A Broad View is written by different international students each week who wish to share their impressions of their time here or unique experiences. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are an international student wanting to tell your tale.
The first thing I noticed when I moved to Dunedin was the presence of bare feet everywhere. The fashion choice of to-shoe-or-not-to-shoe is unheard of back home. We always wear shoes in some form!
Compared to life back home in the States, people here seem to move slower and time seems less important. It’s a relaxing environment that lives in the present and doesn’t preoccupy itself with the future. This truth manifests itself in varying ways, but one example that comes to mind is the different levels of importance placed on schedules.
At my university in the US, paper exams are scheduled down to the minute years in advance. I kid you not. If you went to the English department and wanted to know when such-and-such paper has it’s final in the Fall of 2018, they could tell you. People at home feel empowered by planning and uncertainty can drive them to madness. They like their color-coded calendars and many can’t imagine life without their daily cell phone reminders for tests, papers, and exams that remain months away.
Here, the attitude is entirely different. We’re nearly halfway through the semester and the schedule for final exams remains unclear. What’s more? No one minds. The difference, and the irony, is that most Kiwis have the foresight not to worry about the future. They live in the now, taking care of the day-to-day—the part-time jobs, the daily assignments, the question of what to do on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights—and if it isn’t happening in the next week or so, it’s secondary. Ultimately, they have the wherewithal to recognise that whether the exam occurs on June 1st or June 17th it doesn’t matter. Because it will happen, and beyond that there’s a Six60 concert on May 30th to prioritise.