In the past four months abroad, there are several things I have learned.
The first is that the sun here is incredibly strong. Unless your goal is to be in severe pain for days due to terrible sunburn, it is absolutely necessary to wear sunscreen. One layer isn’t enough. At least two is required to avoid burning. Also, no matter how much sunscreen you wear, you will eventually get burnt. That is why an aloe Vera spray is also a necessity.
Public transportation can sometimes be very behind schedule. I have learned it is always best to leave at least fifteen minutes earlier than I originally planned to avoid being late due to a late bus.
Although English is the national language, it is quite different from the American version. There is a ton of slang used –such as calling a sweater a jumper— as well as sayings never heard in America. When words are the same, the New Zealand accent can seriously distort the word. I have gotten used to having to ask people to repeat themselves numerous times in order for me to understand what was being said. Just like our Canadian neighbors, I have found that “eh” is used at the end of almost every sentence.
I have also learned that there is a huge difference between the National Rugby League and Super Rugby. While I can spot the differences in a game, I cannot even begin to explain the differences in writing. I haven’t figured it out that well yet!
It is best to be prepared for a national disaster to occur at any moment. Now it never surprises me to hear about earthquakes, tornados, or tsunamis.
In Auckland, it is usual for it to be rainy and windy. It is best to always have an umbrella on hand as it can start pouring five minutes after you left the house when pure sunshine was present.
From talking to friends and from my own personal experience, I have found that the best living arrangement is to live in a home stay. It is amazing how close you become to the family in such a short amount of time.