I was told it was going to be cold here, but I’m from Wisconsin- How cold could little ol’ New Zealand be compared that? Well, so far I have had all my classes cancelled one day and I’ve missed two other days of school when all the roads back into Dunedin were closed due to snow. It’s not like they get as much snow as Wisconsin by any means, they just don’t have the resources to deal with it effectively. The temperature doesn’t get into the – 40’s but still, the “polar outbreaks,” as the news likes to call them, get chilly. The temp will hover around freezing, which granted isn’t terrible, however there is one major difference here. We don’t have central heat. There are little portable heaters in our bedrooms and a heat pump in the main rooms, but they are rarely on because it’s expensive. So when it’s 40 degrees outside, that’s what it is in the house. It took so much getting used to, but that’s how the kiwis (New Zealanders) live every winter. All in all, it has made me appreciate what I have at home way more than I did before.
Another major difference I noticed in regards to lifestyles is that people seem to be way healthier. At any given time you can see people running, playing rugby, or biking. Also, it seems students here do not own cars as much as they do at home and campus is farther away so there’s more walking whether you like it or not. They are so much more active, which turns out to be good motivation.
Cindy Frisch is studying abroad at the University of Otago in New Zealand.