Students’ Stories

Below are some comments from the four students who participated in the 2014 student exchange:


Kristina Hutley

Doing this exchange has changed my life in many ways. It’s helped me become more self- confident and able to speak to large groups of people a lot easier.  I went on this exchange to see America but I gained much more than just sightseeing the east coast. I got to show off my home country and everything that is beautiful about it.

Going to America has always been a lifelong dream of mine and the welcoming we got at Phoenix airport was heart warming, you get accepted into these families with open arms and you fit right in. When I was in Tempe I went to Disneyland and the Grand Canyon with Tempe Sister Cities. I got to meet so many new people from all around the world and make friendships that will last forever.

It was sad to leave Tempe but I’m sure I’ll be back there in no time to see everyone again.”


Jasmine Rivers

“The Hutt/Tempe sister city exchange was definitely a life changing and memorable experience that has positively affected my family and I in many ways; where we now have a personal understanding and perspective of the lives and culture of people on the other side of the world.

It was great to have hosted the American students here in Lower Hutt as I was excited about showing them around the Hutt - they would always comment on how green and clean everything was (I now understand why!) and because of this I felt incredibly proud to come from such a beautiful place.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Tempe learning about their culture and sight seeing, but the thing I enjoyed most about this exchange was the people I was able to meet and interact with, and the friendships I made with them.

I am very grateful to have been able to experience life in another country and this exchange has opened doors for me for future travels and adventures with friends I have made from all over the world.”


Kate Davy

“The Hutt/Tempe Sister City Exchange was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I could be a part of such an amazing trip!

Nicole, my new sister from Tempe, became a huge part of our family in these 5 weeks and she counted our home as hers!

When I went to Tempe, I was astounded by the scenery. It was amazing and beautiful and everything I had imagined it to be, even the heat wasn’t too much to handle (49 Degrees Celsius)!

One of my favourite events while in Tempe, was a horseback ride in a national park that took us along the side of South mountain with an amazing view of the sunset before a stop at a restaurant for an amazing meal then the ride back to the stables.

All in all, the Hutt/Tempe Sister City Exchange was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything! I am so grateful that I was chosen to represent our amazing city on such a spectacular exchange!”


Patrick Shepherd

“Applying for the Hutt Sister City program was one of the smartest choices I've made. First off I got to travel to the United States while only 17. Before I had even made it to Tempe, Arizona we spent 5 weeks with four intelligent, exuberant and funny Americans and their NZ host families.

Jay, my new brother and I got along great. As a family we showed him much of the Hutt including mountain biking in Wainui, and exploring Somes Island.

Then I was off to the States and I met my host brother’s family - Freda, Tom and Van. All of whom I seriously feel are now my extended family. But for me the best part (excluding Disneyland) was experiencing their way of life and culture and just interacting with all the different people including the host families and other Tempe Sister City Kids from around the world.

It sounds weird but I now have made over 60 life long friends. Some of which I plan to meet up with again while traveling all over the world. 

This is an amazing once in a life time opportunity!”