In 2013 South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) will offer a six week Study Abroad program in New Zealand instead of the two-week program that took place the end of winter quarter 2012. Professor Patrick Chapman is currently working to set-up internship opportunities for students participating in the 2013 program.
Students can earn two credits for an internship while in New Zealand by volunteering 20 hours per week for five out of the six weeks they are abroad. Students work with businesses in Dunedin, N.Z., and Chapman is in the process of creating internship agreements with a film-producing company called Natural History New Zealand, whose work is seen on the Discovery Channel and a local museum. According to Chapman, those agreements won’t be finalized for another few months.
The majority of the internships will be arranged with SPSCC’s sister school Otago Polytechnic. Due to this sister school relationship, students can earn credits at SPSCC while attending classes in New Zealand.
“The sister college relationships also provide avenues for faculty exchanges and collaborative projects,” said Chapman.
Chapman lived in New Zealand for four and a half years and said he enjoys making these Study Abroad programs possible because of the impact they have on students.
“Given the increasing internationalization of life and business, international experiences such as this program give students a leg-up in the competitive work environment,” said Chapman.
The program requires students to take Topics in Anthropology: New Zealand. This anthropology course is a hybrid course with no required textbook.
According to Chapman, the required anthropology course helps students further understand the history and culture of both the European and Maori New Zealanders. The course material allows students to gain more enriching experiences on field trips and during other activities while in the country, said Chapman.
Students stay with New Zealand residents in their homes and Otago Polytechnic arranges the accommodations.
Melissa Saiz-Matheny, a participant in the winter 2012 New Zealand program, said she particularly enjoyed the home-stay aspect of the trip.
She has fond memories of the time spent with her host family and getting to see New Zealand from their perspective said Saiz-Matheny.
Saiz-Matheny also recommends the New Zealand trip because it allows you to travel to a completely different culture without the hardship of the language barrier. It serves as a good starting trip if you are interested in travel and want to visit other non- English speaking countries, said Saiz-Matheny.
According to Chapman, New Zealand offers something for everyone. New Zealand is very scenic with great landscapes, wildlife, and beaches in addition to having a lot of student nightlife and extreme sports opportunities, said Chapman.
“For those who are adrenaline junkies or outdoor enthusiasts, there is no better place in the world than southern New Zealand,” said Chapman.
Saiz-Matheny said her favorite memory from the trip was visiting a spiritual house and a cemetery for the native Maori people.
Saiz-Matheny admired the attitude of Maori New Zealanders and the way they were very open about sharing their cultural heritage and their history, she said.
The New Zealand program provides a short-term Study Abroad opportunity as opposed to SPSCC’s many quarter-long programs. Chapman planned another short-term Study Abroad trip to Scotland for summer quarter.
Saiz-Matheny traveled to Costa Rica before participating in the New Zealand Study Abroad program and plans to go on the Scotland trip this summer.
“See as much of the world as you can,” said Saiz-Matheny, “It changes you for the better.”