Liesette Brokking - 2015 Program Participant

Why did you decide to the intern abroad?

I really wanted to go to New Zealand for a long time, and my internship abroad was a good opportunity to do that. It was also a way to explore the world and learn things about myself.

Why did you choose Intern NZ?

I thought it was a really trustworthy company. Before I signed up, I had a Skype meeting with Dovile and could ask as many things if I wanted to make sure I knew everything before I sign up.

Seals in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Watching seals during a walk in Kaikoura

What made your program unique?

I had to do a lot of different things on the same time. I was always buzzy and sometimes it was a little bit chaotic. Everything has to be organized on time. And it feels so nice when everything is done, and people are enjoying the events.

What is the best thing about your program that future participants need to know?

Everything is organized really well. They help you with everything. The internship, visa, accommodation, insurance, etc. You can always Skype when you need more information.

What was your favorite part about your program?

The trips and event itself and the fact that I could join all of them! It is so cool to organize something and you see that other people are enjoying it. I really saw the results of my work.

Describe a day in the life of your program.

During my program I had to organize different things; I had different meetings to promote the company and I had to make the reservations. I also had to make sure that everything was okay during the event/trip.

Lookout in Gisborne, New Zealand

Amazing lookout during road trip to Gisborne

Did you experience culture shock? How did you overcome it?

I did expected it, but it was not a big shock at all. The culture of New Zealand is not that different from Holland. I made friends really easily, so you get used to be abroad very quickly.

What's one thing you would have done differently?

I don’t know. I don’t think that I would do something differently. I saw New Zealand, had a great time during my internship and made a lot of friends. There is not a single thing that I regret.

What was the hardest part about interning abroad?

The hardest part about interning abroad is not seeing my family every day. My family and I are very close. I have seen the most beautiful places in New Zealand and had the opportunity to do special activities. These were special moments in my life that I really wanted to share with my family. Luckily there was Skype, so I could still tell them everything I did.

What surprised you most about New Zealand?

I knew the people (kiwi’s) in New Zealand were very kind, but not like I would had imagine it. Once I asked a Kiwi the way and he walked all the way with me. I said that I could find it without him. But he insisted walking with me, so he could show me places to eat, party or see something special. Another thing that surprised me was the landscape. If you want you can see a beach, snow, mountains and rainforests in one day.

On top of Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Top of Mount Maunganui in Tauranga

Lastly, in the beginning I was afraid that it was hard to make friends. I did not expect that I could make friends so easily. Everyone is so kind. There are a lot of student interning abroad. Everyone is easy going because they all know how you feel. Before I knew, I already made a lot of friends, with who I could party, travel and eat.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before interning abroad in New Zealand?

New Zealand is an expensive country. However, there are few things that could make your life cheaper. I always did my groceries at Countdown (the supermarket in New Zealand); Countdown is pretty expensive. Half way during my internship, I heard about the Chinese supermarkets, where you can buy a lot for little. It does not have the best quality, but it will definitely makes you life a lot cheaper.

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to New Zealand?

Pack as little as possible. There are always things you can buy during your stay. But pack at least one outfit you can wear during summer, winter, for a party and for a business meeting. Also, make sure you always have an umbrella with, especially during winter. It doesn’t matter if the day starts with a blue sky, it will rain on the most unlikely moments. Lastly, there is one thing that I did not have and wanted to use quite often: an iron. It sounds funny, but image not ironing your clothes for at least six months.

Now that you're home, how has study abroad impacted your life?

I have more life experience, I see the world differently, and I am more independent now. It is something that will be around me every day.

Friends at lookout point in Piha, New Zealand

Lookout point in Piha with friends

What do you feel the biggest benefit of interning abroad is?

Interning abroad gives you not only an invaluable work experience, you also learn a lot about yourself. Living on the other side of the world, give you the opportunity to think. You will learn a lot about yourself and the world during the places you see and the special activities you do. At least I did. Another benefit is friends. You have the opportunity to get in contact with people all over the world. That gives you a big advantage if you want to travel again.

If you could intern abroad again, where would you go?

I think I would go to New Zealand again, or Australia. I really felt home quickly. Auckland is a great city and New Zealand is the best country I have been to. New Zealand has been named the world’s best country for the fourth consecutive year. And I understand why! The people are nice and the country is amazing. I really like the culture of New Zealand. It makes me feel welcomed and safe.