Noho Marae Weekend.

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AUT organizes an International Noho Marae weekend twice a year for study abroad and exchange students. I was on the waitlist but one day before I got an email where it said that I could go. We learned about Maori culture, and sang and danced a lot. On the picture below you see what is called a poi which we had to make ourselves. It is used in one of the dances.

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Saturday night we had dinner at AUT because it was the 30th Noho Marae. The Noho Marae weekend has existed for 15 years. We performed the songs and dances we had learned that day.

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I should have taken more photos but I was experiencing so much that I forgot, plus I was sick so I didn’t really have the energy. But here are a few more.

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Hobbiton movie set.

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Before coming to New Zealand I had never seen any of The Lord Of The Rings or the Hobbit movies. I would wish that I could say that I have seen them all now, but that would not be true, because I have only seen the first half of the first Hobbit Movie. I watched it the day before going to the Hobbiton Movie Set to get an idea of why my uni friend really wanted to go there.

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Saturday at AUT.

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I went to the bookstore at AUT today to buy two books I need for my papers this semester. I have spent most of this day at uni writing with friends from back home, reading and preparing for next week. I am meeting some friends at 6pm to go to the movies. P.S. the Bundaberg lemonade on the photo is the best!

Beach day.

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In the morning, I went to uni to sort out some stuff and sign up for the Noho Marae weekend. It’s a trip where you learn about the traditional Maori culture. I am on the waiting list now. After that, I went shopping with two friends from uni. We had heard of a clearance sale on Ponsonby Road and since I needed summer clothes we decided to go. Ponsonby Road is a long road with a lot of cute cafés, restaurants and shops. I really like that part of Auckland. I would even go that far to say that it’s my favourite street (so far).

We headed to Mission Bay Beach, had fish’n’chips and enjoyed the sun the rest of the day.

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First week in NZ.

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I have only been in Auckland for a week but I have already done so much. So much that I haven’t had the time to write about it.

  • I wrote a post about the International Orientation last week but I also went to the ordinary orientation last Tuesday.
  • I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival 2016 at Auckland Domain (or actually, I went there two times), which ended with fireworks last Sunday.
  • I did indoor rockclimbing with my flatmates. And WOW that was fun!
  • I went to the Art Museum with someone from Uni. We didn’t check what time it was and the museum closed 15 minutes after we got there. There is no entrance fee so I might go again sometime.
  • I went jogging on a bright pink road with my roommate. It was so pretty!
  • I have been walking A LOT. Longs walk around the city.

I have met some cool people who are just as interested in exploring the city before uni starts as I am.

Rangitoto Island.

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I am lucky I already met some nice girls at orientation because one of them had the great idea to go to Rangitoto Island in the weekend. We were a group of four meeting up downtown at the harbour to go there with the ferry. The sun was shining and the weather was perfect for a hike.

Rangitoto Island is a vulkano island not far from the coast. There are different paths to hike depending on your level. First, we hiked to the vulkano caves. Some paths takes you inside of the caves where you can see light coming in from above.

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Afterwards, we walked up to the summit. The 360 degree view was amazing, and you could see Auckland City in the far distance.

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The last ferry went back at 5 pm so we had to catch that one otherwise we would be stranded. We planned the hike well so that we would definitely make it back to the wharf in time. But somewhere along the way we missed a path. We realised it when we came to a crossroad and a sign said 1,5 hours until the wharf. As the time was 3.30 pm we kind of panicked and started to walk faster. We were already discussing what to do if we didn’t make it. There would be other people on the island because there were a camping area somewhere but we had almost no food and water left. There were no shops on the island. The ferry staff had already warned everybody to bring enough food and water. Luckily, we made the 1,5 hour walk in 1 hour and made it to the wharf in time. We must have walked fast.

In total we hiked for five hours. It was great, but the sun was strong and we ended up with a sunburn. I was an amazing day.

International orientation day.

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Last Friday was orientation day. I didn’t know exactly where the university was or how long it would take to get there so I went early just in case I would get lost. With google maps open on my phone I managed to get there way before 9 am. I live really close, a 10-15 minutes walk if not less.

The university is called Auckland University of Technology, AUT. It’s a huge university with 19.500 full-time students. 2.660 of them are international students making the university very multicultural. It’s very modern and has a great study environment, social activities, sports teams, and an on campus gym.

It was a fun day with a lot of information. Three AUT employees sang for us because it’s a Maori tradition. We had to give a back massage to the persons sitting next to us in the auditorium, which was… strange? But Kiwi people are fun and seems to joke a lot, even the two police woman who did a small presentation about safety in Auckland City.

