Mount Albert Grammar School is close to the centre of Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, a country of only 4.5 million people which is repeatedly ranked one of the world’s most peaceful countries on the Global Peace Index.
Auckland has been named the third most liveable city in the world on the Mercer Quality of Life Survey four times in the past five years. It has a population of 1.5 million people, a warm, sunny climate and magnificent natural scenery.
Auckland’s population is multi-cultural – it has the biggest concentration of Pacific Island peoples in the world, and also has large Asian, European, British and other immigrant communities. The culture of our New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people is part of the fabric of the city.
Auckland is famous for its two beautiful harbours, many beaches, islands and forests. It also has a vibrant city life, with numerous shopping areas, malls, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and markets.
Helene and Franziska speak in German about why they enjoy attending Mount Albert Grammar School.
Yuki and Taiki from Japan speak in Japanese about why they enjoy attending Mount Albert Grammar School.
Five International students from Thailand talk about what they enjoy at Mount Albert Grammar School.
Five International students from Vietnam talk about what they enjoy at Mount Albert Grammar School.
Gesa – Germany
The year I spent in New Zealand going to Mount Albert Grammar School went by incredibly fast!
After a rather rough start at the school with the church-like assembly and the different subjects, I eventually found good friends and had a lot of fun in my subjects. I especially enjoyed Outdoor Education, in which we went on a kayak trip, a tramp and a rogaine – always in the stunningly beautiful environment of New Zealand.
Between the terms I had the chance to travel around New Zealand and to Fiji on organised student trips, and also with my lovely host family. Paul, Tracy and Hana gave me a warm home for the past year and I was very sad to leave them at the end of it. But with the promise to visit me sometime in the future, saying goodbye was not too hard.
I fell in love with New Zealand and definitely will be returning in the near future, as New Zealand is now my second home.
Note: Gesa was enrolled in Year 12 in Terms 3, 4, 2014 (July to November) and Year 13 in Terms 1, 2, 2015 (February to July).
Javier, Diego, Lais and Alice – South America
When four students from Brazil and Chile were told they had been selected to attend school in New Zealand for six months, each admits that they knew little about our country.
“We knew where it was, and that the All Blacks come from here, but that was about all,” smiles Javier Legaza, who travelled from Chile to join MAGS’ Year 11 classes in February.
Diego Mella, also from Chile, thought it might be cold here, and Brazilian students Lais da Silva and Alice Coelho say they feared it might be too isolated.
Instead, they joined a school much bigger than the ones they attended in their home countries, with a culturally diverse student population, in a city that has bowled them over with its vibrancy and opportunities.
“The experience has been amazing,” says Diego. “We have come from schools of 200 or 400 students, so the size of MAGS was a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s been interesting meeting people from so many different cultures.”
Students and staff at MAGS have been supportive and helped them make the most of the opportunities the school, and Auckland, has to offer.
“We have had to learn how to live without our families or our culture – it has made us grow up, but we have had lots of friends at MAGS to support us,” says Diego.
“There are so many different things to do in this city,” says Javier. “The beaches, shopping, eating places – we are hoping to get out to the islands like Waiheke before we leave.”
The students were selected for their New Zealand experience on academic merit. Lais and Alice were awarded their scholarships by the Government of the Brazilian north-eastern state of Pernambuco; Javier and Diego travelled courtesy of the Chilean Government’s ‘Penguins without Frontiers’ scheme.
The students are heading home in June, and say they will be sorry when their New Zealand experience is over.
“We will recommend to all our friends back home that they apply to come to New Zealand next year, and to ask to come to MAGS!”
The school organises a wide range of activities to help International students get to know each other, celebrate their culture and also make new Kiwi friends and experience the New Zealand lifestyle (see below).
Every year in Term 1 a three-day camp is held for International Students in the beautiful hill country near Auckland. This is a wonderful opportunity for the students to get to know each other, and start to experience the kiwi lifestyle of outdoor adventure.
International Student Camp 2017
International students had the chance to try new challenges at the annual International Camp, held at Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges from 17-19 February.
Forty four students from a variety of nationalities and all year levels attended the camp, where they had the chance to take on a high ropes course at night, a confidence course, a mudslide and the Kiwi tradition of toasting marshmellows over a campfire.
Year 10 girl Nu Thien An Phan from Vietnam said the camp was “amazing.”
“I loved all of it . In my country we don’t get to do outdoor activities like that – my favourite thing was sky swing off the high ropes.”
Zejun Huang from China, also in Year 10, said the campfire night was a new experience and he also enjoyed trying his hand at archery.
“The camp was a good way to make new friends too,” said Zejun.
International Director Ms Jude Lydia said the camp instructors said the group was one of the most active and engaged they had hosted. “Everyone tried everything, and the look of sheer delight on their faces when they achieved a challenge was inspiring,” said Ms Lydia. “It was the first time most of the students had experienced this kind of outdoor activity, and it was a great way for them to build strong friendships that will support them during their time at MAGS.”
This annual event is a highlight of the school calendar, when International students come together to share food from their home countries, and give performances of traditional dance and music.
Food & Culture Evening 2016
An annual highlight on the MAGS’ International student calendar, the 2016 Food & Culture Evening was held in the FW Gamble Hall on Tuesday, 5 July, and was enjoyed by students, homestay families and staff, including Headmaster Mr Patrick Drumm.
Many of MAGS’ 100 International students took part, bringing dishes of their national cuisine for the shared dinner, and performing on stage. Dishes included those from Thailand, Vietnam, China and India. Performances included songs and dances of Fiji, Thailand, Japan, Rwanda, India and China. International Prefect Sky Nguyen led a haka with other boys who board at School House, and the International Choir closed the evening.
International Director Ms Jude Lydia said the evening was a wonderful celebration of Mount Albert Grammar’s International student body, and she thanked the Kiwi Prefects for helping run elements of the evening such as sound and lighting. “It was a great way of bringing together our Kiwi and International students to create a very enjoyable evening.”
International students are encouraged to join one of Mount Albert Grammar’s many sports teams. It’s a great way to make friends and learn more about the culture of New Zealand.
International students who enjoy dance, drama and music are welcome to join their Kiwi friends in their choice of the many groups we offer. They may also take Dance, Drama or Music as an academic subject.
Mount Albert Grammar offers a wide range of club to suit the interests of our students, and International students are welcome to join in. Whether you enjoy Photography, Robotics, or helping our local Environment, there’s a club for you.