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Kine Diallo

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

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