For Sale

Forums

Politics
   New Zealand Questions for Blackie Most Recent Most Popular
Opportunity of a Lifetime
 By Valkyrie   •   10th Jun 2010   •   7,316 views   •   36 comments
For the last ten months I have been blessed enough to spend time in America and attend an American school as part of the EF (Education First) high school exchange programme. I have made many wonderful friends, met a lot of interesting people and learnt about another culture. I thought America was pretty similar to New Zealand, but boy was I wrong!

Opportunity of a LifetimeIt wasn’t just the fact that Americans drive on the other side of the road from New Zealanders, or that high school was A LOT bigger (my high school back home has 600 people, and my one here in America had close to 1500), it was also little things like Americans eating a lot more junkfood and using different words for things I’d grown up calling “bumpers” and “boots”.

It all started in August of 2008 when I heard they were giving out brochures at my high school for an exchange company. My family had often hosted People 2 People students for a few days and I’d enjoyed talking with them (they were always Americans) so I went and got a brochure to read about it. I talked to my parents and, though they were reluctant, they agreed. Originally I planned to go from January ’09 to November ’09 (one school year in New Zealand) so I would miss my last year of high school and just have to repeat it when I got back.

But it didn’t give me enough time to plan and look forward to it, so instead I chose to do a full American year of school to get all I could out of it. So I sent in the paperwork and chose the Mountain States region to be placed in. Then I had to wait. In May of ’09 I got a call telling me I’d been placed with a family in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Sometime in June I attended a meeting in Auckland with the other exchange students leaving at the same time as me, there were only twenty from the entire country and all but two were going to America (the others were headed to France).

On July 21st I woke up and went downstairs to watch TV, then went outside to say goodbye to my miniature horses Star and Beauty. It was a rainy, wet, windy day when I last saw the home I had lived for eight years in and headed to Auckland International Airport. I’m the most stoic, un-girlish person I know, but I still cried like a baby when I said goodbye to my family and went to board the plane that would take me away from my home country filled with family and friends to a place where I knew no-one at all.

After thirty-six hours of travel (and only two measly hours of sleep) I landed in Idaho Falls and met my host family for the first time. They were super nice to me, but I was so dead on my feet and missing home that it was all I could do not to lapse into tears again.

It has been just over ten months since that first day, and I am glad I have done this. I have so many wonderful memories to cherish now, and honestly, how many New Zealanders can say they went to an American prom, or saw buffalo walking along the side of the road?

In my time here in Idaho I have done classes I certainly would never have been able to do back home (including Military History, Government, Zoology, Creative Writing and Spanish), I have taken up a sport I probably never would have even seen being played back in New Zealand (fencing), I have been to Yellowstone National Park twice, I had my first white Christmas and snowball fight and have been able to buy gadgets like an iPod Touch and a cute 10.1 inch laptop that are super expensive back home.

Opportunity of a Lifetime
Me (left) and my family when they came to visit.

Opportunity of a Lifetime
My host parents (left) and my real parents (right).

But the best part of my exchange was probably my 18th birthday. I turned 18 on the 16th of April and my real family (minus my younger brother Mitchell) came to visit me! They took me to L.A. for an entire week. We went to Bubba Gumps restaurant and Medieval Times (which I adored, being the history freak I am). We spent most of our days at Disneyland and one day up at Hollywood. I’m also able to say I have walked along both sides of the Pacific after spending a day at Santa Monica beach with my dad.

Now I have come full circle. On June 9th I will say farewell to my wonderful host family and brilliant new friends, then fly back to New Zealand. I am excited to see my miniature horses again, but I can’t help feeling that nothing has changed, and at the same time everything has. The friends I have back home are no longer at high school, they’re all off at University where I would be if I didn’t do this exchange. They have met new people like I have, they have new friends like I do, their horizons have broadened just like mine, although in different ways. I’m almost scared to see them again, because if they see me they might just see the kid I used to be.

In a way, though, I am glad. I have had an extra six months to decide what I want to do when I leave high school. If I hadn’t of had that time I might be stuck at University doing a course I really don’t like. I have also had to learn how to take care of myself, from navigating LAX on my own to rationing my money to last the entire exchange. I have much better people skills too.

