exploring the world (to the greatest extent that we currently can).
What’s been the best part of your gap year so far?
As corny as it sounds, the best part of my year so far has been the great people I have met. Both the guys working at my school, Jeremy and Will are great people. We have already developed strong friendships, respect, and familiarity with each other. Beyond these two, everyone involved in the Letz Live NZ Gap Program has kept in contact despite our distance from each other. We have plans to catch up together in Queenstown during the school holidays and Wellington later in the year.
At my school, numerous staff members have also changed my perspective in life. They’ve introduced me to new opportunities, helped me fit into life in a new country, and made me feel welcome. Recently a staff member also put me onto joining a local rowing club; which has been a great opportunity to meet more like-minded people and keep fit at the same time.
What’s a normal day like as a Boarding Assistant?
My typical day starts with the delivery of all staff mail. I then might need to set up venues for events in and around my workplace. I’ll assist with lessons, complete jobs for staff members or supervising weekend boarding activities. I’ve also been very lucky to join class excursions for the day or week. The most memorable was a trip to Hanmer Springs for a geography excursion, as well as a 4-night tramp in Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve for a Year 10 Camp. The three Gappies at my school are also involved with a co-curricular program. I’m the general assistant in the Hockey Program. Meaning I help out in numerous hockey teams if coaches are away along with writing match reports.
Share some secret spots or travel adventures from NZ with us?
My favourite spots in Christchurch include the Lumiere Cinemas; a funky arthouse cinema. Hagley Park; the centrepiece of Christchurch and a great place to exercise or clear your head. The Riverside Markets; a cheap and tasty place to get a diverse range of food. As well as Sumner Beach, the Rockpool Bar and Riccarton Bush to name a few. Christchurch is a very walkable city with fascinating street art hidden around every corner, a bi-product of the destruction caused by the 2011 Earthquake.
Outside of Christchurch, I’ve spent some time at Gore Bay which is a tiny coastal town a few hours north of Christchurch. It has an amazing beach and one of the most amazing rock formations I’ve ever laid eyes on. The Godley Head just out of Christchurch is also an awesome, fairly easy, walk around the coast. One thing you will discover about New Zealand is that it is one of, if not, the most naturally beautiful countries on Earth.
What are some of the biggest differences between Australia and NZ?
A fairly trivial but very noticeable difference about New Zealand is the different ways they call certain things. I’m sure we all know Kiwis call thongs jandals and that chilly bins are Eskys. However, did you know that speed bumps are referred to as judder bars along with sweet potato being known as kumara? Beyond these more trivial differences, Kiwis are renowned for their impressive work in the multiculturalism sphere and the integration of Maori language and culture into everyday life. Examples include being regularly greeted with ‘Kia Ora’, the inclusion of a Haka at the beginning of every Rugby Games (a truly impressive spectacle) among a range of other things. People are also so welcoming and friendly. In my first night at my placement, I was already at the pub chatting with staff members from my school, and ever since I have felt included in the community.
What would you say to someone thinking about taking a Gap Year?
Now, if you are reading this and considering taking up a gap year in NZ through Letz Live, or on your own terms, I could not recommend it more. In the short two months, I have spent here I have learned so much. A great deal about the world, life outside of home, and about myself. Whilst making many great friends and memories that I am sure to hold onto for life. All of this accompanied by the great support of my family, friends, place of work, and the team at Letz Live. New Zealand is also a great move for many Australians as the general culture, people, environment, and society are very alike to that of Australia.
Ready for your Gap Year in NZ? Applications are still open for our January 2022 intake to New Zealand.