Hi, I’m Qingqing and I'm from Hunan province in China. I remember arriving to New Zealand on my first day and as I was travelling to my meet my homestay family for the first time, I could not help but imagine how my homestay house would look like as I kept passing by so many beautiful looking houses. As I arrived at my homestay house, the deck and the fence of the house were all painted white, and there was a large green lawn in front of the deck. The house was clean and tidy, and the floor was covered with carpet. My room had enough space for my luggage, and I had two beds in my room. After exchanging greetings with my homestay grandmother, I began to worry about my communication skills. I usually don’t practice much speaking English. It’s not easy to speak English all the time. I told my grandmother that I was not confident. She expressed understanding and encouraged me that I would improve more as I attended classes at ELA. Only two of us lived in the house. She was very happy with my company. She also introduced me to her neighbour and sometimes she would take me to the park for picnics!
The teaching methods at ELA were very different from those in China. All the classes were delivered in English and there were a variety of activities in my classes. The teacher asked us to regularly change speaking partners so that our confidence of speaking English improved quickly. What’s more, the teacher also took us on small field trips outside of the classroom. For example, for one trip we were divided into groups to video beautiful Auckland scenery and edit into the video clips our verbal commentary. Our oral English and video editing skills has improved a lot since then. I was grouped with Kelly from Korea and Benjamin from Switzerland and we completed the task successfully.
Before I left Auckland, I had two very happy weekends and a special New Zealand National Day. We went to the crater of an extinct volcano, Mount Eden, which was said to be a good place for city views. In the afternoon, we took a ferry to Devonport on the North Shore and visited the Naval Museum. Sitting on the beach with blowing sea breeze, we had a very pleasant afternoon. At ELA, I made many good friends both from China and other countries. We dined together in the lounge, or went out for a holiday, and spent the Chinese New Year's Eve with them in New Zealand.
My 25 day group experience in New Zealand has been enough for me to understand the local lifestyle in New Zealand and to improve my English. In New Zealand, I gained the confidence that I have never had before. I was reluctant to leave the quiet and leisure life behind in New Zealand – it will always be a country I would like to visit again!