Meet Student Ambassador: Toni Aschentrup

Antonia is from Germany and is studying at Springbank School while living with a host family in Kerikeri. She is one of our 2020 Study Northland Student Ambassadors.


We asked Toni about her school, her host family and living in Northland, New Zealand.

1. What made you choose Northland?

I really enjoy the beautiful nature of Northland. On my first day in Kerikeri (located in the Bay of Islands) my host family took me out to one of many Islands. We were walking on sandy beaches; the water was crystal clear and the sky was blue. That day I knew I made the right decision to study in Northland. The scenery is just wonderful and the many palms around make you feel like you are on holidays.

2. What do you love most about studying at school in New Zealand?

I love the kindness of the people. New Zealanders are so relaxed and open minded. My school is small and from the beginning I felt like part of a big family. It was easy to find friends and the fact that you can do subjects like Outdoor Adventure where we go surfing, diving and sailing is a bonus.

3. What are your favourite experiences in Northland?

One of my favourite experiences definitely includes surfing. Our Student Director Mrs. Grimshaw arranged a Surf weekend with us international students in Ahipara – famous for its fantastic waves. We had good conditions and the water wasn’t too cold. It was great and I can still remember the sunrise over the 90-mile beach on our first day. I will really miss going surfing when I am back in Germany.

4. What is it like living with a homestay family?

Living with a new family in new country far away from home is an amazing experience for me. Right from the beginning of my exchange year my host family was very caring and loving. I got along with my older host sister Melissa (17) very quickly and during Lockdown we spent a lot of time together taking pictures. She is like what I imagine it must be like to have an older sister (as I have two crazy little siblings).

5. What are your interests, sports and hobbies?

I am really interested in sports. Since I am in New Zealand, I started to play Tennis, Volleyball, and I enjoy surfing and netball, all of which I have never done before. At school, in PE and Outdoor Adventure we also play a lot of Maori sports like Ki-o- Rahi, Poi Rkau and Waka Ama which is great as we get to learn more about the Maori culture. Springbank School also has a fitness program which I love doing. 3-4 times a week we play sports or go running on the schools running tracks that weave their ways through native bush. But besides sports I am playing the piano for eight years now. I am really happy to continue playing piano in New Zealand since it was a big part of my life in Germany.

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