I really enjoyed staying here at Shirley Boys High School For me coming in New Zealand , the opposite side of the world from Italy , was scary especially at 16 years old and without your family. Teachers and staff are very good , comprehensive and helpful. I made good friends from day one.

One of my best mates helped me find my classes on the very first day. I think I will miss this place, my mates, teachers and host family. The International department was really helpful.  I felt like I was at home. Thanks to Shirley Boys High School for everything. This is just a little part of what I feel. If I write it all this testimonial would be too long!”

– Niccolo De Santis

“Throughout my time at SBHS, I’ve learned new things, explored the culture of New Zealand, and had heaps of fun. Most importantly, I have made friends that I will never forget, and I am truly grateful that Shirley Boys HS has given me that opportunity. The teachers and staff are very supportive and promote advocacy in the classroom. The things that I have learned here have been valuable and will impact my life. The school is very accepting to all international students and all students in general. Overall, my time here couldn’t have been too much better.”

– Elijah Dunn, USA

Year 12 International Student Ken Burkholder created a ‘Guide for international students coming to Christchurch’:

‘Studying in Christchurch is very different compared with Japan, especially the school system. Here at Shirley, we move between classes because every class has students taking different subjects. The way subjects are taught and the activities during the class are also different. We do not just read textbooks and take notes. Actually most subjects do not use textbooks. There are a lot of essays and reports. We don’t do essays or writing reports in Japan so it’s hard to write them, especially in English, but doing this helps you improve your English and think more logically.

Homestay Some families are kind and some are strict. However, you have to appreciate everything your host family does for you and communicate with them. This will lead to a good relationship.

Language is always an issue when you live overseas. I feel the difference in the accent. Maybe this is because I’m half American but sometimes it can be difficult to understand Kiwis. In Japan we mostly study American English so sometimes in New Zealand you hear words you have not heard before like ‘rubbish’ [trash] and ‘lollies’ [candy].

Food is very different. People don’t eat so much rice and miso soup. Instead, we have mostly meat, potato, vegetables and bread. It tastes good but sometimes you may want to have other things.

The main public transport in Christchurch is by bus. There are many routes so you can go almost anywhere but you have to know the bus won’t always come on time. It may be late but the price isn’t so high so it’s a good idea to use it.

Things to do. Christchurch isn’t a big city compared to Japan so there aren’t many places to hang out. However there are lots of places to play sport, hundreds of parks with green grass, as well as nearby places to ski and surf so I recommend outdoor activities here.

Benefits of an overseas experience. You can experience things you will never have in Japan. You can improve your communication when you come here. You don’t know anybody and also your own Japanese family won’t be there so you have to take care yourself and need to talk to somebody if you need help. At the first it may feel hard but, if you don’t give up, I’m sure you will have a good time in Christchurch.’

Talented Year 12 musician Makoto Niino looks back at his three terms in Christchurch:

‘I would like to talk about what I thought while I stayed here.

It is extraordinary that life in New Zealand is not so busy compared with Japan. When I live in Japan, I take a tube to go to my high school. I have four big exams over three terms and my school often finishes at 7:30pm, so I cannot use the Music Department until my band’s shift.

In New Zealand, these things are different, it is more relaxed. I now understand things that I have never thought about in Japan. I am really pleased to mention this.

I think New Zealand’s culture is similar in some ways to Japan. We have not only traditional culture but also recent culture.

My father and my grandfather are Japanese flute players at Kabuki which is one of the Japanese traditions since the Genroku era (from about 1688). I can play the Japanese traditional flute, too. When I arrived at New Zealand, I wanted to tell people about Japanese culture. I played my flute in several local cultural events and at school assembly. I am really proud and pleased that I could perform in front of people from another country and a different culture.

If I had not come here, I definitely could not learn about another culture and compare it with my own. I really want to say “Thank you so much’’ not only to Shirley Boys High School but also to my parents and to my host family. You have reminded me and made me aware of a lot of things, and you have helped me to grow up so much.

I am really proud that I could experience New Zealand life at Shirley Boys’ High School with lots of great people.

Thank you so much, everyone and everything!

Adrien Nobliet visited for a month from France in 2016. His enthusiasm and willingness to try everything not only made his experience special but meant he made great friends at Shirley who have fond memories of him.

‘I wish to communicate appropriately my gratitude to Shirley Boys’ High School and to my Host Family I had during my amazing trip in New Zealand.

During my short life, I had the occasion to visit many countries from many different continents, but my New Zealand impression and experience was very different compared to these ones. I will always remember how kindly I was welcomed in New Zealand : at school by the students and teachers, in my host family and in an indoor soccer team and much more!

I really appreciated the way people took care of me and were so kind with me all the time! Thanks to all of you!

I never thought I could go skiing in August, I did it in New Zealand, that was an awesome moment, I would like to thank the school for bringing me at this ski trip !

There is no doubt that I will keep all these good memories in my mind, the people I met and in New Zealand! Too bad that New Zealand is on the other face of the earth from France. No doubt that I will keep in touch with host my family who welcomed me so well.’