It is called STUDY abroad, right?

Caroline Stratton
May 26, 2016

Contrary to what my friends and family from home think, I am enrolled in four classes at UC Canterbury.  I’m writing this blog post because when I was preparing to depart for New Zealand I had no idea how to choose the right classes. Even when first I arrived in Christchurch, the other IES Abroad students and I would discuss what classes we were all going to take and which teachers sounded the best.

No matter what classes you end up enrolling in, school in New Zealand is very different that in the US.  For one, UC Canterbury grades on a B scale.  This means an 80% is an A-.  So basically the entire university uses a 10% curve.  All of the classes I am enrolled in grade based on a paper, a few quizzes, a presentation, and a test or two.  There is never homework, reading quizzes, attendance or participation points.  Yes, this does make getting out of bed in the morning and going to class a little hard, since most teachers post lecture videos and power points online.  Oh, I also didn’t have to buy a single book for any of my classes.  I’m used to spending $300 on books each semester, so this was an added bonus.  

If you are wondering which classes to take, here’s a short description of the ones I took.  Hopefully they either intrigue you, or lead you to pick a different class that is a better fit for you. 

ARTS295: Special Topic…Translation: Internship Class

YES! Take this class! Our program director Eunice recommended this class to our group so I think around 5-6 of us ended up enrolling.  During the first two weeks of school you will meet with the professor and talk about what your career interests, and he will do his best to match you with an organization where you will be an intern for the next semester.  I had an internship with Big Brothers Big Sisters Christchurch (BBBS).  At the end of the semester you will write a reflective essay, a short personal/professional development plan that includes which skills you have acquired through your internship, and give a short presentation to the professor.  There is no class each week because you will need to log around 60 hours with the organization you have been matched with, and this counts as class time.

ENGL213: Children's Classics: Popular Children's Texts and their Representation on Film

I enrolled in this class because it transfers back to the states as child development credit, which is my minor.  If you don’t need it for minor/major credit, I personally wouldn’t recommend it.  In this class we watched/read popular children’s movies and books, and then analyzed each of them in depth.  This semester we looked at “Aladdin,” “Pinocchio,” “Snow White,” “Toy Story,” “Coraline,” and “The Hunger Games.”  I should note, I have never been one to enjoy analyzing text, so some people may really enjoy this class.  I just prefer to enjoy a story and not read too much into the minute details that you probably wouldn’t notice after only one viewing/reading.  The work for this class includes two papers, and an in-class final.

MAOR107: Aotearoa: Introduction to Traditional Maori Society

Around 1/3 of my IES Abroad group enrolled in this class together.  The professor spoke during orientation and we were all intrigued.  If you want to take an easy class on New Zealand history, take this one.  You will learn about traditional Maori mythologies, and get a historical overview of Maori society.  You also must attend tutorial as well as main lecture, and the tutorial professor is hilarious.  Overall this class is entertaining because of the professors, but somehow turned out to be educational as well.  There were definitely a few times lectures became mundane, but I think that is normal for most classes.  For work, you will take quizzes every few weeks on the PowerPoints, take two take home tests, and write one research paper. 

TEPE112: Land Journeys and Ethics…Translation: Camping class

This is another class that has 1/3 of our IES Abroad group enrolled in it, and only 1 New Zealander.  Obviously Americans are more interested in New Zealand’s land than kiwis are (joking).  It would have been nice to meet some more kiwis through this class, but it was nice going camping with a bunch of Americans who generally thought we are highly skilled in the art of tramping.  This class was probably my favorite, because it created the most opportunities to bond with the other students in the class.  You will go on two field trips in this class, both overnight camping trips.  On the first camping trip I didn’t know a single person (the IES Abroad crew got split up), but ended up genuinely getting to know every person in my group.  Since then, we have all met up to grab dinner or hang out together.  I was in Australia when they went on the second field trip (don’t worry I made it up), but it requires groups to use off trail navigation in the dark to locate the campsite.  If you are a skilled backpacker, or if you haven’t done much camping but want to, definitely take this class! You will learn something new either way. 

(^^My TEPE group)

(^^Learning to navigate)

This is the last week of classes since next week is the start of finals.  I’m sure going back to TCU in the fall will be a shock.  The longest day of classes I have here is 2 hours long, while my classes at TCU seem to last all day.  Not to mention professors in the US assign massive amounts of homework.  Thankfully I don’t have to worry about that for another 3 months. 

Until then I’m going to continue enjoying New Zealand’s school system.    

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Caroline Stratton

<p>I&#39;m Caroline, a native to Southern California, and a student at Texas Christian University. &nbsp;I&#39;m studying Social Work and hope to eventually work in the field of child welfare, where I&#39;ll give children who haven&#39;t had the best start to their lives a chance to be successful. &nbsp;I love to play soccer, surf, go on backpacking trips, and eat delicious, healthy food. &nbsp;I&#39;m hoping to meet new people, explore as many places in New Zealand as I can, and gain cultural awareness through my experience abroad. &nbsp;I&#39;m ready for some new adventures and in New Zealand, those aren&#39;t hard to find.</p>

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