Karaoke fun

The Wanderer loves to see Outbound students showing how they are getting along with their host culture. The excerpt and photos below come from this post of Hanah’s.

On Wednesday I had to go get my supplies for tea ceremony club. I met three of my classmates from school to help me get them in the morning. Unfortunately the shop was closed so we went and did karaoke instead. We first stopped by a convenient store to get food to eat while we were doing karaoke. At the karaoke place we rented our own room. It had a table, couches, and a karaoke machine. It was so much fun and a great way to help me with my reading Hiragana and Katikana. I sang a couple of songs in English as well. My other classmates knew the song “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne so we all sang it twice and danced around. After I sang that song my throat hurt! We then went to McDonald’s for a snack and I had mini pancakes they were really gross. Many teenagers like to go to McDonald’s in Japan. We then went shopping, however, I did not buy anything. I had a great last day of break with my classmates!
purikura 1
purikura 2


As our Outbounds become busier in their host countries, their blogging becomes understandably more sporadic. In another great, long post, Emily updates her readers on the events of the last month. You can read her full post here, after reading the excerpt below. There are also some fantastic photos.

8 September I had dinner at parliament with 2 MPs [Members of Parliament], Chris and Trevor something. I went with Peter and Phil (Rotarians) and Kendyl and Pia, 2 other exchange students. We got a tour around the “bee hive” and then just had dinner there.

These are all from Belmont regional park, which is right behind Anne’s house.

Rae in São José da Coroa Grande

Rae wrote a great, long post that you can read here. Below is just a short excerpt on her recent trip to São José da Coroa Grande for a Rotary conference. Students often have the opportunity to travel their host region to attend Rotary functions.

It’s been over a month since I wrote my last blog post! I’ve been really busy, but that’s not a very good excuse, so I’ll try to make this a good post and fill you in on everything that happened in the past month!

The first weekend in September I went to a town called São José da Coroa Grande. Say that 5 times fast! São José da Coroa Grande is about a 5 hour drive south and it’s just a few minutes north of Maragogi, where the Rotary conference was. I drove down with my host brother Daniel, his girlfriend, and his dad. We all slept the whole way there because we left at 5 in the morning. Before we left Marisa and I ate breakfast together and I was lucky enough to watch the sunrise here from my apartment balcony! It is said that the sun rises here first out of North America, Central America, and South America because João Pessoa is so far east. It was SO pretty and I’ll put a picture of it on here. The whole weekend we were with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My cousin Lara from my class and her best friend Amanda were there too. The weekend was a lot of fun. Lara’s grandparents have a house right across from the beach, so we were in the ocean the whole weekend. One of the days we went out on their speed boat and went to a small island. The water was sooo clear there and beautiful! Independence day was Monday, September 7th. I was expecting a huge party like we have on the 4th of July, since here in Brazil they have parties for everything. But there were no fireworks, parties, or celebrations so we just drove home Monday.

Finnish Fotos

On a recent trip to Oulo, Finland, Lauren took some great photos. Below are a just a few, more can be found here.

So, Oulu was pretty sweet! I went shopping, and my feet hurt from the stone streets there. It was really pretty! Unfortunately, it was raining all day, so between shops I had my scarf wrapped around my head to keep my hair from getting all funky.

I took plenty of pictures!

baby statue
These are statues that are supposed to describe Oulu and its history. The beginning has statues of trappers and fisherman, and it goes to artists and other types of people. Someone decided the little boy was cold I guess.


Seriously, all of the streets were like this. It was like it in Tampere too. I think it looks really cool, but its not fun to walk on after a while.

Hanna on Korean cleanliness

This amusing post is an excerpt from a series of musings from Hannah’s longer post here. We will continue to highlight some of Hannah’s entertaining insights.

In Korea, cleanliness is HUGE. I brush my teeth when I wake up, after lunch, and before bed. Every time I come home I have to wash my feet, face and hands. We even had hand-washing lessons in school. Did you know there are seven steps? They also hand out bags of cotton balls with rubbing alcohol (to clean your hands) to each student. Today on the way into school, the nurse was picking kids at random to test their temperatures. You can’t wear outdoor shoes inside, not even in schools or church. For school, you must have your own pair of indoor shoes, but other institutions supply them. H1N1 is taken much more seriously here then I feel it was back home. Everyday, I see many people wearing flu masks. Its kind of disconcerting, especially at night! Who are they? Which way are they looking? Do they have H1N1?!?

School musings

Emily gives us a taste of school life in New Zealand. This post here was edited for length, you can see the full post here.

So last week 2 girls in my school got back from America. They did some kind of exchange program that lasted 5 weeks. They are both in a few of my classes. It’s really funny because I hear them talking to other kids about what America is like. Most of the things they say, I just think, hmm I didn’t know that was special. Things like dollar stores and the drive-through at Starbucks.

I also brought my yearbook from last year to school and gave it to my kiwi friend. She kept it for a few days. During the week, people came up to me and said they saw my yearbook and asked me about it. They went crazy about our football field, saying it’s a giant stadium. They were very amused at the fact that people dress up and actually go to all the football games. There’s no school spirit here, competition between schools is not as epic as it is back home. Students don’t attend any sporting events and no one really cares how the school teams are doing

Even though Hutt High is probably one of the best schools in the Wellington area, it feels like they have nothing compared to my school back home. They use chalkboards here and overhead projectors are their “modern” technology. Very few classes have them. Also, we have to pay for all our school books and uniform and everything is ridiculously expensive.

Every couple weeks or so we have assemblies. Our year goes into the assembly hall and we all sit with our form class. Then the deans walk in and we all stand silently. If you talk, you get a detention. Then when all the deans are on the stage, we sit and they just stand there and stare at us, straight-faced. It’s a very formal process, I see why there is no school spirit. Then they introduce the principal and we stand again and clap. The principal goes up on stage and starts lecturing us from a written speech. It’s never very motivating. One time, it was a cold, rainy day and I was wearing a black zip-up (same color as the school one) and the dean took it from me. I went to get it after school and she said next time she’ll keep it the whole term.

But anyways, school is alright. Math is hard now. We’re doing calculus and of course, I’ve never done anything like it but my classmates have for a few years now. I also wrote a big history internal last week. It went well I think, even though the teacher even said it doesn’t matter for us international students.

Teacher for a day

Today brings a quick update from Chris in Ecuador. You can view his original post here.

I don’t have any pictures for this but yesterday I got to teach two English classes. Right before class, my teacher said that one of the teachers was gone and asked me if I would teach the class because I speak English. So, I got to be a teacher for a day.