Author Archives: Connor Glassett

Family Dinner on the Other Side of the World

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major/Global Studies Minor, Champlain College

Kia ora!

The Champlain College family stretches far and wide. This is especially true here in Auckland. Two members of the Board of Trustees, either past or present, live in New Zealand part time throughout the year with their spouses.

Emily Morrow was a Trustee in the past. Now, she and her husband, Paul, live in Devonport, just across the harbor from Auckland. Both Emily and Paul wanted all of the Champlain Abroad Students to feel at home in Auckland and very graciously invited us over for a family style dinner.

Seth, Kate, Emmalee and I hitched a ride to the Morrow’s with Jessica Tweed. Jess is a current AUT student who will be studying at Champlain in the Fall Semester of 2016. The others caught the 4:30 ferry and were picked up at the dock by Emily. We all gathered in one of the sitting rooms in the Morrow’s quaint bungalow for a before dinner discussion. Emily posed a few questions to us to check in on how we were doing, how we were finding Auckland, and how well we were adjusting to life in New Zealand. We went around the room and shared our experiences, instantly feeling like we were home and talking with our relatives.

Emily and Paul left us to our own devices for a few minutes while they put the finishing touches on the delicious smelling dinner that scented the home, welcoming us from the minute we arrived. Then, it was time to eat. They pulled out all the stops; no small task, considering they were feeding 10 college students who hadn’t eaten much all day in anticipation of a good home-cooked meal. There was roast chicken and gravy, rice, apricot chutney and salad when the service began. Before long there was nothing more than a counter full of dirty dishes. But the meal didn’t stop there.  For dessert, Emily and Paul offered us freshly made quince compote, out of the fruit harvested from a neighbor’s tree, with whipped cream. When I was sure there couldn’t be anymore, Emily brought out two massive bars of Whittaker’s Chocolate to accompany the dessert. Needless to say, they didn’t last long!

After dinner, we reconvened in the same cozy sitting room and talked as we did before, only this time we all had full bellies. We must have chatted for another hour before we realized that we had to leave to catch the 8:15 ferry back to Auckland.

For even the most adventurous of people, traveling halfway across the world and living more or less on your own for five months can be a little intimidating. However, Champlain Study Abroad Students to Auckland can find solace in knowing that they have people here that care about them and are only ever a phone call away.

Thank you for that, Emily and Paul, we all sincerely appreciate it. We can’t wait to meet up in Vermont, in September, for the next ‘family’ dinner.  

APPLY NOW FOR YOUR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH CHAMPLAIN ABROAD!

Champlain Abroad Continue reading

Champlain Abroad goes Tongariro Alpine Crossing

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major/Global Studies Minor, Champlain College

Kia ora!

Champlain Abroad Students in front of the Emerald Pools. L to R: (back) Meghan, Alexa, Connor, Ali,Seth, Kate Kohl (front) Sarah, Emmalee

On the second weekend in April, the whole Champlain Abroad crew went on a road trip.  The journey began at 6pm outside WSA, when we loaded up the massive twelve-person van that we rented.  Seriously, the thing was a small bus. The first leg of the journey was a 5 ½ hour car ride to the south. Kohl volunteered to take the wheel from our starting point in Auckland all the way to our destination in Tongariro. We only stopped once along the way, in Hamilton, to refuel, eat, and pick up groceries for the next day’s meal.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

AUSM lodge and the spaceship we rented for the weekend.

We arrived in Tongariro a little before midnight.  Another perk of attending AUT is that they have a small lodge, big enough for twelve people, in Tongariro. AUSM, the school’s student union, owns the property and rents it out by the weekend to students at little to no cost. Since we filled almost all of the beds, we each paid $15 a night! The lodge was open plan with one huge space for the combined living/dining/kitchen areas, complete with a wood-burning stove. Off of the central space were three bedrooms with varying numbers of bunkbeds in each and an attached bathroom.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

On Saturday, we were all up and out of the lodge in time to catch the 8am shuttle to the Tongariro National Park. The whole purpose of the trip was to attempt the 12 mile long Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”. We arrived onsite at half past eight and immediately took to the trail. The first two miles or so was an easy walk through a relatively flat and barren igneous rock-filled field at the foot of Mt. Tongariro. We paused for a break at the last bathroom station on the up-hill side of the mountain before continuing on our way.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Starting the hike!

