Language trip in New Zealand: 10 keys for a total immersion
New Zealand is at the other end of the world. Close to Australia, it offers dream landscapes to its visitors. Known and recognized for having lent its sets to the saga The Lord of the Rings, it is also a beautiful destination for a linguistic stay. But how to fully immerse yourself in this territory so different from ours?
KEY NUMBER 1: HISTORY To really understand your language stay in a country like New Zealand, nothing like going back. The history of a country is often very revealing of the way of life and the current environment. New Zealand has a very rich past, with many twists and turns. Between wars and colonizations, it has undergone significant changes.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE MAORIS Basically, the island is a land made up only of mountains and volcanoes. It is a land mass that, more than 80 million years ago, separates from the continent of Gondwana. The first inhabitants are the Polynesians. They arrive around the year 1000 and decide to name it the country of the long white cloud, Aotearoa in Maori.
They are unaccustomed to this temperate climate that changes dramatically from their traditional tropical. However the magic operates and they begin gradually to appropriate the island. Clans form at each end. Maori own it and spread their culture.
They do not stay alone for long because migrants from Hawaiki (Polynesia) arrive in waves. To be able to live together, a society is organized from 1350 onwards.
EUROPEAN EXPLORATION A first European tries to interfere in 1642. Abel Janszoon Tasman is of Dutch origin. This first meeting does not go very well. Maori greet her savagely and we witness a real massacre. It takes a little more than 100 years to renew the experience.
It is therefore Captain James Cook who in 1769 accidentally lands on New Zealand lands. At this point, trade begins. Wood is traded, but it is the seal hunt and then the whale hunt that is of most interest.
To be able to protect and preserve their island, Maori are forced to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. New Zealand becomes a British colony. But the inhabitants do not intend to let themselves go and a war breaks out. It lasts more than a decade, until the Maori throw their weapons.
THE GOLD RUSH In 1880, the country sees itself again transforming with the gold rush. Researchers from around the world are struggling to find the golden treasure. New Zealand is experiencing a new lease of life and international trade is increasing.
In this momentum, many rights are granted to the population. Universal suffrage is set up in 1889 for example. But that's not all, society evolves too. Women get the right to vote, social security comes into being, union representatives are appointed.
To top it off, New Zealand changes regime and acquires independence in 1907. The latter is recognized only in 1947.
MODERNIZATION It is under total independence but marked by war that New Zealand is modernizing. She decides to apply a free trade agreement with her neighbor Australia. She surrounds herself with the United States, Asia and Japan, who become her favorite customers.
It begins to manifest especially against nuclear power in the South Pacific and does not hesitate to provoke France. Our dear country does not let it go and decides to bomb the Rainbow Warrior, a symbolic boat for GreenPeace, located in the port of Auckland.
The year 1984, the Treaty of Waitangi is reviewed. A law is emerging and makes it possible to repair the injustices made to Maori.
NOWADAYS Today New Zealand is an island still proud of its heritage, whether historical or cultural. She continues to fight for causes that are important to her people. A little rebellious, it does not remove any charm to this open and warm country.
This strong and rich past is a pride for New Zealanders who do not hesitate to share it through many museums and events located throughout the country. The Te Papa Tongarewa museum is a good idea to go out if you have some free time during your language study trip to Auckland.
KEY NUMBER 2: THE POPULATION The discovery of a country passes necessarily by its inhabitants. They carry in them all the essence of the territory and represent emblematic figures. The soul of New Zealand is perpetuated through them and it is they who help us feel immersed.
A CONCENTRATED POPULATION Compared to other islands, New Zealand is sparsely populated. In 2016, 4.6 million inhabitants were identified throughout the country. This figure continues to climb from year to year. This is explained both by the quality of life of the country and by the arrival of many foreigners who settle there permanently.
The literacy rate reaches a record score of almost 100%. Education is very important here and 99% of children go to primary school. It is therefore a very good destination for a language stay because the learning structures are numerous.
