Is the LPHS Santacruz School a good one

Eva K. Kohse reports from Dunedin (New Zealand)

It has been about a year and a half since the first preparations for my trip to New Zealand began.
As soon as the catalogs were available for the school year, I started applying to several organizations because I wanted to make sure I could get a place in New Zealand.
I was invited to interviews and because I liked GIVE best, I decided to go with this organization.
When the news came a few weeks after the conversation that I had been accepted, things started getting serious! Formalities had to be clarified, then there was the preparatory meeting in Berlin and finally the eager wait for the host family!
Meanwhile, my dream of a six-month stay in Dunedin was getting closer and closer ... 7 weeks ... 6 weeks ... the parents are starting to get nervous ... 5 weeks ... Finally the host family has been found! ... 4 weeks ... 3 weeks ... gradually I realize that too I'll just be gone soon ... 2 weeks ... 1 week ... the last few days with friends and family ... 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - the day of departure had come! A short drive to the airport, then the quick and fortunately not tearful farewell to my parents and my brother - before I knew it, I was already on the plane, destination: Frankfurt.
My feelings: a jumble of a bit of the pain of parting, excitement and a lot of anticipation for the coming!
I didn't have much time to deal with it, however, because by then I landed in Frankfurt, where I met a large number of 150 other language students with the goal of New Zealand. Together with them I got on the plane to Singapore, where I got on the flight to Auckland. Completely tired and over-excited, the South Island people (to whom I belonged) had to squeeze you into the mini-plane to Wellington, because our preparation week was supposed to take place there.
I had already met some new people on the plane who would soon be going to my school, so we weren't alone in the beginning. That was good, because the culture shock we got wasn't that easy to get through ...
The preparation week remains in my memory as one of my most beautiful experiences in New Zealand (besides bungy jumping), there was a lot of exciting things to learn and, above all, to make new acquaintances, some of which developed into good friendships.
Unfortunately, our stay in the iconic capital only lasted a week. Another short flight and I was at the real destination of my dreams: Dunedin! Meeting my host family was really exciting. The parents, Julie and Andrew, were super nice and I immediately liked my two host brothers, Josh and Caleb (then 5 and 3, now 6 and 4). Dunedin presented itself to me as cool but sunny and just looked wonderful - my dream had come true!
I questioned this statement again on the same evening, namely when I was freezing and with about three sweaters and two pairs of socks lying in a huge bed with a thin blanket and wistfully thought of my feather bed from home. My host family had a beautiful, large and new house, but (as with almost all New Zealanders) neither central heating nor double glazing!
The next day was my first day of school in New Zealand. For me and my German friends from the preparation week, of course, suitable uniforms first had to be found, which involved a lot of trying on and even more laughter due to the unfamiliar clothes. At some point they were all equipped, and so our school days at the LPHS began!
At first it was difficult to find your way around the confusing complex of buildings, and the lessons were not always easy to understand. But we got used to it quickly, not least because of the great courtesy on the part of the New Zealand students, who really welcomed us.
Now everyday life began. After school in town, to the cinema with friends or shopping, then home to eat around 6 p.m. (my host mother's kitchen was usually not particularly healthy, but delicious). In the evening a quick visit to my girlfriend, who lived on the same street as me, otherwise end the day in the in-house fitness studio or (unfortunately far too often) with my family in front of the TV.
The weeks passed. Slowly I couldn't even imagine living anywhere else! I had made many dear friends, school was now easy and I was the fifth member of my host family. Lots of fun (and some not so fun) parties, two snowboard trips to Wanaka and Queenstown, the school exams where all students (not just internationals) were shipwrecked - life in New Zealand was really exciting!
Of course, everything couldn't always go well, I sometimes had stress with my family, was sick or was homesick (but that very seldom!), Then it wasn't so easy at school every now and then (solo performances, plays to be made and compositions, chemistry tests ...) and so on. But in six months you can't expect your life to always show its good side!
At the beginning I thought six months would be a long time, I was quite surprised when all of a sudden there were only a few weeks left in Dunedin. The nationwide exams were coming up and since we “foreigners” didn't have to take notes, my last three weeks of freedom consisted of two nice (but exhausting) hiking trips with friends around Queenstown and Invercargill, getting up late, lazing around in the sun, going to the cinema, going on horseback riding and enjoy life.
But as is well known, everything comes to an end. Suddenly my parents and my brother were standing in front of the door to pick me up and spend another three weeks vacation with me in New Zealand. Saying goodbye to my friends and host family was terrible! It also took a few days until I got used to the idea of ​​living with my German family again (squeezed together in a mobile home is not that easy). Soon everything was (almost) back to normal and we enjoyed three great weeks in which we traveled to both islands from the northern tip to the deep south, went bungy jumping (only my brother and I), swam in the Pacific, did whale watching and much, much more. It was a great opportunity to show my parents New Zealand and I thought it was great that they got to know my host family and friends because I would certainly not have been able to illustrate everything to them with just photos and stories!
Unfortunately, the time had no mercy on me this time either. The crazy Christmas that we celebrated with a lot of ultra-light Christmas tree decorations (less weight for the luggage), mini Christmas trees and a lot of humor on the campsite, as well as the boring New Year's Eve party of our lives, at which we all fell asleep at five past twelve, were on us at breathtaking speed passed by. My farewell to New Zealand was approaching!
Everything was going too fast again, we handed in our rented motorhome, got on the plane to Singapore and it wasn't long before I saw the last remnant of the South Island disappear out of the window. We landed in Singapore soon afterwards, spent two days there in the unbearable tropical heat (most of the time we took refuge in the swimming pool of our hotel) and then it was time to say goodbye again! We went to Frankfurt and then to Bremen, where we picked up our car and off we went home.
The very first evening back in Germany was not nice. The cars were driving on the wrong side of the street, my room looked weird, my bed was uncomfortable and everyone was annoying me. I wanted to go back to New Zealand immediately!
It got better when I saw my old friends again the day after next and went to school. It turned out that everyone was still the same as before, my best friend and I just talked all day and of course everyone wanted to know how it was.
Since then I've sometimes still thought of my time in Dunedin, of my friends who are still there, and how my host family is doing ... Otherwise everything is back to normal here, despite everything I'm happy to be back in Germany!

*** Don't cry because it's over - smile because it happened! ***

Eva Kohse, 07.07.-16.12. in Dunedin, 2 terms at Logan Park High School