new beginnings and great advice

i leave for China today. today! it is absolutely crazy. i’ve been packing, getting rid of old clothes, catching up, hugging, chatting… all these things while i get myself sorted for China.

it has been such a long time coming which i think is why it still feels very surreal. this is literally two years in the making, and there have been so many challenges and items to tick off between the thought and the reality. and now it’s here.

you can imagine that i have been having all the deep thoughts about this. as i said to my mum, going to China does feel like the end of my childhood. i know that a lot of things will have changed by the time i come back and that is of course good, and life, but is still hard to wrap my head around.

and then there is all my aspirations for my time in China itself. relationships, academic, language (my oh my do i want to get fluent after 8+ years of language learning!), travel, new experiences… goodness gracious.

with all these thoughts swimming around my head, i consulted my sweet, wise friends. i wanted to know what advice they would give their younger self before leaving home and going to university. while this isn’t my first rodeo, so to speak, i felt like everything that applied to undergrad and different city, would also apply to postgrad and different country. here is what they had to say:


Take a deep breath, put on a smile and go out of your room! The best way to be interesting is to be interested – ask questions! Be kind. Everyone you meet is going through a big time of change and everyone is as nervous as you are! Just try to relax and you’ll find your groove with time.

Don’t go into papers with preconceived ideas of how hard it might be. Starting a paper where the lecturer tells you “half of the class will fail this paper” means that you believe it is impossibly hard when actually if you start with an open mind, it might be okay. With a bit of patience and focus right from the start, you might be surprised that you can do it – rather than putting it off all semester only to find it isn’t as hard as you thought but it is too late to get better than an okay mark for the paper.

As time goes by, whenever anything hard happened or I was feeling homesick, or sick of uni generally, I would count the friends and experiences that I would never of had if I hadn’t made the choice I did to leave home and move to Dunedin and that would quickly assure me it had been one of the best decisions of my life.

And make sure your parents are well schooled on what a top notch care package entails!
– Clara


My advice to pre-uni or pre-exchange self would be to trust myself more. In really different circumstances with lots of change or other languages or new people, it can get very overwhelming and it was super important for me to realise I was my own best support. You’re you! And you really do know how to look after yourself, whether that means having another coffee or putting flowers in the kitchen or any little thing at all – making small changes to help you feel better can cause a massive shift in how confident and brave you feel over all. Trust yourself!
– Madeleine


It’s really exciting to move to a new city so I think an important thing to do is really make the most of the opportunity that you’ve been given! Chances are, you probably haven’t spent or seen too much of the new place you are moving to so I think it’s really cool to get to know the new place you’ve moved to! It’s the perfect excuse to eat out at cafes and explore all the attractions your city has to offer. It’s even better if you do it with others – can be a great way to make new friends because after all, your friends become your family when you are living away from home so it’s really important to build some strong connections and relationships!! You don’t always have to do really “touristy” things either – discover the little things in your new city and become a true local!
– Nileesha

wow. aren’t i so ridiculously lucky to count these wise ladies as dear friends!

the next post will be coming to you from CHINA! wish me luck!