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Rangiora High School - Term 1

Yoko S. - Neuseeland

Stipendium gestiftet durch:
iSt Internationale Sprach- und Studienreisen


Yoko S.


Hey! ;)
Here are some events and pics from Term 1! :)


Schüleraustausch Neuseeland


As in England, pupils are wearing uniform. That's mine:

Schule Neuseeland Freunde Neuseeland Sophia and me


People in Year 12-13 have a different uniform. So at the right you can see the one they have to wear:


I'll tell you a bit about my school now, so that you can get an impression what it is like.

Rangiora High School is a public school situated in the village I'm living in. There are students from Year 9 to Year 13, you enter after primary school (Year 1-8) and stay at High School till the final year after which you can go to university. I'd like to tell you some facts I discovered about the New Zealand school system because in Germany - and I'm sure also in other countries - the school system is quite different. In my opinion it's real interesting to exchange information about school and the everyday life with people from other countries. So I just keep asking the Kiwis about their subjects, recreation and so on. Nobody minds!

I was told that in New Zealand the children enter school very early: at the age of 4 years! That's why most people in Year 11 are 15 years old, some of them are still 14 and will turn 15 in the next few weeks; very few pupils have already turned 16. In the whole country people have to go to school for 13 years - that's a common rule. So you've finished when you're about 18 years old.

At my school, as at many others over here, there's a system I find reeeeeaaaally cool! It made me immediatly think of the Harry Potter movies!! :D - Rangiora High School is divided into 6 houses: Each house represents one celebraty, which means one person who has done something innovative, something really big in the past. When you enter high school in Year 9, you are told in which house you are on the basis of the subjects you've chosen. I am in house 'Rutherford'.


High School Neuseeland


Each house has two leaders, called 'dean' and 'head' of the house. There are also Assemblies, for my house on Wednesday mornings, where the students belonging to the same house have to come together in order to listen to some general important information given by the leading teachers or by the principal. That's for about 20 minutes before school starts.

On top of that each house has its own representative colour! For my house it's blue. The other houses are Hillary (red), Sheppard (black & white), Lydiard (orange), Mansfield (yellow) and Ngata (green).


Neuseeland Schule


Well, I told you that the house you come in depends on the subjects you choose - that's because everyone has different focuses, for example you prefer sciences more than language-based subjects. So here in New Zealand you can choose your subjects! That's so cool! For me it was new because where I come from everyone has to take the same subjects and you end up with about 12 different ones... Anyway, here you only have 6 subjects at school. In my Year it's compulsory to take English and maths, apart from that you can decide on your own which ones you'd like to take.

The subjects I chose are maths and English, French, PED (Physical Education, we're doing athletics, netball, sessions in the gym, etc), Independent Learning (a study subject) and Drama. :)

One lesson is 60 minutes long, sometimes it's a real pain to get from one course to the next one because the school campus is just sooo huge!! :D There's even a road separating the two parts of the school. There's a main part with the office, most of the school buildings, green areas to chill and the cafeteria. On the other side of the road there are the land based subjects like Animal Husbandry (the school has its own farm), the languages (French, Japanese), the Gym for PED and the big field. The big field is an area where people practice sports in PED, especially in Term 4 & 1 when it's very warm outside; and you hang out there with your friends at lunch time. That's one thing I really appreciate and that was new to me when I came here - the people really use the facilities to be outside and enjoy the good weather. As I know it from Germany: We spend like 99% of our breaks inside the buildings or in the cafeteria, but can't be bothered going outside. Well, at Rangiora High it's way nicer outside I have to admit, with all that grass and benches to sit on, the trees - at lunch time you could get the impression of being in a parc, not at school, that's so cool!


Schulgeländer Neuseeland

on the big field


It's not just the opportunity to spend your breaks outside that I like about Rangiora High - the school's campus in general is nice! It's very big and there are lots of open areas with trees and benches:


Park Neuseeland Neuseeland Schulbesuch


Here's what our Drama Room looks like:


Rangiora High School Neuseeland

from the outside: the M-block (Music block - there's Drama, Music, Orchestra, etc)


from the inside:


Musikunterricht Neuseeland Musikraum Neuseeland


Theater Neuseeland

Drama mates Ivan, Mia, Thomas


This picture was taken near the language based rooms - with Julie, an international student from Norway, on her last day. She's such a lovely girl!!