I would highly recommend doing an exchange to anyone, even if it’s only for a semester. There are so many fun things to do when learning about a new country, it really is the opportunity of a lifetime.

If you want to talk about it you can either message this account or find me on Nokota as The Black Kiwi.
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Valkyrie
FireCracker  
that sounds so fun! .. i am glad you shared this with us. it sounds like you had a great time . i live on the eastern side of the US in pennsylvannia. i want to go to germany for a year but no through the school or exchange programs i want to go to visit my uncle for a year ...do you think you will ever want to come back to the US? (maybe to a different state)
  Jun 10, 2010  •  610 views
 
Minnie  
I'm glad you had such a great time in the US! However, I want you to know that not all Americans eat tons of junk food! My mom is a health nut and everything we eat is extremely healthy!
  Jun 10, 2010  •  820 views
 
weezapony  
Haha, I agree with Minnie. But even visiting other parts of the US, i've been surprised at how differently they do things! My highschool has approx. 2,400 people. o_O
  Jun 10, 2010  •  593 views
 
Happy Stables  MOD online
American will not be the same without you here. I'm sure you touched alot of people here too, and it was an honor for you to have been here with us. Please keep us informed of your advertures back home. I can truly say, you are so loved! : )
  Jun 10, 2010  •  633 views
 
halfbrokehorses  
that sounds amazing!!! i would LOVE to go to america one day!! :)
  Jun 11, 2010  •  631 views
 
Valkyrie  MOD 
Fire: I'll definitely come back :) Minnie: Lol just my host family then haha XD Weeza: Omg I totally could not handle that! 0_0 Happy: I certainly will, and thankyou :) Half: It was the time of my life.
  Jun 11, 2010  •  599 views
 
Tsukikochan  
wow! 1500?! My school only has about 300... Anyways, I'm glad you got to come stay in America with us!
  Jun 11, 2010  •  705 views
 
Choco 8D  
It is such a coincidence that you have posted this!! I've been concidering doing a foreign exchange program myself (just a semester, though :D)! This article has now made me really want to be an exchange student. I have been looking at different programs, but as far as countries go I have been leaning toward either the Netherlands or... *durmroll* ...NEW ZEALAND!! :D Well anyway thank you sooo much for posting this. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay here in America with us! (Oh and by the way: Medieval. Times. Is. AWESOME! I've been to the one in Atlanta and loved it! Haha :D)
  Jun 11, 2010  •  845 views
 
Valkyrie  MOD 
Choco: I'm glad I've helped :D I was too lazy to learn another language, which is why I chose America haha.
  Jun 14, 2010  •  809 views
 
p i n k f l o y d  
I was thinking about going to New Zealand on a exchange program myself. My Cousin is in love with the country and keeps going back so I was hoping to talk my mother into letting me go over for a semester or year.
  Jun 14, 2010  •  808 views
 
MCR Equestrian 2  MOD online
WOW! it sounds like have had the time of your life! I really wish there had been opportunities like that for me when I was at school! You are one lucky lady! You should be so proud of yourself, well done!
  Aug 9, 2010  •  1,068 views
 
Valkyrie  MOD 
Chick: I hope that works out ^^

Team MCR: I know I am. I will always treasure the memories.
  Aug 12, 2010  •  808 views
 
toffeelola  
wow! the things I would do to be able to travel overseas! or even have a horse...
  Sep 14, 2010  •  1,029 views
 
Finally There  
thats so nice! your sis is gorgeous
  Sep 22, 2010  •  1,009 views
 
Whispyy  
Amazing article! love it!
Glad you had such a great time! :D
  Jan 7, 2011  •  1,013 views
 
Milly  
That sounds so amazing. Cultural difference sounds enormous, the junk food thing would bring me down too. Glad you had a good time
  Feb 1, 2011  •  1,026 views
 
BME Sports  
That sounds great!
  Feb 3, 2011  •  1,172 views
 
Wandie  MOD 
I'm glad you had a great time =)
Nice article
  Feb 4, 2011  •  1,166 views
 
