9 Kiwi Only Problems that International Students Will Discover When Studying Here
These are the Kiwi things that are minor problems, however all Kiwis and most students living in the country will experience at one point in their lives in New Zealand, whether it happens to them or one of their friends.
1. Your jandal breaks
In summer, wearing shoes and socks is too hot so its time to get some jandals! Combining the word Japanese and sandal, jandals are a simple shoe with no top or back, held to your foot by a strap that fits between your toes. They are also known as flip flops and are made of rubber, foam, leather or suede. They come in many different colours, shapes and sizes and can be purchased for next to nothing. In summer, you will be wearing jandals most days and their cheap price, ease of manufacture and well-worn nature often combines to make them break at the most inopportune of times. This will leave you walking in bare feet across gravel, hot sand, burning concrete and other surfaces that are hazardous to your feet with no protection (more to come on that later).
Kiwi Tip: Use a bread bag tie as a quick fix if you get stuck!
2. The fact that our national icon is an endangered species
Our kiwi bird is a national treasure and the people of our country’s namesake. However, as they are flightless, pests and predators have pushed them to the brink of extinction. Today there are a number of organisations working to raise awareness and conserve the kiwi bird from becoming extinct.
Kiwi Tip: We can all help to minimise the threats to Kiwis by following the Department of Conservation’s rules about protecting them.
3. Someone feeds the seagulls
It’s a classic New Zealand scene, you are sitting on the beach, enjoying you fish and hot chips, then someone in your group decides to throw one to a nearby seagull. Before you know it, you are swamped by hungry seagulls, swooping in from all sides as they try to get a bite of your little morsels of potato deliciousness.
Kiwi Tip: Don’t feed the seagulls!
4. Everyone else thinks we are part of Australia
Okay, we understand that our accents sound similar and that we are relatively close in terms of our world map position. However, how many times do we need to tell people that we aren’t Australian!? Our islands are all our own and we must remind people that Australia keep trying to take credit for our inventions, people, sports and other cultural icons.
Kiwi Tip: If you want a great explanation of how to tell our accents apart we recommend asking someone to say this phrase; “fish and chips” and you can watch this video to fully understand this.
5. Auckland weather changes
One minute it’s a beautiful day and you head out the door without a rain jacket on, the next its pouring rain and your’e soaked through. You’ve just gone inside to get your umbrella and rain jacket and the sun suddenly comes out again. Welcome to Auckland, the City of Sails and strange weather that never quite knows what its about to do next.
Kiwi Tip: When in Auckland, be ready for the weather to change at any moment. A light rain-jacket or hoodie should keep you warm when the sun is replaced by clouds or rain.
6. No reception in the bush
You head off for a road trip into the rural areas of New Zealand, maybe going to visit a waterfall, a walk, or staying at a friend’s bach. As soon as you head into a forest area, that’s when your reception disappears.
Kiwi Tip: Make sure you tell someone your plans before heading into the bush. How long are you planning to spend in each place? How long will you be away?
7. Sheep traffic jams
Its well-known that in New Zealand there are way more sheep than people. This means there is a big chance that you will see them daily, especially in rural NZ. Also, there’s no point rushing in the farm areas, sheep often have ideas of their own and will spend a long time blocking the road while farmers and their dogs try and get them off it. It makes for a humorous sight but can be frustrating if you are trying to head somewhere in a hurry
Kiwi Tip: We recommend checking with the locals if they are planning on moving sheep that day or driving later in the day when in rural areas.
8. Prickles on bare feet
You’d think your feet would be safe in the grass, without hot concrete or sand to run across, but in New Zealand, you’d be wrong! Onehunga weeds, broadleaf weeds and other prickles growing in untreated lawns will get you if you don’t keep an eye out! In exposed and higher areas, gorse is also a scourge on exposed skin and should be avoided at all costs.
Kiwi Tip: Check the grass you are walking on for discolouration or clear prickles before you walk/run across it in bare feet.
9. Swimming in rivers is a lottery
Will the water be fresh and the clear, can you see the bottom and fish swimming along, or will it be dark and full of duck droppings? Sometimes the water is fresh but other times you shouldn’t be swimming. Plus, the rivers are always colder than the sea and with fast running water, while more likely to be fresh, it can be dangerous to swim. While we recommend taking a summer dip, it is always important to check where you are swimming before you go!
Kiwi Tip: Learn more about river safety in New Zealand here.
Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.
Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.