Freundinnen Neuseeland


I had to get used to a lot of different things over here in comparison to Germany, such as the environment in and around school, the courses, etc. After a few days then I had handled to get into my new 'daily routine'. So I'd like to show you now:

A typical school day for me


7:15 wake up - awesome, 45 minutes later than in Germany!! However, doesn't mean that I'm not tired in the mornings

7:20 - 7:45 get dressed, put make-up on, do my hair, etc.

7:45 - 8:05 breakfast & packing lunch - this was also new to me because at home we always pass a bakery before going to school or I eat something in the cafeteria, so I needn't pack any lunch at home; in New Zealand every Kiwi student has his own lunch in a box with him, and for lunch they don't eat a big warm meal (as I was used to it at home) - they just eat snacks at school, such as fruit, muesli bars, also chips and popcorn

8:05-8:30 finish packing bag, brushing teeth, get ready to go

8:30-8:35 walking to school - yeah, that's right: school's only about 5 minutes away from my hostfamily's house, that's sooo handy!!

8:40 school starts with 'form time' - another new habit for me: 'Form time' is a 20 minute period every morning (except for Thursdays and Assembly day) where you're together with your 'form class' and just sit down, chat and chill out till you have to go to your first subject. That's pretty cool because you needn't immediatly concentrate when you come to school! You're put into a form class depending on your age - that means I'm in a Year 11 form class because I've just turned 16. Despite that I can go into higher level courses if I want to - for example in Drama I'm in Year 12 and in maths in Year 13. It's just your form class you can't choose, but that'spretty good actually because that enables you to be with people at your age who share the same interests. I found quite a few friends in my form class and I always spend the breaks with them. :)

9:00 start of Period 1

10:00 start of Period 2

11:00 - 11:25 'Morning Tea Break' / 'Interval' - in that break between Period 2 and 3 you usually sit together with your friends, talk and have a little snack. In Term 1 when the weather is nice and sunny, you sit outside and you can enjoy the sun meanwhile.

11:25 start of Period 3

12:25 start of Period 4 - I'll just pick that period to demonstrate to you how one period is like, kind of. You're either in your classroom or in the library, if your teacher chooses to do some work on the computers.

13:25 - 14:20 Lunch Time - as I've already told you, you're usually sitting outside, e.g. on the big field, and have your lunch with your mates. There is also a cafeteria, but it's not an indoor one, just a little one where you can buy muffins and stuff. - If you want to, you can also join clubs at school, which can be held at lunch time or after school. For example I've done Dragon Boating on Wednesdays at lunch time. I'll show you some of those pictures later, that was pretty cool!!

14:20 start of Period 5 - yeah, last period for the day!

15:20 school's out! - every day school finishes at the same time, for everybody. That was also new for me because where I come from, everyone has his individual timetable, so school can be finishes at 1pm, but also at 4:15pm.

15:20 after school activities - they're not compulsory, but as the school offers a huge range of sports and things to do, you should really not miss it out. They're for Kiwi students as well as for us internationals. For example a German friend of mine is in the Rugby team at Rangiora High. You can also do netball, play an instrument, take part in the school's drama performance, and there are many other options!

Here are some pictures showing my friends and me at Dragon Boating, that was so much fun!!


Sport Neuseeland

Tahlia, Bella and me


We also participated in a Dragon Boat competition and raced against other schools' teams. It took place at Pegasus Lake, where our team also usually practiced:

Our team!!

Teamsport Neuseeland


Rangiora Boys on the water:

Rudern Neuseeland


Getting ready to take off:

Schulsport Neuseeland


the competition at Pegasus Lake –

Sportwettbewerb Neuseeland

- In the end we came in 3rd and Rangiora Boys 1st! It was sooo much fun with our teams!!


Other events that happened at my school so far:
The welcoming of the Year 9ers at the very beginning of the year with a Maori ceremony: At the first day of school the new students at Rangiora High were welcomed by the principal, other teachers and students at the big field. Beside speeches the Maori class had prepared a Haka (traditional Maori dance) performance which was pretty impressive!

Another day in the first week of the term, our school had 'House Sports Day'. Again you can compare that to Harry Potter: The 6 houses were challenging each other in different disciplines, such as tug of war, long jump, sprints, relay races, etc. The good thing was that no one considered those activities as too competitive – even the teachers said we should just give our best and when we just tried out each discipline, we got a 'Great job!' or 'Good girl / boy!'.

