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March 13, 2017 | by  | in One Ocean |
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One Ocean

Overcoming Orientation Blues

Leaving home was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. As an international student, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed when I first got to uni.

The week before classes started, we had Pasifika Orientation. There were a lot of students there and I felt a bit nervous. I wasn’t too sure what the overall experience was going to be like. Was I going to be able to talk to anyone? Was anyone going to want to talk to me?

Then I got to AM102.

It was amazing how much I felt at home. From the minute I walked in, everyone on the organising team was so welcoming. They answered our questions, but more importantly, they made us feel like it was okay to ask questions. The way they normalised the first year experience took away a lot of the anxiety I had about my new life in this new (literally freezing cold!) environment. It has also motivated me, as a Pacific Islander, to look beyond the so-called impossibilities imposed on me by stereotypes, and to believe that great things, like getting A’s and graduating, are possible. Pasifika Orientation replaced my nervousness with excitement. When you’re a first year student in a new country, excitement is a great thing to have because it gets you up early to walk down to uni.

I’m very grateful for the week we spent in orientation. It helped me put into perspective this new chapter of my journey. I just want to say, Fa’afetai Lava to the amazing team that facilitated the program. You guys are awesome! Every year you have to go through this whole routine of introductions and explanations but you do meet every new student with such enthusiasm.

Here goes my first year at Victoria University of Wellington. I’m ready.

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