Playtime was over. The next four or five miles were intense. The mountain rose into the clouds with no warning and the trail began to zigzag back and forth across the shear, rocky face. At this point, the path was more of a staircase. Each step was probably a good 18 inches high; luckily for me, I was given the gift of ungodly long legs. Safe to say the quads and the hammies got a nice workout. As everyone went at their own pace, we got spread out a few times on the ascent. We all met back up at the leveling off point where the trail diverged and the choice had to be made to continue on the same path or to do the Mt. Ngauruhoe Summit Trail. We all really wanted to do the Mt. Ngauruhoe trail because the mountain was made famous in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as Mt. Doom. However, it was an extra three hour round trip hike and we were on a timetable because the shuttle back home was meant to pick us up at 4:30pm at the end of the trail. Also, our shuttle driver had cautioned us to not attempt the hike if it was cloudy. Apparently, that trail was much more dangerous and much easier to become lost on. By the time we had reached the trailhead it was nothing but clouds in the sky; we had trouble seeing more than 20 feet in front of us. We decided to save that hike for another, better weather day. We turned left at the fork and went on our way.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The stairs leading up to the stairs that lead to…more stairs.

The next leg of the hike was certainly not for people with a fear of heights or those
without a strong, adventurous spirit. The next mile or so was much more steep and there were no stairs. As we walked, the rocks shifted below our feet and sent smaller ones tumbling down the mountainside. The trail now was only a few feet wide and on other side of it, the mountain dropped off rather sharply. At one point, there was a chain bolted into the side of the mountain to hold on to as we climbed. At last, we had made it. We sat beside a boulder, to shield ourselves as best we could from the frigid, dew-heavy air that ripped over the crest of the mountain, and we ate. Continue reading

Waiheke Food and Wine Festival

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major/Global Studies Minor, Champlain College

Kia ora!

April 2nd was a glorious day. It’s easy to wake up and get moving when you have a full day of wine tasting and eating ahead of you. With that being said, I still managed to sleep in. Luckily, the ferry ride that I had pre-booked for the Waiheke Food and Wine Festival was scheduled to leave at 12:30pm.  I meet up with Ali Sousa and Meghan Richards in the WSA lounge and we made our way down to the ferry and later on to the festival together.

Riding on the top of the ferry, we enjoyed the warmth of the sun as we crossed the harbor on the 40 minute ride to Waiheke Island.  When we stepped off the ferry, we walked on to a waiting shuttle and headed towards the Te Motu vineyard where the event was being held.

As we walked through the front gates we flashed our IDs and got our 18+ wristbands. Also included in the price of admission was an engraved wine glass and a voucher for a free wine tasting at one of the vendor booths. My free voucher was for one glass of wine from the Wild on Waiheke booth.

Wine tasting at the Waiheke Food and Wine Festival

Meghan, Ali and I tasting our free glasses of wine!

Prices varied from booth to booth so naturally we wandered around and scouted them all out before getting in line for our firsts tastings.  Tastings ranged from $2-$4 dollars with full glasses going anywhere from $7-$13.  After a couple of tastings each we decided to enjoy the other facet of the festival, the gourmet food.   Continue reading

Interning in New Zealand

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major/Global Studies Minor, Champlain College

Kia ora!

One of the many possibilities available to Champlain Abroad students at AUT is the opportunity for an internship. There are a few ways to go about gaining this valuable international experience. One possible avenue is through the Study Abroad Cooperative Education paper. This is a course that counts for half the credits needed in a semester because it is internship intensive.  Over the semester, you agree to intern for a minimum of 150 hours as well as create an internship portfolio.  Fellow Champlain student Emmalee Osborne and I are enrolled in this paper. Another option would be to do a less intense internship while still taking a full load of classes. Or, as Ali Sousa is doing, you can work out a happy medium, a hybrid of sorts, granted you get Champlain and AUT approval.

Regardless of what you choose, InternEx will set up your internship for you. InternEx is a third party internship fixer working in Canada and New Zealand. AUT works closely with InternEx to help find its international students meaningful internships.

 

Let’s hear a little bit about the types of internships that Champlain students have this semester.

connor glassett id photo

 

Connor Glassett                            

Secondary Education in English Major

Global Studies Minor

 

 

What is your internship?

My internship is at Murrays Bay Intermediate School. Murrays Bay Intermediate School educates children in years 7 and 8, generally between the ages of 11 and 13. Murrays Bay Intermediate is located in an affluent neighborhood; outside of academics the school offers a wide array of opportunities to students including sports, band and orchestra, various clubs, etc.

What types of things are you doing at your placement?

I have been placed in the International House. The International House provides English language support to international students both homestay and permanent residents alike. The majority of the students I work with are in their year 7. The whole of the international students are divided into five groups, which are classified by ability and range from no English skills to at grade level proficiency. I work with the lower three of the five groups. The group with which I do the most teaching is Group Two and they meet every Wednesday and Friday. Outside of the classroom, I am also coaching a year 7 boys basketball team.

Where is your placement and how do you get there?

My placement is in Murrays Bay, on the North Shore. It takes me about an hour by bus to get from my housing to the school. I make the round trip three times a week, Wednesday through Friday.

How does your placement reflect what you have been learning at school? How well does it apply to what you want to do in the future?