As far as origins are concerned, New Zealand is made up of various ethnic groups. The Europeans are the most numerous, they cover more than half of the population. Maori are just under 8%. It is not uncommon to meet Asians or people from the Pacific Islands.
RELIGION Ethnic diversity and cultural mixture offer New Zealand a colorful panel especially in terms of religion. Two of them stand out: Anglicanism and Catholicism.
Although a quarter of the population is atheist, all religions are tolerated. The country has a remarkable open-mindedness that makes you feel free and happy.
THE DIASPORA This word may not tell you anything. This is simply the migration of New Zealanders to neighboring countries. In spite of splendid landscapes, a quality of almost irreproachable life and a certain serenity, the country can not offer all the gold of the world to its inhabitants.
Many people decide to leave the country to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. Most settle in Australia, others in Britain, some in the United States or Canada. It is especially the job market that drives the locals to emigrate.
KEY NUMBER 3: THE MAIN CITIES It does not look like this but New Zealand is still a vast territory that is not so easy to explore. 67 villages are spread over 17 regions but four are considered to be the main ones.
AUCKLAND: THE MOST POPULAR Located in the north of the country, Auckland is home to the most people. To get an idea, it lists more than a quarter of the total population. It is also an important economic and educational center.
The beaches of white sand and turquoise water share the landscape with volcanoes surrounded by greenery. There are also many ports, which earned him the nickname City of Sails. Water sports are fashionable in the city of water.
WELLINGTON: THE CAPITAL In contrast to Auckland, Wellington is in the south of New Zealand. It is the capital of the country. It is the economic heart of the island because the largest financial institutions are located there. Parliament sits in Wellington, it's a real political center.
But in addition to these important institutional points, the capital is a city of art and especially of festival. Museums and theaters rub shoulders with clubs, bars and cafes of all kinds. This is where the director of The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, has his studio.
CHRISTCHURCH: SECOND GREATEST CITY Christchurch is, in a way, the capital of the South Island. Named the second largest city in New Zealand, it has very English accents, particularly in its architecture.
Unfortunately, the city was hit in 2010 and 2011 by major earthquakes that ravaged its downtown core. Since then, the years go by and the reconstruction progresses step by step.
QUEENSTOWN: THE ADVENTURER Still in the South Island, but much further south than Christchurch, here comes Queenstown. The scenery is very mountainous and the ski resorts have bloomed there. The city is a hotbed of thrills. In addition to winter sports, Lake Wakatipu is popular for its water activities.
We always come back to him but it is in Glenorchy, not far from Queenstown, that the Hobbits have their village. So why not try the getaway for a day, after a few English lessons?
KEY NUMBER 4: THE ECONOMY Ah the money ... whether you are traveling for tourism or business, you can not escape. Before going on a language study trip to New Zealand, it is best to become familiar with the country's economy.
THE CURRENCY Here, the monetary exchanges are in New Zealand dollars. The notes are slightly plasticized, which makes them more resistant. There are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 $ tickets. For coins, you will find in your purse of 1 and 2 $ then 50,20 and 10 centimes.
The exchange rate varies enormously according to years and periods. But know that in August 2018, a New Zealand dollar is worth a little more than 50 cents. To not be too loser, it is better to change your euros in France rather than on the spot.
Good to know: if you come to New Zealand on a language trip with an American Express credit card, it will be systematically refused by all merchants.
The cost of living New Zealand's wages are not very high, so the cost of living is a bit cheaper than in France. It is possible to eat well for less than 10 euros. Even on a small budget, enjoying New Zealand is largely possible.
The products of everyday life are affordable while other expenses can cost you a small fortune. This is the case of public transport for example or housing. If you want to go on a language study trip to New Zealand, choose an offer with accommodation included.
AREAS OF ACTIVITY New Zealand benefits enormously from tourism. It has become, over the years, the main business sector of the country. Every year, more than 2 million foreigners come to visit the island. A huge opportunity for the economy but also for the cultural heritage that is spreading.
Agriculture and mining are still the economic engines. It is also in a very good position on the world market thanks to its overseas trade and its exchanges with the United States, Europe and China. A national and international economy that offers a prosperous future.
