IN THE DEEP END
I first heard about the hostel program through my mum. Her work colleague’s daughter said it was the best experience of her entire schooling education, as well as what shaped her as a person and set her up to go out in the world and make the most of it.
I was sceptical. However, the more I learnt about it the greater it seemed. Spend your last year of high school in a beautiful town called Wanaka - skiing, tramping, biking, rock climbing and more - with thirty interesting people my age, for the first time, together. Sure! Still, when I got accepted and started the program, I really did not know what to expect. They really chucked us in the deep end, but in a comfortable way - like with floaties and stuff to keep us bobbing about.
On the first day, after meeting our house mates and fellow hostellers, we met all these people from our year level for some games, like volleyball and capture the flag. It was the best possible thing that could have happened because then starting school wasn’t so intimidating, since we knew some friendly faces to guide us around. But before that, a three-day tramp.
I remember that first tramp. I had never been tramping before so that made me at a slight disadvantage from everybody else. I struggled a little bit, but these strangers I’d met a day or two before were helping me the whole way. They’d turn back and ask me if I was alright. Offered to take some of the weight off. Stopped when I started to get too far behind. Never once made fun of me for not finding it as effortless as they were. I ended up still having a good time regardless of the difficulty because the of the people I was with.
The whole experience of being supported by these strangers, and not feeling like I had to be perfect at everything, made me feel a lot more comfortable about the vastly new world I’d found myself in. Before I knew it, life in the Hostel was just flying by. From school, to volunteer work, to Outdoor Pursuits and extracurricular activities, I am grateful that I am having this experience before entering my adult life. I’ve grown so much as a person, as well as learnt so much. Even though I have a lot more on my plate now than back home, my grades have gone up. Learning in a challenging yet transparent environment, that takes on board the students’ views and accepts our capabilities, makes all the difference.
What more can I really say? If you’re considering doing this, straight in. It’s a great experience!
I recommend jumping