The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program - a pioneering collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, A&M-Kingsville and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand from July 5th, 2012, through July 22nd, 2012, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand.

Dr. Christine Reiser-Robbins, Anthropology Program, Texas A&M-Kingsville, is directing a Service Learning Project, a special component of the PSP. The PSP will facilitate interaction between middle and high school students from Bishop School District, Texas, and Logan Park High School, Dunedin, Otago, through the application of Internet-enabled technologies.

You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dunedin, finally!

After several unforeseen setbacks, all adventurously resolved, we woke up this morning (July 9th) fully rested and feeling unstoppable. If we could overcome the situations we had previously encountered, there was nothing that could stop us from enjoying what we had all been waiting for: Dunedin! The day started with an insightful economics lecture focusing on New Zealand's relationship and interaction with Asian and European countries. The presentation highlighted the intricacies of how changes in the values of Asian and European (Euro) currencies impacted New Zealand. It was instructive to find out how the consequences of these changes were completely different for a small but advanced economy like New Zealand's than they were for countries like the United States. After the presentation, we ate our first lunch in a traditional dining hall. The hall where we ate was very similar to the dining hall as seen at "Hogwarts" in the Harry Potter movies! There was a dress code too. This was followed by a detailed campus tour. The University of Otago is a beautiful campus; it combines traditional and modern buildings in a lush, rolling setting.   The weather was beautiful and the energy was high. We met  a few students on campus as this was their first day back after the summer vacation.  On this very first day, we sensed New Zealand to be a country that embraces tradition but pursues progress.
-Mark D.

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