KEY NUMBER 5: GEOGRAPHY The Pacific Ocean borders New Zealand and its many volcanoes. It is a tasty mixture that allows visitors to admire an exceptional fauna and flora while enjoying a unique climate.
THE CLIMATE The days are long and sunny. Unlike home, New Zealanders celebrate Christmas at the beach. And yes, summer is from December to March. It's one of the best seasons to go to New Zealand to do your language study. It is not really hot, the temperatures do not exceed 30 ° C but it's nice.
Winter arrives from June until December. Snow enthusiasts will be the happiest on the island at this time. 2,000 hours of sunshine a year are still guaranteed by New Zealanders.
THE FAUNA AND THE FLORA Thanks to the different climates, animals and plants are growing everywhere. Sometimes even in places where you do not expect them. They are the beauty of the country and it is a real ecological wealth that pleases the tourists a lot.
On the vegetation side, New Zealand has seen the birth of the most dangerous lianas in the world, such as passionflower, honeysuckle and mulberry. Many vineyards are installed and furrow the paths. Maori have a sacred fern that they call kauris.
The iconic and iconic animal is none other than the kiwi. A rare bird that can be seen on Stewart Island. There are many birds but also seals and whales. The possum is an animal that destroys vegetation. It's a clever mix between a rat and a squirrel.
KEY NUMBER 6: GASTRONOMY What to eat ? It is one of the existential questions that anyone asks when they arrive in a foreign country. Accustomed to French gastronomy, it is sometimes a little difficult to embark on a culinary adventure. And yet, enjoying New Zealand dishes is an integral part of immersion. Here is a top 10 specialties
THE WHITEBAIT Here is one of the most famous and refined dishes of the country. Whitebait are small white fish that can be enjoyed most of the time, fried with a sauce.
THE FISH AND CHIPS British colonization has obviously left its mark. The famous fish and chips can be enjoyed on every street corner. Breaded fish served with fries, we licked their chops.
GREEN MUSSELS We stay in the maritime world with mussels with a fluorescent green shell. They can reach up to 24 cm. This species is raised only in New Zealand.
MEAT PIES To literally translate "meat pies". They are very popular among New Zealanders. The main base is of course meat but variants are proposed. It's up to you to find the one that suits you!
THE ROASTED LAMB Always meat but this time it's lamb. It is roasted and accompanied by sweet potatoes, carrots, peas or corn.
KUNAMARA For vegetarians, here is a purple sweet potato. She is the star vegetable of many New Zealand dishes. Puree is a delight!
THE PAVLOVA Sweet side, there is a specialty that must absolutely taste. This dessert is traditionally served during the end of year holidays. It is based on meringue, whipped cream and fruits.
THE KIWIS The kiwi refers to both the inhabitants of New Zealand, a bird and a fruit. A symbol that speaks volumes. New Zealand kiwis are green or yellow inside.
THE VEGEMITE We are in the category of very special foods. Vegemite is a spread made of yeast of beer which gives it a very salty taste and so particular.
THE HANGI It refers to both a dish but also a typical Maori cooking technique. The food is heated using volcanic stones, deposited in a large hole dug in the ground.
KEY NUMBER 7: TRANSPORT To move in an unknown country and try to find the best nothing like knowing the habits and customs on the road. New Zealand is not left out on this subject. Discover the differences without delay.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT First and foremost, public transport is quite expensive compared to France. There are obviously buses that serve the big cities quite well. The train connects two destinations a little distant.
However Kiwi Rail Scenic Journeys, the private train company, is very comfortable and fast but its network is small. Depending on where you want to go it can be complicated.
THE CAR Who says old British colony says ... driving left. Bingo! Yes, a great experience awaits French drivers. But there are other small details that diverge as the speed limit to 100km / h maximum.
There are very few freeways, most of the routes are small mountain roads (apart from those located in the big cities). However, even when they are unpaved, the roads are well maintained and clean.
If you plan to rent or drive a car, do not forget to ask for your international license. It is free and ask the nearest town hall of your place of residence in France.
