Studying abroad is often the best way to immerse yourself in another culture while simultaneously completing your coursework. However, the situation can quickly turn ugly for students who are inflexible, frightened, or too introverted to leave their room. The same can also be said of those who party too much or let their studies suffer in deference to their social life. While reaching a careful balance can be difficult, you can make it easier on yourself by following these simple tips.
Get out of your dorm! Limiting your social interactions to those in your housing unit is a terrible idea. Try not to fall in to a clique. While it’s perfectly natural to match up with a comfortable group who already shares your tastes in sports, music, or activities, don’t be afraid to broaden your range. New Zealand is a country that largely adores outdoor sports, such as hiking, swimming, and playing rugby. Both males and females partake in these activities, so get out of your dorm room and explore them.
If you are not good at approaching strangers without a pretext, sign up for clubs or activities that interest you. Pick a few that will cause you to stretch your horizons. If you have always been a member of the computer and drama clubs, why not sign up for something out of that range such as a cooking class for Māori cuisine? Not only will this help you make friends, but you’ll learn a new skill in the process.
Volunteer to help out. Whether it’s picking up trash or assisting with making the snacks at a meeting, volunteering will put you into contact with a wide variety of people you may not run into during your daily life. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even volunteer your time in the community surrounding your university. This will allow you to talk to the locals and earn more about Kiwi culture.
Attend events. College are host to a large number of musical performances, guest lectures, movies, and fund raisers. Getting out and mingling with other people at these events will boost your confidence because there is always something to talk about.
Sitting in the quad or in the common room of your dorm is usually not going to result in a bustling, healthy social life. By using these simple tips, you’ll be meeting the locals, having new experiences, and learning new skills in no time. Your time in New Zealand will largely be what you make of it, so take full advantage of the opportunities!