Creating precious memories

Japanese teenager Niko Fujii finds the people and the weather refreshing in Wellington

Niko with the mayor of Hutt City Council
Niko on a kayak

About Niko

Name: Niko Fujii
Age: 13
School/institution: Wainuiomata High School
Home city and country: Tokyo, Japan

What was the biggest cultural difference you noticed between your home country and Wellington/New Zealand?

Of course New Zealand’s diversity! There are a diverse range of people in parliament - young people, old people, men, women, Polynesian people, Kiwi people, and Maori people. I think it makes New Zealand a popular country. Also, people in New Zealand know more about LGBTQ+ people than Japanese people. All couples can marry legally in New Zealand, but not in Japan.

What is your one top tip for someone coming to study in Wellington?

Bring a windbreaker! There are lots of places where you can visit for your study. It is okay to wear a jacket, but a windbreaker is best. Though wind in Wellington is nice and refreshing, it is often so cold and strong that you cannot stand still. Windbreakers block the wind from coming inside your clothes and will keep you warm. 

Niko with other students
Niko on school trip
Niko at lookout with view of Wellington

What were your first impressions of Wellington as a city/region?

I remember that I thought buildings in Wellington are so fancy when I was looking outside from the car of the international staff who picked me up at the airport. I never got bored looking at unique and colourful buildings and looked forward to living in this city.

What are the differences between your classes/tutors/lecturers/teacher here in Wellington compared to back home? 

I see teachers deep in talk in the library, in classrooms, and while walking. I could hear their conversation once, and I realised that they were discussing improvements and opinions about school curriculum and subjects. I am so glad that I am taught by them.

Are you thinking of staying in Wellington after your studies to work? Why?

I have something that I want to do in my home country in the future, so I do not think I will stay in Wellington to work, but I am sure that I will come back here again.

Have you participated in any Study in Wellington programmes? (For example, Work Ready in Wellington, Alumni Connect etc...) If so, what were the benefits for you?

I have not.

What is your favourite Wellington meal/place to eat?

Jackson street, Petone. There are lots of restaurants where you can try other countries’ food. My host family took me to Thai, Vietnamese, and Italian restaurants there, and their dishes were delicious! You should try Japanese food there too!

What is one of your best Wellington memories?

Before I came here, I was not scared about studying abroad by myself at all, but when the plane started to prepare for landing, I was very nervous and upset. However, as I stepped into the Wellington wind which I think is like a comfortable blanket, those negative feelings blew away and I felt confident in myself. 

However, I cannot rank precious memories in Wellington! I have been to Mt Victoria, I have been to Te Papa museum, and they were wonderful!

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