Simplicity  
That was really good well done
  Feb 4, 2011  •  1,153 views
 
Seven Sins  
nice article
  Feb 5, 2011  •  1,162 views
 
bchia  
Wow I wish i had enough courage to get into an exchange program. Sounds like you had fun!
  Feb 26, 2011  •  1,172 views
 
Clair L  
thats really cool i had a freind who did that i miss her she was really cool hope ur life is awsome and u have a good time where ever you r
  Mar 16, 2011  •  1,184 views
 
FruitLoop  
I love that guys legs
  Mar 19, 2011  •  1,316 views
 
MidnightFlames  
aww... i wish i could do that
  Apr 28, 2011  •  1,333 views
  1  2    
 More News by Valkyrie
The Life and Times of the Infamous Banna Strand
26th Jul 2013   |   General   |   Valkyrie
The incident that occurred on the fifth of May, 2011, may be New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding Banna Strand's only claim to fame. By the Danehill son Danasinga, out of a Kaapstad mare, Banna Strand (2003) was trained by John Wheele ...
Horse Lineart Tutorial Basics
26th Apr 2012   |   General   |   Valkyrie
This is a very basic tutorial. A lot of artists go into more depth with their work, and I often like to as well, but for the purpose of learning and gaining confidence I've just whipped up a quick tutorial to get you started. Ther ...
Is Barbed Wire Fencing Safe For Horse Pastures?
22nd Oct 2011   |   General   |   Valkyrie
Recently I’ve seen a lot of members who have formed a lynch mob and are going around sneering at and jeering other members who have barbed wire fencing. This is immature and heavy-handed behaviour. I myself was a victim of one of ...
Kia Kaha - Who Dares Wins
6th Aug 2011   |   General   |   Valkyrie
School! Claire groaned and dived into the car. And not just any school – PUBLIC SCHOOL. For the past three years she had been attending a private all girls boarding school six hours away. This year Gloria had finally relented and ...
Mark Toddy Todd - The Equestrian Comeback kid
22nd Jun 2011   |   General   |   Valkyrie
He may just be history's biggest comeback kid – ever. Mark (“Toddy”) Todd recently became the oldest person to ever win the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials at the ripe old age of 55, beating previous record-holder Andrew Hoy by ...
Daddy Is The World Coming To An End?
13th Mar 2011   |   General   |   Valkyrie
As I write this it is Saturday, four days after the disaster. Nobody has been pulled alive from the wreckage since Wednesday afternoon. The death toll stands at 123 as of this morning, with 228 missing. Most of whom are trapped in ...
Armistice Day - November 11th
11th Nov 2010   |   General   |   Valkyrie
Countless men and women died for your freedom. The least you can do them is pay the courtesy of remembering their sacrifice this Armistice Day November 11th. I will. ...
New Zealand Horse Racing - Par Xcellence
30th Sep 2010   |   General   |   Valkyrie
The announcer's voice boomed from the speakers over the course as the nine-strong field of the 2007 Sir James Fletcher Stakes thundered down the Ellerslie straight. As he spat out the names of the frontrunners, a large bay at the ...
  View All News by Valkyrie
 
Active News Discussions
Reasons Not To Install A Pipe Horse Fence
3
comments
Reasons Not To Install A Pipe Horse Fence
Slaughter Plan Proposed for the Rare Dartmoor Pony
2
comments
Slaughter Plan Proposed for the Rare Dartmoor Pony
Slaughter Plan Proposed for the Rare Dartmoor Pony
2
comments
Slaughter Plan Proposed for the Rare Dartmoor Pony
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
31
comments
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
Free Horse Vector Graphics #4 - The Apache Indian Horse
13
comments
Free Horse Vector Graphics #4 - The Apache Indian Horse
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
31
comments
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
31
comments
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
31
comments
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
31
comments
AHorseBox.com Launches Equestrian Box Service [Video]
Terrible Horse Names
13
comments
Terrible Horse Names
 
©2002 - 2014   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us Moderators Online Now
103 PonyBox members online 1,898 News Articles 5,738,801 Unique News Article Views