Sunday, July 26, 2009

Classes, and Our First Weekend Trip

Auckland continues to be amazing, even though I have started classes and my relaxation time is now filled with lectures, tutorials, and reading. My classes are good so far. I am taking Sociology of Auckland, Introduction to Business Management, and a class about Maori history and culture. I like them a lot so far, and I think they are easily comparable to classes in the states. The one difference is that we have scheduled lectures, and then we separately enroll into tutorials on a website that is very similar to NU's Blackboard site. I somehow managed to get Fridays off, which will be very useful for three day weekend trips.

I was also able to join some student groups and clubs this week. I have signed up for Tramping (Hiking) Club, The Sustainability Group, and the Campus Radio. Hopefully these clubs will get me more involved on campus and also aid me in seeing more of New Zealand.

I few friends and I took our first trip out of the city this weekend, to the Coromandel Peninsula. It was absolutely amazing. We left Saturday morning, driving straight to Hot Water Beach. This beach has hot thermal rivers underneath the sand. When we arrived, we were able to rent shovels and dig our own hot tub into the sand to relax in on the beach. Considering it is winter here, we were hoping that the water would be warm enough. We were all surprised to find hot pools that ended up being too hot to be able to sit in. I actually think I saw water boiling in some spots. It was a really cool beach to see. After, we drove to the well known Cathedral Cove, to check out some amazing scenery. That night we stayed in a hostel in the small town of Whitianga - and finally got to see more local culture. Auckland is such an international city that it is easy to forget its in the middle of a country with its own local culture. Saturday night we had dinner and drinks at a local hot spot and got to meet some friendly kiwis. The next morning we took the long way home, stopping at different areas where there were short walks to small waterfalls. It was a great first trip to explore the New Zealand outdoors.

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