The past two days we had orientation just for the international students. For the next three days we will join forces with the Kiwis and have a combined orientation. Our orientation thus far went a little like this:
On Monday, we listened to some people talk and got a bunch of information in a nice three-ring binder. I'm happy about this because now I don't have to buy one :). We had free time and free lunch. There are a lot of American students studying abroad - which I sort of expected, but not this many! So I made friends with a lot of people from all over the US. Some even from Michigan! I'm glad I am still able to identify myself as a Yooper on the opposite side of the world. I met people from other countries too. So many different cultures here! There are people from Japan, China, Vietnam, Canada, the UK, the Philippines, Singapore, Africa, Tonga, and the list goes on! It's really cool.
After lunch, they took us to see Massey Farms where we visited the sheep unit and the dairy. In the sheep unit, we watched a sheep get sheared and the dogs herd them around.
At the dairy, we watched cows get onto this merry-go-round type of thing and go through an automated milking process. The cows are just hangin' out, eating some feed, and these metal things are attached to their utters milking them! You can see the machine move up and down and see the milk coming through the tubes. It's pretty interesting. Then, when they stop producing milk, the machine loosens its grip and the cows kick it off. Then the cows proceed to exit the merry-go-round and go on their way.
Massey University began as an agricultural school 50 years ago. Agriculture and food science is still pretty big at Massey and they conduct a lot of research for improvements in farming.
Today, we listened to more talking and then went and had lunch at Ashhurst Domain, a nice park outside of town. We also had a Maori mini-lesson from some guys building a canoe. Then we went through the beautiful Manawatu Gorge, between two sets of mountains, and ended up at the Te Apiti wind farm where my host family had taken Jenny and me the week before. It was a little nicer weather today, so I was able to get more pictures!
10 Things I Love About New Zealand
1. The Accent
2. Hearing so many different languages on the bus
3. NZ loves dessert. My host family gives me ice cream every day; this is both a blessing and a curse
4. All NZ fruit, vegetables, seafood, top-quality meat, and dairy are GMO-free!
5. NZ is trying to become smoke-free! Right now, cigarettes need to be kept behind solid doors at store counters and they are heavily taxed. One pack costs $17.20 !!! Their goal is to be smoke-free by 2025.
6. The sheep. I thought, yeah well, I've seen sheep before, it's normal. But I love seeing them in the hills on the side of the road everywhere. The sheep to human ratio is 8:1. There are 4 million people here and about 31 million sheep.
7. NZ uses renewable energy! Currently, approximately 70% of the country's electricity comes from renewable sources. The goal is to have 90% by 2025.
8. There are no natural predators. No deadly spiders, no Bigfoot, nothing.
9. Hobbiton. Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Fiordland. Franz Josef Glacier. Zorbing.
10. Did you know it's beautiful here? I've only been around Palmerston North and it's already been so awesome. Just wait until I get out and travel :)
All the love,