If you’re looking for a non-traditional study abroad experience in New Zealand, the National Expedition and Internship in Wellington could be a great spot for you. Unlike a traditional USAC study abroad where you live in a single city for a summer, semester, or year-long term, the National Expedition and Internship opportunity in New Zealand is a two-week field study followed by a four-week professional internship.
During this expedition and internship you get to experience New Zealand’s dynamic geography and diverse cultural terrain and discover some of the country’s most popular destinations. You’ll also gain hands-on professional experience while interning in Wellington, a city dubbed the “coolest little capital”, renowned for its arts and culture scene, the natural beauty of the harbor and surrounding mountains, and its status as a hub for creative industries and technology in New Zealand.
This internship is available for students interested in the following three tracks of study:
- Communications & Marketing
- Disaster, Risk & Emergency Management
- Creative Expression & Digital Media
We wanted to know just what this opportunity was like for a student, so we spoke with Lisa Wier, a homeland security major from Eastern Kentucky University, about her experience with the National Expedition and Internship in New Zealand. Here’s what she had to say.
Why did you decide to do this internship vs a more traditional study abroad program?
Internships are vital for my major studies, so I knew I wanted an internship as soon as possible. Traveling to New Zealand is always a plus, too.
What did the internship entail?
I interned at Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and I was tasked to create small mercury spill kits for firefighters. After that, I handled other smaller tasks.
What is your favorite memory from the internship?
I was the only one interning in the National Operations team floor. There were around 25-30 people working on my floor. Every day at 10am and 3pm, the floor gathered for tea time in the floor kitchen. We would drink coffee or tea and play trivia. It was a nice way to bond together as a floor. I enjoyed it the most because it was a nice mental break from work and it gave me a chance to show off my trivia skills.
What is your biggest take away from the internship?
My biggest take away is an international perspective of disaster management. It helps me acknowledge the pros and cons of the American disaster recovery system.
How do you plan on applying what you learned in this internship into your future school/career plans?
Besides as a nice resume builder, I’m using what I’ve learned during my internship to further my career as (hopefully) a fire investigator. There are so many careers to pursue with fire, and I’m grateful my internship has shown me that.
What advice do you have for someone else considering the internship?
The internship placement was random as far as I know. I can only assume they placed me with FENZ because of my fire investigation minor. It’s not difficult to get an internship; it’s a part of the program. I’m not sure if you can request a particular organization, but I know they try to place you where they think you’ll succeed. Always be cautious of cultural differences! I only made the mistake of using the word “kiwi” to refer to the fruit once. I went in with an open mind. I have social anxiety, so I was very nervous going into my internship. With the tea time and the friendliness of my table neighbors, I was able to come out of my comfort shell and succeed.
Go for it! You’ll learn lots and have plenty of fun along the way. 🙂
Anything extra about your time abroad or the internship?
It was a lot of fun and I cannot wait to go back! I also found one of my professor’s (Dr. Gregory Gorbett) books that he wrote in FENZ’s library, and he was super excited to hear about that! Also, FENZ gave me a fire patch which is in a large glass showcase that shows all the stations the students have visited at my school. It’s the only one from New Zealand!