However there was obviously a winner at the end. You were given points on each event, for example 1 point for each meter you reach in long jump. As a school in an environmental-friendly country, Rangiora High even gave a point to each person who picked up rubbish and threw it into the right bin – I found that very funny, and a good idea actually.

Another characteristic for the House Sports Day is that everyone dresses up in the representing colour of their house!! That was sooooo cool, people came up with the greatest ideas – as a banana, tiger, cookie selling girl, blueberry and many more!! Lots of people had also brought colours to get everybody painted.

However there was obviously a winner at the end. You were given points on each event, for example 1 point for each meter you reach in long jump. As a school in an environmental-friendly country, Rangiora High even gave a point to each person who picked up rubbish and threw it into the right bin – I found that very funny, and a good idea actually.

Another characteristic for the House Sports Day is that everyone dresses up in the representing colour of their house!! That was sooooo cool, people came up with the greatest ideas – as a banana, tiger, cookie selling girl, blueberry and many more!! Lots of people had also brought colours to get everybody paint


Freizeit Neuseeland


Here we are, my friends and me having a break on this hot summer day, we've already been painted

Schüler Neuseeland


Here's what you could also have looked like after some hours of 'paint-war':

Spiele Neuseeland


In the end, you may have thought about Olympia because the 6 houses (like the different countries in Olympia) were walking in one big circle one after another, the people belonging to one house were together, dressed up in their representing colors:


Schulmannschaft Neuseeland


Sometimes throughout the term the school also organizes fun runs, cupcake sales or fundraising for a good purpose.

At the end of Term 1 we had a 'Mufti Day' - that means you needn't wear your school uniform. Some people still wear their school dress or pants, but the majority wears casual clothes. For me it wasn't unusual to see people dressed casually at school because in Germany we don't wear uniforms, but when I asked my friends, most of them said it's always a bit weird for them choosing what to wear before school in the morning and going to school not in uniform. If you go in Mufti to school on a normal day, teachers will take you to the student office and you'll get a kind of 'punishment', a detention or something, I'm not sure what exactly.

There are a few other rules at Rangiora to follow, unless you want to be send to the office - however the teachers don't see that sooo strict. ;) Normally, you mustn't wear nail polish, you're just allowed to wear a watch, but no other bracelets, and you mustn't wear more than one pair of earrings. You also shouldn't exaggerate with your make-up - but, as I told you, nobody's too strict about that.

The internationals
There are quite a few internationals at Rangiora High School - about 30-40 at one time. Most of us are staying for half a year, some only for 3 months and some for a year or even two.
Lots of international students come from Japan and from Germany. The others are from Italy, Korea, Mongolia, China and Norway.

The school tries to involve us as much as possible into the Kiwi school life. That's why we're wearing uniforms, too, choosing our subjects just as any other student here, and writing tests. Well, we're 'trying our best', but the results actually don't have any impact on our school work back in our home country.

One day we had 'International Lunch': All the international students should get into groups of their home country and prepare two typical dish of that country. There was for example the German group making brezles, meatballs and potato salad; the Asians were preparing rice balls and stir fried noodles with vegetables; and there was our group. Our group was the Italian-Russian one, but because there's only one Italian girl at Rangiora High, Ines and I, two Germans, Julie from Norway and Ivan from Russia joined her. We ended up making pasta with two different sauces and Russian pancakes.


Kantine Neuseeland


Freunde Neuseeland


It was so much fun! Especially because so many of us had never prepared their meals before and sometimes everything seemed just impossible to manage. Despite that chaos it worked out pretty well in the end and it was entertaining for all of us.

The food we made was set up on tables in the school's hall and Kiwi students could get it for a little payment. While they were eating they could watch performances of some international students, for example traditional singing and dancing.


Schulaula Neuseeland


Right now I can say that I'm feeling comfortable at Rangiora High School! The students as well as the teachers are real nice and open-minded towards every new student and you quickly make friends. I'm enjoying the 'fun subjects' I don't have in Germany, such as Drama - however 12 weeks of school in Term 1 were real long I have to admit!! So all good that there are Term holidays of 2 weeks.
See you soon!

Love from sunny New Zealand,