Xycacia recently returned from her Gap Year placement in Dunedin. This is what she had to say:
I didn’t really know what to expect when I found out the location of my placement. In fact, I was hoping for a completely different place, especially once I found out that I’d be going alone. Yet being aware of these challenges already, I was open to face them with nothing but an open mind and a strong attitude. Packing my bag was the first challenge. That’s the moment it hits you that you’re about to be separated from a place you’ve known your whole life, filled with friends, family etc. Being surrounded by new people. That was the second challenge. The past three weeks have been nothing but challenges, prepping me for the future and helping me self-improve.
I went from working a register at St Vincent de Paul’s, to participating in a cook-up for Vinnie’s, to helping out at homework club at St Mercy Hospital, to working with a school, to leading a youth group. All of which included social interaction and, being a shy introvert (to say the least!) made it difficult. However, going to Dunedin was without a doubt one of the best things to happen. I learnt that it is okay to trust people. I learnt so much about the history of Dunedin and the Scottish relations and, in a way, I felt my relationship with God became stronger than it ever was. We toured around and got to see some pretty amazing sites, like the Robbie Burns statue (Scottish poet) and seeing the steepest street in the world (Baldwin Street). We went to the peninsula and saw some seals, and we went around Otago University and learnt more about history. Dunedin has shown me parts of myself that sometimes I find hard to face, but the end effect left me with a better and improved self with some pretty great friends too.