Tim tells us about his Gap Year in New Zealand
Tim from Canberra is currently taking a Gap Year at Hamilton in New Zealand’s North Island. We caught up with him to ask a few questions and see what it’s been like so far.
Read on to find out more about sightseeing, adventure, the Maori culture, meeting new people and what a standard day looks like.
Why did you choose New Zealand for a Gap Year?
I chose to do a gap year because exploring and trying new things is exactly what you should do after school. I reckon that finding new things to do and enriching yourself in new environments is the best way to figure out what you would like to do with your life. A Gap Year is perfect for this because it puts you in not only a new school and job but also a new city and country!
What’s been the best part of your Gap Year so far?
Definitely flying into the country. Being on the actual plane and flying into New Zealand was the best part because it just showed that I’m truly on my own now. I’ve left my parents behind, I’m now in a new country that I’ve never been to before. I’ve left my school career in the past and I’m now in a new part of life that allows me to explore and have fun.
Travelling in New Zealand
One thing I never thought of doing was living in another country for any amount of time, I always loved Australia and didn’t want to leave. Ironically, a couple of months following school, I’m living here in New Zealand and am loving it so much that I might even stay for another year!
New Zealand is such an awesome place. It holds the city of adventures Queenstown, a city with the most exciting and adrenaline rushing activities like skiing, tandem skydiving, bungee jumping, river surfing, canyon swinging, white water rafting, paragliding, quad biking…. somewhere you certainly aren’t going to get bored. Some of my favourite places in NZ (so far) are one tree hill in Auckland, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, Hamilton Gardens, Christchurch and of course the black sand beaches of the west coast!
Other than places to go, the incredible Maori culture is enriched within every part of the country. I was welcomed into my school with a mind blowing Haka that was performed by every kid at the school. It was not only a new experience but an insight at how important the culture is in all aspects of life here in NZ.
Every staff meeting I attend, there is always a song that the cohort sings in full Maori tongue. This was something I was taken aback by. One, because I had no clue what was being said and two, everyone knew the words. What’s a general day like?
If you were to start working as a gap assistant like myself this is what ‘a day in the life’ looks like. When I’m not on duty in the boarding house, wake-up is at 7:30am. I’ll get dressed and head over to the school dining hall where I’ll have a cooked breakfast waiting for me. After breakfast I’ll head back to my room and will get a text from the timetable organiser. This tells me which classes I will be supporting for the day. Sometimes I can have every period of the day and other days I’ll have a day off.
Other than relief teaching, certain teachers could ask me to run some errands. The most regular one I participate in is taking kids to appointments off campus. When school ends it’s a very relaxed evening if I am not on duty, I have dinner and usually head off to bed.
However, when I am on duty it’s very different. Wake up is at 6am, I need to go downstairs and wake up the Year 9’s at 6:30am. I make sure they’re awake and ready to go to breakfast, then wake up the year 10’s at 6:45am. This goes all the way till the year 13’s at 7:30am. Then the normal relief teaching goes on where I am told what classes I have and where.
After school I stay in the boarding house office where I am on duty from 4:30pm till dinner. Once dinner has finished, I get all the boys ready and in their rooms for prep. This goes for about 2 hours so they complete all their homework. After this, I put the year 9’s to bed at 9pm and so on till the year 13’s at 10pm. That is a day in the life of a gap assistant!
What would you say to someone thinking about doing a gap year?
Expect the unexpected. Understand that it’s going to be very different from what you are doing at the moment and realise that everything is going to be a new experience. When you move to a new country, you don’t have any friends nearby and you’ll need to make new ones. Which in New Zealand especially is very easy to do!
Most of all take the opportunity as it is something that will change your life.
Ready to choose New Zealand for a Gap Year? Thanks to the Trans-Tasman bubble Australians can embark on their Gap Year without entry requirements.
Applications are still open for our July 2021 and January 2022 intake to New Zealand.