ISA students in the Bridging Cultures Program in New Zealand

Bridging Cultures & Combating Culture Shock in New Zealand

By Kaitlyn Webster, Marketing Associate

No matter how excited you are to go abroad, traveling to a foreign country can be overwhelming. ISA helps make your transition abroad as smooth as possible by offering a comprehensive on-site orientation before you begin your study abroad program. The Bridging Cultures Program was specifically designed to help orient study abroad students to their new home and combat any feelings of culture shock. ISA students studying abroad in New Zealand will spend four days in Auckland and Rotorua before continuing on to their host city. During this time, they’ll meet other students, learn about the local culture, and attend orientation sessions. Here are some highlights of the Auckland and Rotorua Bridging Cultures program in New Zealand.

Walking Tour of Auckland

ISA New Zealand students will fly into Auckland, the largest urban area in the country, and begin their on-site orientation in this dynamic coastal city. After settling in, students will take a walking tour of Auckland, which will give them a chance to stretch their legs after their long flight and orient them to their new surroundings. After the walking tour and orientation session, the first day of the Bridging Cultures Program will end with a Maori cultural experience and Hangi dinner at the Auckland University of Technology where students will sample local delicacies and experience the Maori culture for the first time.

An ISA student in Hobbiton.
An ISA alum posing outside of a Hobbit Hole. (Photo by Alexandra DeYoung)

Visit to Hobbiton

Peter Jackson’s award-winning Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series were both filmed at various locations around New Zealand. During the Bridging Cultures Program, students will be able to explore Middle Earth when they go on a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. The tour will take them around famous spots in the Shire, including picturesque Hobbit Holes and the Green Dragon Inn. Whether you’re a fan of the films or just want to see some movie magic, the visit to Hobbiton is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Learn & Perform the Haka

The Bridging Cultures Program will do more than just teach students about the local Maori culture; on the fourth day of orientation, ISA students will experience firsthand what it was like to be a Maori warrior when they learn and perform the Haka. The Haka is a traditional war dance and cry performed by a group in Maori culture. The high-energy dance is taught by local Maori people and will give students a better understanding of New Zealand’s history and its indigenous peoples.

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland Hot Springs
The colorful Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua. (Photo by Nicole Renard)

Swim in the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland Hot Springs

It’s no secret that New Zealand has some of the most dramatic and scenic landscapes in the world, and students will have the chance to experience the natural beauty of this wild country when they head to the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua. Thousands of years of volcanic activity has created these colorful geothermic elements which are as relaxing as they are photogenic. Students will be able to swim in the hot springs, mud pools, and Blue and Green Lakes, where they can take in the scenery and relax after their busy week.

The Orientation Sessions

During the first three days of the Bridging Cultures Program, students will attend orientation sessions between activities which will help prepare them for their time in New Zealand. Key emphasis is placed on areas such as goal setting, intercultural awareness, and professional development. The skills discussed during the orientation sessions will help students navigate their time in New Zealand and help set them up for success in their academic programs.


Click here for more information about the Bridging Cultures Program in New Zealand.

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