New Zealand and the Cook Islands

I went to New Zealand last month to present at an applied linguistics conference, and decided to stay for another two weeks to travel around both the North and South islands and also head up to the Cook Islands. I had a feeling that I was going to love New Zealand, and I was right, of course. These pictures do not do this country justice. It is incredibly beautiful!

Just look at that water. Just look at  how perfect it is!

Just look at that water. Just look at it!

The conference was at Victoria University in Wellington and yes, it rained almost the entire time. However, I suppose that is perfect conference weather… I had been warned about Wellington’s windy wet weather, though it wasn’t quite as cold as I had feared. I had a lost luggage crisis the first day of the conference (and so didn’t attend sessions until the second day) and presented at the end of the third and final day when the sun decided to come out. That was also the day that Michelle arrived to start our annual vacation / holiday.

After our presentations, when the weather was finally nice

After our presentations, when the weather was finally nice

Highlight of a rainy day in Wellington: playing with the language barrel at Te Papa Museum.

Highlight of a rainy day in Wellington: playing with the language barrel at Te Papa Museum.

We took the ferry and train to Christchurch, then another train to the west coast. I highly recommend them, especially since they are such scenic journeys and there is a viewing carriage on each train so it’s much easier to take pictures.

blue

So. Blue.

Such pretty colors

Such pretty colors and contrasts

Then it was rental car time. Driving around the South Island is so much fun! We stopped at Fox Glacier before heading to Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound.

Mount Cook from Lake Matheson

Mount Cook from Lake Matheson

Fox Glacier with itty bitty people walking on it

Fox Glacier with itty bitty people walking on it

Queenstown from above

Queenstown from above

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

We flew up to Auckland from Queenstown on Air New Zealand which of course has a Middle Earth-themed safety video. We did the silent boat tour of the Waitomo Glowworm caves and headed over to Rotorua (it really does smell like rotten eggs!) and Matamata to visit Hobbiton.

Nice fake tree

Nice fake tree

No hobbits to be found

No hobbits to be found

Pretty green hills and lots of sheep

Pretty green hills and lots of sheep

I hadn’t really heard much about the Cook Islands before since the South Pacific tends to get summarized by “Tahiti and Fiji” (neither of which I have been to yet). But since they are in free association with New Zealand, they use the NZ dollar and not having to exchange money makes traveling just a tiny bit easier. Plus, Cook Islands Maori is very similar to the variety of Maori used in New Zealand, so it was a fun and nerdy Polynesian language adventure for me.

Cook Islands Maori

Cook Islands Maori

Muri Lagoon on Rarotonga

Muri Lagoon on Rarotonga, a.k.a. paradise

I’m already planning my next trip to New Zealand. Bay of Islands, Lake Taupo, Abel Tasman National Park and Dunedin are on my list so far! As luck would have it, there is a conference I am planning on attending in Dunedin next year…  See you in 2014, New Zealand!

New Zealand, you are so cool and pretty and perfect. Never change;

New Zealand, you are so cool and pretty and perfect. Never change.

English Teaching Positions in France or DOM-TOMs 2014 (Lecteur/Lectrice d’anglais)

+-*UPDATE: The 2015-2016 job listings are now available. If you would like to teach English at a university in France or the DOM-TOMs for the 2014-2015 school year, job announcements for lecteur/lectrice and maître de langue positions are starting to appear on university websites. Both positions require native or near-native fluency in English but the […]

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Applied Linguistics Conference in New Zealand

+-*I’m off to New Zealand in two weeks to present at the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand / Applied Linguistics Association of Australia conference in Wellington. My presentation is “Formality and Francophonie: Stylistic and geographic variation in university textbooks of French” (Spoiler alert: there isn’t much.) The conference is November 27-29 at Victoria University […]

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English Teaching Assistant in France 2014-2015

+-*If you would like to teach English in the public school system in France as an assistant for the 2014-2015 school year (October 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015), use the links below to find out the specific requirements and application process for your country. In general, you must be a native English speaker, have […]

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Using MOOC Videos and Subtitles to Learn Languages

+-*Although there don’t seem to be any MOOCs on the major provider platforms for learning languages (Update: Finally, they do exist!), Coursera does offer courses in French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, etc. that you can use to help you learn the language. Most, if not all of them, provide subtitles for the videos so you can […]

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European Day of Languages 2013

+-*Just a reminder – the European day of Languages / Journée européenne des langues is tomorrow, September 26! From the official website: Throughout Europe, 800 million Europeans represented in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states are encouraged to learn more languages, at any age, in and out of school. Being convinced that linguistic diversity […]

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The Great Language Game: How many languages can you identify?

+-*Here’s a fun new game to get addicted to: The Great Language Game. Data scientist Lars Yencken has created a neat game where you listen to an audio clip and choose which language it is. All of the clips are from Australia’s SBS (which you should listen to anyway since so many languages are available). […]

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Dutch Heritage in the US: Holland, Michigan

+-*I am currently in the US visiting family and I stopped by Holland, Michigan, since I hadn’t been there in 20 years. It was founded by Dutch settlers in the mid 19th century and a large majority of Dutch Americans still live in Michigan. There is also a city called Zeeland nearby. Holland is often ranked […]

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Trilingual English-Spanish-French Books for Children

+-*I am constantly looking for trilingual (English-Spanish-French) books for my young niece and nephew. So far I have found two series on Amazon.com, Little Pim (which has 4 books of numbers, colors, feelings and animals) and I love to sleep/eat. Do you know of other trilingual books? Trilingual books for children I love to sleep […]

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How Adaptation to Culture Affects Motivation in Language Learning

+-*An article on sociolinguistic competence (Dewaele, 2007) introduced me to research on language learners’ ideological beliefs and conflicts with the target culture that can hinder language acquisition. Dewaele provides two examples from Kinginger (2004) and Kinginger & Farrell’s (2005) research on Americans studying abroad in France which illustrate the importance of intercultural understanding and adaptation to […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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