Welcome to Katie's Travel Blog. This is really Jenny-doesn't-get-to-travel blog where I (mom) keep track of Katie's adventures so I can have some vicarious enjoyment! Here's a look at what one globally-aware kid from little Santa Cruz, California gets to do these days if her mom's willing to keep working!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 7: Attending School in New Zealand is Part of the Homestay

What they are feeling - wet in Picton!
Ha! The kids have to go to school today! 

At least that's the plan on the itinerary. They are still at their homestay in Picton until tomorrow. And it's raining! According to the Weather Channel, it poured last night and might hold steady today (and tomorrow). But then things should get better in Christchurch tomorrow. 

Before they left, the delegates (and parents) attended a series of meetings and the kids had to do reports on different aspects of life, culture and politics in the two countries. They learned about life in NZ and school so it will be interesting for them to actually experience it. 
Schooling is compulsory for all children in New Zealand aged 6 to 16. Children go to primary school from 5-13 years old, then secondary school (also known as college, high school or grammar school). There are also some intermediate schools for children in their final primary school years from 11-13 years old.
There's a chance the schools might be on break. I just found the schedule and the term ended in early July - not sure if that means this week or last week! (I love the last paragraph below. Everything in NZ sounds so chill!)
School usually starts at 9am and runs to 3pm or 3:30pm. There are four school terms running from late January to mid-December with two-week breaks between them and a six-week summer break at the end of the year. 
Term 1: February to mid-April - Two week break
Term 2: Late April to early July - Two week break
Term 3: Mid July to late September - Two week break
Term 4: Mid October to mid December - Six week summer holiday
Like the rest of New Zealand, schools are peaceful, relaxed places and discipline is good. Pupils are made to feel comfortable in their learning environment and there’s less pressure. It’s an environment where young people can stress less and learn more.
They are out of Internet range until tomorrow. They are getting closer to the Antarctic and the weather is getting colder! Shelia, their leader, posted one quick pick (see below) as they boarded the ferry yesterday and commented on the temperature drop. 

An iconic landmark, Stirling Point at the southernmost tip of the South Island has this great sign that shows how far everything is from that tiny spec on the map. The Antarctic isn't that far! 

Sheila's photo from the boarding area at the ferry yesterday.
UDPATE: We got a note from late this day from Sheila and Colleen, the two leaders. Here's what she had to say:
Dear Parents, 
We are having a GREAT time...the delegates are AMAZING! Thank you so very much for preparing them so well...they are doing such a good job of representing their country. 
We appear to have brought good weather with us;-)
Auckland was sunshine and w/o wind with little chill as was Rotorua and Wellington...nicknamed their "WINDY CITY" the weather was so beautiful they took us to see some extra sights from atop Mount Victoria...from there we got to see the Byrd Expedition Monument which points the way to towards Antarctica and the South Pole.
The ferry crossing was almost as smooth as glass and our Delegation Manager, Sarah, had booked us a large area to ourselves at the front of the boat with great views and privacy to safely store our stuff as we explored and enjoyed the voyage...again, GORGEOUS weather...everyone was amazed.
We continued on our journey to Methven, South Island, on a 2 lane coastal highway (much like California's highway 1) for approx 3 hours arriving in snow flurries...Yeah! We had a terrific school visit today and all delegates seem thrilled with their homestays. 
Sheila & Colleen
From the People to People Itinerary: 
  • Today, if school is in session, you will have the opportunity to attend school with local students and experience their academic and social life.
  • Remember to thank your home stay family, as this will be your last night with them.

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