Getting a scholarship to study in New Zealand is the educational experience that will change your life: "Not only had I the opportunity to improve my English, I was also able to make friends from all over the world and grow as a person", says Javiera, who studied at Cashmere High School.


by Javiera Jorquera Ríos,

There are many reasons that make me believe that having won the scholarship of the program Pingüinos Sin Fronteras has been one of the luckiest things that have happened to me. Not only had I the opportunity to improve my English in other country, I was also able to make friends from all over the world, to grow as a person, to learn about the culture of New Zealand and to appreciate even more the people and culture of my home country, Chile.

I was received with arms wide open by a Scottish family that lived in New Zealand a long time ago. They really made me feel comfortable since the very beginning, they helped me with everything they could, they were really cozy and were like parents to me. In the house also lived an exchange japanese student named Miyu, that after some days, went from being like a fake sister to my best friend in New Zealand. We spent our free time watching anime and chatting in my room, while she tried teaching me some Japanese and I tried to teach her some Spanish.  I could learn some aspects of her culture whilst I taught her some of mine.

I felt very lucky to make international friends, most of which will always be in my heart for the good moments we lived together and the support we gave to each other. I believe that, as we all left our homes for some time, we all felt nostalgic sometimes but we really wanted to make the most of our times in this beautiful country.

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I could not write this article without mentioning my other Chilean mates from the Pingüinos program. The bonds between us are unlikely to be broken. I was able to meet people from all Chile; from the extreme north of the country to the last corner of the south. We lived happy moments together and we walked around the most emblematic places of Christchurch.

I will also keep with me the memories of my kiwi friends, which made my study in Cashmere High School even more enjoyable. The people of this country turned out to be very friendly, and not even once did I feel discriminated; they really welcome foreigners. Here, I also learnt about the Maori people, the indigenous group of New Zealand.

My life as a student in Cashmere High School was really good. All the staff of the International Office was very friendly, and gave us a tour around Christchurch; they always cared about how we were doing at school and managing the changes in a new country, as well as the way we were living with our host family. The rest of the students showed an interest in us from the very beginning and they helped us solve all our doubts.

The only negative aspect of my experience was that I could not choose my courses, and was only able to change one of the six that I was assigned. This was because, as me and my other Chilean mates arrived in the middle of the school year, either courses were already full or we had to start the course at the beginning of the school year. This is the reason why I could not take drama or cooking courses, which my school in Chile does not have and in which I was very interested while studying at CHS. Despite this, I enjoyed the courses I took and my teachers were very good in all positive ways.

Now that is almost time to return back to Chile, I truly think I will not arrive empty handed; I will take with me everything I have learnt during this trip, from the Maori and New Zealand culture, to the life lessons I will never ever forget.

For more information on studying in New Zealand and Cashmere High School, check here the official profile on Viva Mundo.