Meet Student: Casper from Thailand
We talked to Casper, a year 10 student from Thailand about living in Northland and studying at Springbank School in Kerikeri.
I’m originally from Thailand. Born and -mostly- raised. But my father is Swedish and I’ve spent quite some time in Stockholm. From 2015 to 2018, my family and I have been spending time in Kerikeri -my sister and I studying at Springbank school- for a few months every year when it was the summer holidays back in Thailand. For the rest of the year we were still attending primary school in Thailand. In 2019, I was 11 and was finally old enough to stay with a host family, so me and my sister were sent on our merry way to Northland while our parents remained working in Thailand. I unfortunately had to go back to Thailand in 2020 due to covid, but now it’s 2022 and I’m back!
What made you choose Northland?
Coincidentally, my first question to my parents when we arrived in Kerikeri was: “Pappa, why did you choose to bring us here?” And it is now that I truly understand his answer to the question. He told me that he chose Northland, for a few years ago, my mum and him were travelling all across the world with their mountain bikes. From South East, to North Asia and across Europe, exploring all the new places. Their last destination was New Zealand, and there, they put a pin on the map and said: this is the place.
“We like the warmer climate,” they said. “So North was the only option we really looked into, and found out that the small town with great education, heritage and cultures, outdoor lifestyle and warm and welcoming people was – Kerikeri.”
The first time I came to New Zealand was in 2015. My sister and I attended Springbank school for a term whilst staying at a rental home, with our parents, just out of town. Overall, New Zealand was very strange to my 8 year old self. I was quite nervous at first, since everything: the climate, the geography, the people and especially the language was just so new. So my parents gave me a term to experience the most I could of what Northland had to offer. If I liked it, we’d come back again next year. If not… I actually don’t know what would happen because evidently, I chose the first option.
What do you love most about studying at Springbank school?
There are many things I love about Springbank, but the one that really ties me to the place are the teachers. The effort they all put in, to not only lessons but the overall well-being of every student. I feel that, in Springbank, everyone is family, and everyone is always taking the extra step to care for one another. The small community allows teachers to be extra aware of every single student and give them the added support whenever needed. They are able to pay attention to the little details of every student, both academically and not, which I think is quite rare in many schools.
What are your favourite experiences in Northland?
At first glance, I would say my favourite experience in Northland was when Jill (our international student director) took us to go see the All Blacks compete in Auckland! It was definitely a night to remember.
But to really dig deep into it, an experience I think is so unique, and one that I think I will never forget, simply put. Dance. From the moment my arms and legs were moving as a toddler, all I ever did was dance. I don’t know how I will ever live without it. Sadly, Thailand wasn’t the right place for my passion to grow. It took me until 2019 for me to actually step into a dance studio, but from then on, my skills and love for dance thrived more than ever before. The best thing from it is the community. The dance community is one of a kind. I’ve been a part of sports teams, academic teams, but the dance team is who I feel I can call family. My ability to dance has always been there, but Northland really made me love it.
What are your interests, sports, and hobbies?
My favourite thing to do, at any point in time, is perform. Whether it’s dancing, singing, acting or playing an instrument, I feel like myself when I am performing to a crowd. I also do lots of art. Painting, drawing, knitting. Wherever I am, I’m always creating.
But another thing that I’ve surprisingly found myself enjoying is netball. I was never an athletic kid, but when I arrived in Northland, I was introduced to a sport I’ve never heard of before: netball. At first, I never even thought of joining, but just this year, I felt like it’s a good idea to add a sport to my list of activities. Netball, unlike other sports, didn’t seem too intimidating to my un-athletic mind, so I signed up. I ended up really enjoying it and I can’t wait for next season to start.
What is your favourite local place to hang out with friends?
Spots in town like the playground, library and the local gym are always a go-to. But an occasional trip to Paihia beach is always a treat.
How long will you stay in NZ?
I plan to stay in Kerikeri until I graduate high school.