Exchange student scores final goal

Inka enjoys the relaxed team spirit of Waimai United.

After learning English for 10 years, German exchange student Inka Hoehne was given the opportunity to experience life and sport in a different country for a year.  The choice to live in New Zealand for a year was ultimately up to Inka, with input from her little brother, who agreed on her chosen destination across the globe. “I was like, ‘wow, New Zealand’,” said Inka, recalling the thought of visiting such a foreign country.

Once here Inka became a team player of local hockey team, Waimai United and noticed that playing hockey in New Zealand is very different than in Germany.  “I played in a really, really, really, really good team and they always had to win everything,” said Inka. “It’s so much more fun here, just to have fun.”  What interests her about hockey is the team playing aspect and success that everyone shares a part of. “You have together this success if you win, or you lose together.”

While staying in New Zealand, Inka tried a handful of different activities such as tennis and athletics. She admits to having a love for sport, though since her time in New Zealand has come to a close, her priorities have changed. “I just want to spend as much time with my friends, so I stopped,” she said.

Besides studying at Nayland College, the 16 year old and her family have travelled around the South island as well as up to the Bay of Plenty. “I did a bungy jump in Queenstown and that was one of my highlights.”

Inka spoke of how the bigger cities in the South Island made her think of her home in Hamburg.  “I missed the big city feeling, so I was really happy that New Zealand has a big city as well, that was cool,” she said.

The move to New Zealand was a challenge for her younger brother, who couldn’t speak any English. Inka admitted that her family spoke German at home because her brother wasn’t fluent. “He enjoys it and it’s probably really exciting speaking another language,” she concluded.

Inka said that her family loves New Zealand and the way that everything is much more relaxed. “In Germany, it’s always stressful. Everyone needs to be on time and everything needs to be planned and everyone is always in a rush,” she said.  Here the attitude is very different.  “Everyone is like, ‘don’t worry about that too much’,” Inka said.

Inka met many new people from all around the globe on her exchange to a country that she hadn’t been before, including the friends she has made at Nayland College.  “I’m pretty sure that I’ll come back even after I’ve finished school, to travel and meet my friends again.”