South African Calvin Lowe reflects on his time in New Zealand with Letz Live.
I look back to the start of the year. It was the hardest thing I have ever imagined….. leaving everyone behind. I never thought I would be so far away from everyone. But it has been by far the best thing I have ever done and I know it will benefit me in the future.
Naturally, the first few weeks are the hardest (in my experience) but I have made so many friends and taken every opportunity to explore New Zealand that it now feels like home to me. Never in my life have I been around such caring people that I have been at my host school and the if I am being honest; the country is nothing like I expected. This really is the beginning of my future.
I typically help with the Physical Education department (sports) which works in my favour; I love sport! It has been so eye opening comparing my schooling to what students here in New Zealand do. Socially, I have become involved in the local hockey club which was an unexpected surprise. It has also helped me meeting people socially outside of the school environment.
Whilst sport has been a big part of my gap year, I have also become involved in cultural aspects too. I was invited to assist with a Shakespeare tour and I have also been learning more about the native New Zealand culture.
With only a few months to go, I am starting to think that I would love to stay here forever and start my life in New Zealand. A few people told me before I left home that a gap year will change you….. I didn’t believe them back then because, again if I am being honest, I didn’t know what to expect. There was some self-doubt; would I even last the full year living so far away from home.
The year has taught me about myself, to appreciate what you have at home but also what is available to you if you give-it-a-go! I am forever grateful to everyone involved who made my year in New Zealand possible. Without you, kids like myself would never get these opportunities.