Before I came here I had no idea what I have to expect or what it is like to be away from home for 6 months. Now, at the end of my stay, I can say that this half-year was the most amazing time in my whole life. I made heaps of great experiences and got to know such amazing people.

I arrived at the beginning of July 2016, with a classmate from Germany, in Whanganui. In the first week Verena and Matt showed me and my friend around and helped us to get our school uniforms. I felt welcomed from the first moment from Verena and Matt as well as from my host family. In the first days of school I got to know the international group and later on all the people in my classes. It took a while to get used to the school here because it`s completely different from my school in Germany.

My favourite subject was probably Outdoor education. I learnt how to abseil and how to kayak. We also did wild water rafting which was awesome as well. Another subject that I really enjoyed was CNZ ( Conservation New Zealand ), which was a class only for international students. We learned a lot about the trees and birds in New Zealand, what was pretty boring.  But apart from the studying we did some amazing trips, e.g. we did the gorge walk, went on Mt. Taranaki, saw the Dawson falls and did the Tongariro crossing. It was so much fun to do all these amazing things together with friends. 

At the beginning of my stay I joined the swimming club here in Whanganui. Verena helped me to get the forms and to pay the fees. When I first came to the training I was kind of shocked because everyone was so much better than me and I thought I could never keep up with them. Well,  I am still not the best but I improved my swimming, especially my butterfly, a lot. I had awesome coaches and such a nice squad and as much as I am looking forward to see my swimming squad in Germany again, I will swimming with them so much. It was just a completely different experience.  

During the holidays I did some nice trips to different places on the north island. E.g. I did a trip with Verena, two work and travellers and two other international students to Wellington Cape Palliser and Wairarapa. We had some amazing views and a lot of fun. What I really regret though is, that I didn`t do a south island trip. Nearly all of my friends did one and told me about the amazing things they did. But I did another trip with my host family to the Waitomo caves. My host dad, my host sister and I did the black water rafting which was an amazing experience. Actually, everything on this trip was amazing, it was just a great time and I really enjoyed the time with them. What I really regret though is, that I didn`t do a south island trip. Nearly all of my friends did one and told me about the amazing things they did. 

In my opinion I had the best host family I could ask for. They made it so easy for me to fit in and get to know them. They talked to me all the time, even though I wasn`t talking much when I first came here. I walked nearly every morning with my host sister, who was also an international student, to school. My host mum taught me how to do mosaics, how to paint and how to knit. We also had a lot of fun by cooking and baking together. I also enjoyed watching TV with them at night and just to talk with them. Furthermore they gave me always the feeling that I can talk to them about everything, especially when I am homesick.

To be honest, there weren`t many days I was homesick, I expected to be a lot more homesick than I actually was. But it was still good, to talk to them about my family and friends at home and to show them some photos because on this way they got to know me a lot better. They are lovely people and I know I will miss them a lot, when I go back to Germany. I think it was pretty good to have not only my host family but also Verena and Matt because they knew exactly what I needed for the school and with the help of them it was no problem to get into the swimming club, what would have been a lot harder without them because nobody in my host family is swimming. 

All in all I can say it was an amazing time here in New Zealand that was over way too fast.