Posted by: kiwitravelandtours | September 29, 2010

Study Abroad in New Zealand

I don’t have to extol the virtues of the Study Abroad experience; travel is a time honoured way to broaden horizons figuratively as well as literally. So it is a marriage made in Heaven, to combine travel with the opportunity to gain course credit and to use another country as a classroom! We’ve taken a number of British and American study abroad groups around New Zealand (plus Australia) over the past few years.  Each group has had a unique experience, as we’ve tailored their itineraries to match their course content.  With my background (of far too many years’ experience!) of secondary, tertiary teaching, tertiary course development and principalship; developing study abroad itineraries using teaching content in combination with our New Zealand and South Pacific local knowledge works beautifully and gives us, personally, an enormous amount of pleasure. This is an article about one of our more recent Study Abroad Groups, studying kinesiology –http://www.lsu.edu/departments/gold/2010/09/abroad.shtml

Another recent College were here with a different agenda.  They attended a literacy conference, followed by a trip around New Zealand and Australia during which they visited various schools and colleges. One of the visits I arranged for them was to Te Puna Kohungahunga, a 80% Maori immersion preschool programme.  We had a wonderful time visiting with the children and teachers, and this is what Chris had to say about it –

“NZ is filled with beautiful scenery that is indescribable and a must see!”-Chris M, Texas, USA

“As a teacher it is exciting to have the opportunity to visit, observe, and provide help at different schools, especially in a different country.  New Zealand is known for their innovative and successful literacy programs, which made me, realize how great it was to participate in my University’s study abroad trip to New Zealand. 

 The first school we observed was Te Puna Kohungahunga.  This school was based on the Maori Language and Culture.  The purpose of this school is to expose students to the Maori life by having students understand and participate in traditional songs and dance, practicing respectful relationships and fostering relationships that allows them to look after one another, stand confidently in a bicultural nation, have pride in who they are, love and feel valued and special, have a sense of belonging, self confidence, and a desire to learn.

 These principles were vividly modeled throughout the day of our observation.  Before entering the school we were greeted with a traditional Maori welcome.  The men of the group led the women into the school because of their traditions.  While we were welcomed I felt as if we were being greeted with love and support. It was neat to see how charismatic the teachers and students were towards their learning. 

 While we observed, the teachers had us participate in many of the Maori traditions.  Everyday the students and teachers meet in the middle to tell each other what mountain they are from, what is the closest body of water, what is the name of their IWI, family name, etc.  It was evident that cultural roots influence their lives.  I believe it is important for everyone to understand and know where their roots came from because this helps develop true identity. This visit made me realize how important it is to live the philosophy within your heart because this will promote a positive learning environment that will help, support, and guide students.”

Pack light -but always pack a willingness to try new things and a JUST DO IT attitude!

Nicola

http://www.kiwitravelandtours.com

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