"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
1. Take a deep, deep breath
Arriving at your destination can be overwhelming. I know when I arrived in Aukland, New Zealand, there was a Tsunami warning issued ten minutes before I landed. If that's not welcoming enough...
2. Know your surroundings (well, at least try to)
When I was in the bus provided by Lincoln University on my way to my dorm, I wasn't sure what was going on. I was exhausted, restless, but none the less, I wanted to explore! Meeting the people who were in the van was a great start to my trip. The next day, when most people had arrived to the university internationally, it was time for an International get together. It was awesome, though I was still shy and was hesitant to meet many people. Over the course of a couple weeks, I got to know most of the international students, and am currently having a great time!
3. Language Barriers ?
Luckily, I didn't have to worry too much since our American language isn't too different than the Kiwi (New Zealand) English. What I found fascinating though was that it is so easy to communicate with the international students. They know english quite well... in fact most of them took english courses as a mandatory class growing up. I'm finding more and more that wherever you travel to (I've gone to New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Turks & Caicos, Domincan Republic, and the Bahamas... going to Australia in a few weeks!) english is usually understood. I've begun to understand that if you can speak their language, it is a sign of great respect to their country. Just as we are appreciative of others speaking English in America, other countries feel the same about their own language.
4. When locals are being over generous, take it as a compliment.
In most parts of America, we think of people who are being 'abnormally nice' as people who are either trying to scam us, rob us, or are simply on drugs. Outside of America, that can remain true, but not from my personal experiences at least. I have met some of the nicest, and friendliest people while travelling. In New Zealand especially, people have been over generous and will go out of the way to make sure you enjoy every second of your stay. It is sort of like bragging rights for them (Everywhere in New Zealand is breathtaking!) Not only are New Zealander's extremely friendly, but so are the international students! They are a fantastic bunch of individuals and all have their own life stories which are unique. I hope to hear everyone's by the end of my time studying at Lincoln University.
5. Be yourself.
One of the most amazing and inspirational things that I have learned already, in the short few weeks that I've been here is that being yourself is by far the most important thing you can do. Of course, when you meet new people, you want to make a good impression. For the first time in my life, I was true to my self from the very beginning. I didn't try and act extra 'not Matt Berger ish.' From one of the most intelligent individuals in the world, "Why wouldn't someone want to know the real Matt Berger." How I look at it, either you act like yourself from the beginning, or it comes out when you have a few drinks, so its really your choice.
Lincoln University International Students 2011