Ex­change stu­dent says she’ll be back

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

Af­ter spend­ing a year as an ex­change stu­dent in Toko­roa Cathrine Cas­pari is sure of one thing- she’ll be back.

Cas­pari, who hails from Nor­way, has been liv­ing with a host fam­ily in Toko­roa since Jan­uary and at­tend­ing For­est View High School as part of the Amer­i­can Field Ser­vice (AFS) in­ter­na­tional youth ex­change pro­gramme.

The 17-year-old, who re­turns to her home­land early next year, said it’s been a life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I come from right out­side Oslo, the cap­i­tal of Nor­way, so I am lucky to have ended up stay­ing in a small town like Toko­roa which is prob­a­bly the best part of the whole ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ she said.

‘‘When you start walk­ing around town you start to recog­nise peo­ple and al­ways have some­one to say hi to.’’

‘‘The peo­ple and cul­ture are so dif­fer­ent to what I am used to but it is a re­ally good dif­fer­ent. My favourite thing has been the peo­ple, cul­ture, and way of liv­ing.’’

‘‘With­out be­ing mean to my own coun­try New Zealan­ders are a lot more laid back, a lot warmer when you first meet them, and they are a very welcoming peo­ple. You are kind of friends with ev­ery­one from the mo­ment you meet them,’’ she said.

Cas­pari, who plans to one day study medicine or law, said school life has also been dif­fer­ent.

‘‘School­ing here is a lot eas­ier. It is a lot more free and you can choose more sub­jects and what di­rec­tion you want to study from high school level rather than just from uni­ver­sity,’’ she said.

She said she choose to come to New Zealand due to it be­ing out of the or­di­nary.

‘‘Not many peo­ple choose to go to New Zealand but I wanted to learn some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent and go some­where new. My host fam­ily has been amaz­ing welcoming me into their home and it has been an ex­pe­ri­ence not only for me but for them also be­cause at the same time as they are teach­ing me about New Zealand cul­ture I am teach­ing them about Nor­we­gian cul­ture. It is a unique ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

She en­cour­aged fam­i­lies to take on ex­change stu­dents.

Cas­pari said she was sad her New Zealand ad­ven­ture was draw­ing to a close.

‘‘My mum misses me of course but I will def­i­nitely be back,’’ she said.

Cathrine Cas­pari.

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