ZUCC professors experience New Zealand

10 May 2018

Lisha Xu and Fan Zhang relaxing in the South Island.

ZUCC professors Lisha Xu and Fan Zhang have only been in New Zealand for two months, but they have already fallen in love with the University of Waikato. The two Zheijang University City College lecturers have both been to New Zealand twice before, but love coming back and learning more about the culture each time they visit.

We sat down with them to discuss their experiences in New Zealand so far.

What surprised you most about New Zealand?

Lisha: The hospitality. Kiwis are the most hospitable people I have ever met.

Fan: We have travelled to many other countries, but New Zealand is definitely the friendliest place.

What was the most challenging part of coming to New Zealand?

Lisha: The first challenge of moving to a new country is culture shock – you are in a new place, with new people and a new atmosphere. But, as Kiwis always say, “No worries.” It’s important not to be afraid of change and adjust to new cultures. Communication is another challenge. Sometimes you will face a language barrier or have trouble understanding a new accent. The solution is to go out and talk to people – if you do this, you will make friends and it will help relieve homesickness.

Fan: The culture in New Zealand is very different from China. You need to make yourself open to thinking like a Western person. It is a challenge, but it’s important to talk to people – don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

How does Kiwi culture differ from Chinese culture?

Lisha: The learning style is very different. In China, we are more focussed on examinations. In New Zealand, it is believed that students should find fulfilment in their studies and study what they enjoy.

Fan: The two perspectives are very different and both have their strengths. It’s important to combine the different cultures to get the best of both sides. The world is becoming more and more global, which is a good thing.

Lisha and Fan loved the beautiful scenery and range of landscapes in the South Island.

Have you travelled around the country?

Lisha: We both went to the South Island during the semester break. Queenstown was my favourite place.

Fan: We saw some beautiful landscapes. New Zealand is the one place that combines all kinds of landscapes from around the world: mountains, beaches, rivers, and tropical forests.

What will you miss most about New Zealand?

Fan: The weather – fresh air and lovely sunshine.

Lisha: The slow-paced culture. People like to take a break and enjoy life here.

Do you plan to come back?

Fan: Yes. It would be nice to do more travelling here. It’s a very international place and you can find people from all around the world.

Lisha: We have made friends from all around the world – the culture here is very open and inclusive, especially at the University of Waikato.

If you could give one piece of advice to ZUCC students, what would it be?

Lisha: Study well, work hard and travel lots.

Fan: Look for differences between cultures and be accepting of others.

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