HITCH-HIKING Even if in France this practice is rare and is seen as dangerous, here it is very common. It's a good way, totally free to discover the country and especially to make beautiful meetings. New Zealand is a safe country, where respect is paramount.
So pull out YOUR thumb and best smile and wait patiently for a New Zealander to share his route.
KEY NUMBER 8: LANGUAGE Here is the challenge of language stay: language. In New Zealand, although English is the predominantly spoken language, there are others. And you will see that some will surprise you.
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Not one, not two, but three languages have been formalized in New Zealand. The Maori is the first that appeared on the island. Then there is obviously English and finally, the third is ... sign language.
The Maori is the oldest language but it was only practiced by the inhabitants of the remote villages. Today, many schools try to connect the generations by offering Maori lessons to children. A television channel also broadcasts Maori language programs.
For sign language, it has been official since 2006. It is taught in schools and spoken by more than 25,000 people. If you speak sign language, you will be disappointed because you will not really be able to practice. The signs are a little different from the French ones.
ENGLISH It is certain that it is the most used language. 98% of the population communicate in English. Of course, when we have been a British colony for years we can not deny this language.
81% of New Zealanders admit to mastering only English. This is good news for tourists who flock more and more over the years. And then, for a linguistic stay it is the perfect place to progress.
OTHER LANGUAGES The influx of foreigners who choose New Zealand to settle means that many other languages become popular in the territory. Samoan is a Polynesian dialect that is understood by many people.
India has also contributed to the building with Hindi. More than 65,000 people practice it. Mandarin is also controlled by a small portion of the population. If you intend to speak French in New Zealand, you will face a wall because our language is in the last position.
KEY NUMBER 9: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES It is agreed that the main purpose of language study is to learn or reinforce one's skills in a foreign language. But leave from, as well choose your destination. The choice of the place of a linguistic stay goes through the photos. The magic places are numerous but here are the must-sees in New Zealand.
TEKAPO LAKE This lake is 3 hours drive from Christchurch. Several hiking trails are offered for the whole family. The landscape is breathtaking.
THE STIRLING FALLS This sumptuous waterfall is located on the South Island. It is over 151 meters tall. Photo is mandatory here!
THE RANGIPO DESERT This time, head to the North Island to discover a splendid desert. Very arid and dry, this part of the territory receives between 1,500 to 2,500 mm of rain per year only.
FOX GLACIER Totally different universe and inverse climate, here is the Fox Glacier located on Mount Tasman. Its height is around 3479 meters.
Wanaka Wanaka is a seaside resort with a majestic lake. The mountainous landscape is reflected on it. We could spend hours contemplating it.
Of course, there are dozens of other places to explore in New Zealand.
KEY NUMBER 10: EVENTS The landscapes are beautiful but the events and traditional festivals are just as beautiful. Major festivities are not to be missed as they reflect New Zealand culture.
HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS In January, Pukekura Park hosts the annual Festival of Lights. It is a festival of lights where many lanterns are hung in trees. Concerts punctuate this luminous event.
Very traditional, the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival is a haka contest organized in February. The biggest gathering to celebrate Maori culture is the Pasifika Festival.
For the most seasoned stomachs, the Wildfood Festival is the perfect place. No, we do not come here to taste traditional dishes but to swallow worms, testicles of sheep or other delicious dishes.
This list is far from exhaustive, New Zealand is always celebrating!
HOLIDAYS One day in the year is dedicated to the alliance between the Maori and the British. It is called Waitangi Day, the same name as the treaty. February 6th is therefore a holiday.
ANZAC Day is celebrated on April 25th. This date celebrates the arrival of the New Zealand Army in Turkey during the First World War. Like any Commonwealth country, New Zealand wishes the Queen of England's birthday every first Monday in June.
Other holidays are common to France such as Christmas, New Year, Easter Monday. Labor Day, Labor Day, is held on the last Monday in October. Each province also has its own holidays.
That's it, you're now unbeatable on New Zealand. Let's go, A language stay is waiting for you!