So I’ve officially been in New Zealand for a month. Words can’t begin to explain how much I have learned, experienced, and enjoyed already in these few short weeks. I have met some of the most interesting people, seen some of the most beautiful views, and challenged myself in ways I never knew I was capable of challenging myself. As I learn more about the New Zealand culture, and challenge myself to immerse myself completely in this new place, there are still inevitably things that give away the reality that I’m not a native. Yes, 5 reasons why everyone can tell I’m an American:
- I walk on the right side of the sidewalk. I also prefer to drive on the right side of the road (but that one would prove a little more risky here). Seriously, it is hard to get used to! I am so used to passing people and veering right, but here it just confuses people! Whoops.
- I think PB&J’s are normal and delicious. One of the first things I bought at the grocery store here (in a land of unknown brands and nothing familiar) was a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and jelly! Cheap..and delicious! Right? Well, I was surprised to learn that this delicacy is not world-renowned. My roommates all gagged at me as I spread my peanut butter and told me that PB&J (which they call peanut butter and JAM) is disgusting and not a normal thing down under. Whoops!
- I eat my sausage with 2 pieces of bread. So just like at Purdue, the first week of classes is full of free food! Woo! At Purdue, that usually means free cookies, ice cream, and root beer? Normal things, right? Here, free food always means a sausage link. You get in line to get your sausage, and see white bread loaves on the table along with tomato sauce (Also, ketchup doesn’t exist here..it’s tomato sauce and has a very different taste). So, I naturally grabbed two pieces of bread. Sausage sandwich, right? When I get up to the grill master, he says, “Oh, you must be American. All the Americans always grab two pieces of bread.” I look around to see that all the kiwis had only grabbed one and used it as a bun. Isn’t that what buns are for? Whoops!
- I call my ‘papers’ classes. Here in New Zealand, they call courses “papers.” It’s really weird to get used to! When my roommate told me he had a rough work load with 5 papers last semester, I laughed and though, that’s it? I probably wrote around 25 papers last semester. Nope, classes are called “papers”. Just another unusual vocabulary adjustment!
- I invite people to hang out in my room. It’s not a roommate in New Zealand, it’s a flatmate. Apartments are called flats and set up very differently than in the U.S. Inviting somebody back to your room means something totally different than inviting someone to hang out in your flat. Another vocab difference that is just hard to adjust to!
Even though I am totally American, I am loving it down here. Every day is a new adventure. I am constantly learning new things about New Zealand, the world, and most importantly-myself. Attached is a photo of my latest adventure exploring Taylor’s Mistake–the most beautiful cove in Lyttleton, New Zealand.
— Mallory Rotondo, Senior, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences