Education Students Experience 'Kiwi Culture' in New Zealand

(August 8, 2003)

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Friday, August 8, 2003


Education Students Experience 'Kiwi Culture' in New Zealand

(August 8, 2003)

SALISBURY, MD---Education students at Salisbury University are learning more than how to teach American children. This summer, six students from SU's Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies broadened their horizons, spending five weeks teaching children in New Zealand.


“New Zealand's high literacy rate makes it the ideal location for our students to gain first hand classroom experience with highly successful teaching techniques especially in the areas of reading and language arts,” said Dr. Amy Meekins, internship director for the program.


From May 31-July 4, the SU students observed teachers within New Zealand’s public education system and took on classroom duties that connected them with local grade school students. Five more SU students will work with New Zealand children during the fall 2003 semester.


During their visit to New Zealand, the backdrop for such movies as Lord of the Rings and The Piano, students stay with host families. Mary Laurenzano of Salisbury said this helped her soak up the local atmosphere.


“You get a pretty good look at kiwi culture,” she said.


While students had to get used to a few opposites May, June and July are winter months in New Zealand, and cars stay in the left lane Laurenzano said she had to make few mindset adjustments to become accustomed to New Zealand life.


One of those adjustments came in her expectations of students, who were generally well-behaved and responsible. During morning recess periods at Whenuapia Primary School, near Auckland, as many as 400 young students played together under the supervision of just three adults.


“The kids are given a lot of freedom,” Laurenzano said. “There is a lot of emphasis to teach them responsibility and how to make wise decisions.”


Teachers have a bit more freedom themselves in New Zealand, taking a break for morning tea each day. New Zealanders also tend to emphasize achievement, culminating in a weekly ceremony to congratulate improving students with certificates and awards.


“The experience was pretty awesome overall,” Laurenzano said.

Other students studying abroad in New Zealand for five weeks this summer include Lindsay Madden of Severna Park, MD; Rebecca Johnson of Gaithersburg, MD; Megan Sizemore of Clarksboro, NJ; and Jennifer Staub of Fairplay, MD. Kelly Murphy of Rockville, MD, is serving for 10 weeks in New Zealand this summer.


Students studying abroad in New Zealand this fall include Lauren Briggs of Severna Park, MD; Andrea Woods of Columbia, MD; Leah Cochol of Canandaigua, NY; Anne Curtis of Swedesboro, NJ; and Amber McClees of Oxon Hill, MD. In addition, SU student Hayley Minner of Salisbury is studying education abroad in Ecuador.


For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at


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