An unplanned adventure to New Zealand

by Stephanie - 01/06/2010 14:58:00

Congratulations Bronwen!
Our June blog winner

Bronwen is discovering Dunedin on the South Coast.   

Nineteen-year-old Bronwen Rees started uni this year, but realised it was the wrong place and wrong time for her to study. She has now taken a gap year and says she has never regretted that decision.

An unplanned gap year is currently turning out to be the best year of my life!

I've been to Austria and worked in a 5-star chalet as a chalet hostess and then if it couldn't get any better I am now umpiring and working in the land of the Kiwis, while living with my man.

A year ago, I was what you would call an average student, taking my A levels expecting reasonable enough grades to get me in what I thought was the uni of my choice. In fact this year I did start uni, however, it didn't last. Once there I realised almost immediately that this is not what I wanted, so to the disapprovement of most of those who surrounded me, I quit. But now I can only say one thing and that's figures up to them.

I have just completed a ski season in Austria - no I don't speak German, no wasn't the most amazing skier but, hay, I liked the sport and well why shouldn't I give a new language a try? I've learnt one haven't I?

I'm going to be completely honest with you, it wasn't easy I have never been that far away from family for such a long period of time but the surroundings were so beautiful, the people I worked with were just lovely (most of the time), the chalet was phenomenal and an A for me, I was kept busy most of the time. I worked five days out of seven, working evening and breakfast shifts, and sometimes changing rooms; that left me the entire afternoon to do what I pleased, and well of course I skied. From Dec to April, I was skiing four to five days out of the seven and now consider myself quite good at skiing.

This is not only area where I have improved, I'm far more confident and have the people skills that most working environments require as well as a huge amount of work experience under my belt. Now I can't forget the most important things: the mountains had so much skiing available to me both piste and off piste; the social life was OK,  I have to admit it was ideal for me as I'm not a huge drinker but there were so many local towns offering much more to do. I can honestly say that this was the greatest experience and time of my life.

Until now that is ... I am currently living in New Zealand and yes it has not stopped raining for nearly a week, and its freezing cold and only going to get colder but I come from England so let's be honest its no worse than what I'm used to. And I have just visited the adrenaline filled town of Queenstown and Milford Sound, a place that contains the most stunning scenery in the world, so I am happy to tell you that the weather has not and will not dampen my spirits.

I simply cannot wait for the rest of this experience. My only fear is that it will end far to soon and I will have to return back to my home and start uni this September.

I will be working in Dunedin until July in a Thai restaurant, waitressing will be my trade. Then for what all this is for, one month to travel the two beautiful islands and do all those things that should be done in a place like this. We plan to hire a campervan and visit those must-see places and do those must-do things. I am out here with my boyfriend, he is playing rugby, I have been welcomed into his club with the wonderful Kiwi hospitality that can only be raved about and in fact tonight I am heading out as a flapper to one of their socials. I, though, have chosen to leave the rugby to the boys and decided to experience the most popular girls sport here. Netball. 

I both play and umpire the sport back in England and while being a popular sport with girls there, I can simply say I have never seen anything on the scale New Zealand has. I have been umpiring at The Edgar centre in Dunedin  where they play over 50 games just on a Saturday, I'd say that's a tad few more then eight a night. I have not had the opportunity to play but that has not bothered me in the slightest, I have been encouraged to work for my regional level of umpiring. As mentioned the hospitality of the Kiwis has just been wonderful and through my boyfriend's rugby club we have been invited to dine with many members, offered weekends away and invited to the homes of many of the lads when they break up for their holidays to both stay and experience their hobbies and family. I am most grateful for where I am and who I have met even if it does rain for my entire stay.  

I can't say much more on New Zealand at the moment, however in a few months time I hope to be talking non-stop about the place, I simply cannot wait for the rest of this experience. My only fear is that it will end far to soon and  I will have to return back to my home and start uni this September.

What surprises me most is that this is the last thing anyone expected me to do, I was told again and again by college, friends and certain members of my family to complete uni and then do as I please. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't listen to any of them and well just simply followed my heart and head. My advice to anyone in even just considering a gap year or seriously thinking about it is ... DO IT!

- Where are you on your New Zealand working holidayDon't forget to send us your blog entries!

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