Hi guys!  How have you been?  It’s Riko from Te Kuiti High School in New Zealand.  It has already been over nine months since I came here and I can’t believe I’ll be in Japan in a few weeks.  As you know, Coronavirus is going around this year and because of that, many events such as the school ball, were canceled, which is too bad.  However, Covid-19 in NZ is almost gone and we haven’t even worn masks.  So I guess I’ll feel weird after I go back to Japan.  Haha! Anyway, I’d like to share what I’ve learned through my experience of studying abroad here.

For the last nine months, I have had many more challenges than I had expected and cried a lot.  Also I was always frustrated because I couldn’t speak English as well as I wanted.  I tried lots of things to improve my English and myself even though they were difficult or new.  I thought if I did something difficult and overcame it, I would be able to improve myself and my English skills, and enjoy my time.  Of course it’s good to try things but it’s not always the right idea.  In my case, it just put a lot of pressure on me.  Then I realized the most important thing for me was to have fun.  If I can enjoy my time, I won’t get that disappointed even though it was something hard.  Now that I realized that simple but important idea, I can enjoy learning new culture and English.

Since I started to try to enjoy my time in NZ, I think I’ve been able to spend my time in a better way.  But the reason why I have been able to enjoy my life here so much wasn’t just because of my effort.  Many people around me have been supporting me all the time and especially my host family gives me chances to have fun as well.  During the lockdown, they tried to help me find new hobbies and we did jigsaw puzzles, baked, and watched movies.  Thanks to them, I enjoyed the lockdown and have come to like watching movies.  Though I rarely watched movies in Japan, I’ve watched more than 120 movies in NZ so far! 

 It might have taken a longer time for me to get used to NZ life than my classmates.  To be honest, I got down every time I read their essays on this website because they seemed to be enjoying their life in NZ while I wasn’t.  But I know those hard times and experiences have made my life today great.  I have overcome a lot of problems and difficulties by myself and one of them is animals!  I’m sure everybody will be surprised to look at the photo below.  I used to hate animals but not anymore.  Can you believe that I touch them every day and I’ve been for a walk with them!?

Finally, I am just grateful to have many people who have supported me.  I really appreciate the fact that they gave me such a precious opportunity to study in NZ.  I can say with confidence that this experience of my studying abroad was the hardest but the best period in my life.  I’ll absolutely miss every single moment I’ve spent in NZ after I go back to Japan.  I want to enjoy the rest of my time in NZ as well and get along with animals more and more!  Haha!

Take care and see you all soon!  Thank you for reading till the end.

Lots of love,

Riko Kinoshita