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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Logan Park Voices

Awkward, then Easy!

The Skype conversations with the middle and high school students in Bishop were, I believe, enjoyable for all. It was a fantastic way of giving students from both sides of the equator insights into the views and beliefs held by people in contrasting societies.

Once the initial "awkwardness" of meeting people for the first time had passed, the conversation began to flow much more easily, and I think we all gained a lot from the informative cocktail of casual banter and sociopolitical discussion that ensued.

This was a very interesting and enlightening experience for all of us, and I wish you the best of luck in setting up future correspondence between the two schools. I was very pleased to meet you all, and I hope you enjoyed your stay here in Kiwiland.

--Micaiah D
 Student, Logan Park High School, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Texas Stereotypes: Gone!

Learning about the cultural and social differences between New Zealand and Texas was interesting. Being from Washington DC originally, it was also interesting to see the differences even between two different parts of the United States. I felt that the exchange helped dispel stereotypes the New Zealand students had about Texans.
Exchanges would have been more educational if we had discussed deeper issues such as globalization. Political discussion in general would have made the discussion more interesting, as political opinion can vary from country to country.
This could have allowed the students in both countries to be exposed to other opinions.
--Gareth M
Student, Logan Park High School, Dunedin, New Zealand

Good Exchanges & Bad Microphone

I really enjoyed interacting with the students from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Bishop and Kingsville High Schools, Texas. I was surprised by how intrigued they were with New Zealand and pleased with the genuine effort they are making to understand our small but beautiful nation. I’m not sure about the others who attended the interchange but I’m much more interested in Texas than I was before. Intercultural experiences like these are important and I hope that the communication continues after I leave Logan Park High. If it does continue my one suggestion would to be to invest in a better microphone.

-- Jack V
Student, Logan Park High School, Dunedin, New Zealand

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