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I got my Student ID, and I can’t wait to start my studies next Monday.

More than 30 hours.

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I will just take a breath … These past weeks have been hectic. I have had so many ‘goodbye and see you’ appointments with friends that I am going to miss very much. A lot of points have been crossed off of my to do list in a short period of time. My last day at my internship was Friday, and Saturday I moved out of my apartment. In my life, I have never been on a trip this long. 30 hours from departing from Hamburg, Germany, until arriving in Auckland, New Zealand. And that’s even without the train ride from Denmark to Germany, the waiting at the airport, and the transportation time from Auckland Airport to the flat, where I am living now. 45 hours in total, I guess.

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Actually, the flights were well planned; I was flying from Hamburg in the evening, which meant I could sleep before arriving in Dubai in the morning. In theory at least. I am not good at sleeping in planes so most of the time I was watching movies. In Dubai, I had some hours before the next plane, which arrived in Brisbane, Australia, the next morning. Finally, I arrived in Auckland in the middle of the day meaning I didn’t have to stay up for too long before getting a good nights sleep.

I didn’t see much of Auckland yet, only the road from the airport to the flat, and a Chinese super market nearby that my flatmate showed me yesterday.

Exchange.

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Today, there are only 9 days until I on my way to New Zealand. YES, you heard it right. I am spending my sixth semester as an exchange student in New Zealand. More specifically in Auckland. I know very little about New Zealand and the culture but I am excited to find out. I like the Australian culture so I am happy if the New Zealand culture is more or less the same, or similar.

It has been a long application and preparation process, but finally, I am reaching the end of my list of things I need to do before I am leaving Denmark. Scholarship, visa, airplane tickets, insurance, choice of papers, accommodation and lots of other stuff are now taken care of. The rest of my free time before leaving, I will spend with my friends and family.

I will be away for 4,5 month. From my experience, this is the perfect amount of time to be away.

Istanbul, Turkey.

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I spent the autumn break in Istanbul with my mom. We arrived in the middle of the night and drove with the taxi to our hotel in Sultanahmet, the old city of Istanbul. On one hand Istanbul is a very modern city and one the other hand very traditional. Istanbul is located both in Asia and Europe seperated by the Bosphorus Strait, and actually I felt like it was literally a mix between Southern Europe and Asia decorated with alot of mosques. 

Exploring

Sometimes its good to have no plan. We knew which tourist attractions we wanted to see before the end of the trip, but just discovering the neighbourhood is an experience itself. As our hotel was so centrally located and we love to walk, we actually passed many exiting places.

DSC02019First we went to see a small mosque near our hotel and afterwards we passed the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, which you can see in the picture below.  DSC02022We went all the way down to the river, The Golden Horn, where the fishermen stood side by side. We ended at the Galata Bridge and passed the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) on our way back to the hotel.  DSC02029

Sultan Ahmet and Ayasofya

The day we went to see The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii) and Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) was very sunny. The Blue Mosque was built from 1609 to 1616, and Hagia Sophia was constructed in 537 and was first a church, then a mosque and today a museum. Alot of history in one place. As we stood there in front of the Hagia Sophia the call to prayers began and you could hear the many mosques around town. This happens many times a day and its a part of Istanbuls charm. 

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The blue mosque:
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View of Istanbul

We also walked over the Galata Bridge to the other side of the Golden Horn (Still the European side of Istanbul) to go up in the Galata Tower where you have a 360-degree view of Istanbul. While we were up there is was getting darker and darker, also visible in the pictures. DSC02087 DSC02094

The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is located in the Sultanahmet District. It has many small alleys and you can easily find yourself lost between the thousand of colorful lamps and beautiful painted bowls. DSC02107 DSC02108 DSC02110

Dolmabahçe Palace

The Palace and its garden are huge and from 1856 to 1922 it served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. From 1924, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residence during the summers. He died in the palace in 1938. You can get a tour inside the palace where you can see all the apartments, and also the room in which he died. 
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Other great attractions

I would recommend people to also visit the Basilica Cistern that lies beneath the city. Its an underground chamber supported by a  336 marble columns, each 9 metres high.

The Miniatürk park is worth a visit if you have many days to spend in Istanbul. It’s a park with miniature models of famous buildings around Turkey and Istanbul.

The area around the Arasta Bazaar is also great and is located next to the Blue Mosque and the Mosaic Museum.

Last but not least, you should definitely go to the Asian side of Istanbul too. The only capital of the world on two continents.

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