Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Addicted to New Zealand

Dirk Meyle - Activity co-ordinator (Auckland)

My connection to New Zealand started back in 2001 when I decided to leave Germany for some months in order to improve my English skills. I wanted to go away from my home country as far as possible and ended up in New Zealand. I attended a general English course at Dominion English School in Auckland for 3 months and had the time of my life. I met so many people from all over the world and this cultural exchange was really fascinating and bonding. During the week I had class, but on the weekends...I travelled around the North Island with my new friends. It was then, when I completely fall in love with this awesome country. The stunning and breath-taking landscapes, the unique thrill-riding activities and the kindness of the locals stayed in my mind for ages after I returned home.

The following year I went back to NZ with my best mate and we travelled around the North Island. This time I visited areas I hadn’t seen on my first visit. The most impressive places were the East Cape with all its Maori Cultural Sites and the Hawke’s Bay Region with all the wineries and Art Deco Buildings.

After I finished my apprenticeship back in Germany in 2003 I decided to take a break. And so I returned to Dominion English School, where I did my FCE and CAE Cambridge Exam. I made friends with lots of people - foreigners and locals – and travelled round the South Island for the very first time. Although it’s the same country, the South Island is totally different than the North Island. There was so much to see, so much to do and so little time. Climbing up Franz Josef Glacier, relaxing at Lake Wanaka, Bungee-Jumping in Queenstown, Cruising on Milford Sound, getting bitten by hundreds of sand flies on Doubtful Sound, chilling at the Catlins, exploring Dunedin, tracking around Mt. Cook and there was still lots more on my to-do-list. After 6 months my time was over and I had to return home, but not for long.

In the following couple of years I came back to catch up with some friends for Christmas and New Years and visited some of my favourite spots.

Last year I returned to Auckland to finish my English studies, passed my Cambridge Proficiency Exam in December and travelled around the South Island for 5 weeks by car. Although I’ve already been everywhere it felt great to see the amazing scenery again. Then, in January 2008, I started to work part time in my former language school as an Activity Coordinator for Students. I really enjoy this job, because it’s a really good feeling to show students the interesting sites in and around Auckland and give them their “time of their life”.

I not only work for Dominion English School, but also do I work in the marketing department of Action Tours – a company offering and running weekend-trips for students.

Looking back at all the miles I drove, the sleepless nights in all the backpackers, the almost endless list of my favourite spots, the adventure activities I did and thinking of my beloved Kiwi-mates - I consider New Zealand my second home. It is a very special country which has so much to give, so much to show, it has the light heartedness, which I think we’ve lost in Europe. Unfortunately my work and travel visa expired in September and I have to go back to Germany.

And what’s happening after that? I’ve planned to travel through South America in 2009, but as I know myself, I will end up in New Zealand…once again.

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