This internship is my longest student teaching placement to date. Although I am not an English Language Learner focused teacher, it is offering me heaps of experience. MBIS is also a really interesting place to be because of the level to which technology is integrated into the teaching and learning process. Lastly, teaching at a school in New Zealand allows me to learn how the education system differs from the US. I have no doubt that the things I am observing and learning from teaching my own lessons at MBIS will change my own personal teaching pedagogy.

Would you recommend having an internship in New Zealand to future Champlain Abroad students?

I would absolutely recommend that all study abroad students find internships regardless of the country that they are in. International experience is extremely useful in contributing to your own learning and in return it makes you more marketable to future employers. Not to mention, the best way to get to know a place, a people, and a culture is to be immersed in it. What better a way to do that than to work side by side with the people are from the country you are studying abroad in. Continue reading

International Noho Marae

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

The International Noho Marae paper (course) is one of the most highly sought after classes in the AUT catalogue amongst international students. Over the course of the semester, this paper explores Maori culture and what it means to be Maori in today’s society. The paper is unique in that the majority of the learning about Maori culture is experiential. For one weekend, international students and Maori professors and volunteers come together to learn, hands-on, some aspects of Maori identity. AUT’s International Noho Marae paper along with the weekend experience is the only one of it’s kind in the entirety of New Zealand.  

This semester marked the 30th International Noho Marae, and I was lucky enough to experience it. In total we were 74 students representing 14 different countries. In addition, there was the Maori staff and volunteers with their families, who served as our teachers for the weekend. Also, because this Noho, the 30th of its kind, was such a landmark for the university, alumni were invited to come home, back to Auckland, to assist with this special weekend.    

The weekend began on Friday evening, with a traditional welcoming ceremony called a Powhiri. First, we waited outside the gates of the marae until we were summoned by a challenge made by one of the marae’s warriors. Having accepted the challenge we were allowed entrance to the marae. Next, we were slowly called into the whare, meeting house, by song. The elders, in this case Professor Jason King and Dean of Maori and Indigenous Development, Pare Keiha, welcomed everyone in attendance and asked us all to open our hearts and minds to the weekend’s happenings and teachings in order to enjoy and learn to the maximum extent.  After we were invited to join in the weekend festivities, we moved to the wharekai, eating-house. The meal was a potluck, prepared by the international students, of the traditional or common dishes of each country. Ali Sousa and I made possibly the best spinach artichoke dip known to man; naturally, it was a crowd favorite.  At dinner, we learned the first of many lessons: Don’t stop eating when you’re full, stop eating when you’re tired. Now that is a mantra I can get behind completely.  

Looking down the line as we learned the stick game.

Looking down the line as we learned the stick game.

On Saturday, we reconvened at breakfast. Once again, making sure to pack on the carbs for a long day of experiential learning. Only after we all surpassed the point of over consumption, it was time for tititorea. Tititorea, or the stick game, is a two person game involving four wooden dowels, an extremely catchy Maori tune, heaps of hand-eye coordination and innumerable mulligans. At the start each partner has their own set of wooden dowels. Both partners tap the dowels on the ground twice and then together once before tossing them to their partner one at a time. For example, right hand to right hand exchange followed by a lefthand to left hand exchange. This exchange is where the hand-eye coordination came in as both partners needed to release their dowel at the same time and then catch their partner’s. Once we got that down, and believe me, we all had to work at it a while, we moved on to the chorus and accompanying motions.

Champlain Abroad student Connor Glasset watching others who successfully mastered the handoff.

For the chorus, one partner had to pass both of their sticks together while the other partner passed theirs apart, outside of the partner’s two. In essence one partner was passing theirs in the middle and the other, on the outside.  I think it would be fair to say that we were only semi-successful and that came after a lot of mess-ups, laughter, and observing of others to steal their method. Continue reading

Auckland City Limits music festival

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College Kia ora! The music festival season has officially begun for some of us lucky study abroad students. Kicking off the fifth, and arguably the most enjoyable, season of the year was the Auckland City Limits music festival on March 19th. Lasting only one day, the festival is […]

Continue reading

“Wait, is this a volcano?” Climbing Mount Eden

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

I have been fortunate enough to call three other countries, besides America, my home in my short 21 years of life. In that time I have had the opportunity to travel and explore a baker’s dozen or so more countries. And without fail, I always run into stereotypical American travellers and vacationers. With their socks and sandals combos, fanny packs, NFL jerseys, obnoxious irreverence for everyone else around them and all together ignorance for the history and culture of the places they are visiting, there is nothing more in this world that irks me. However, I must admit with great embarrassment that I happened to be as completely clueless on one such hike up Mt. Eden this week. Although I must assure you, I wasn’t wearing flip-flops and white socks nor do I own any NFL jerseys, but I was completely conscious and respectful of all the other hikers around me. (Sometimes I do wish I had a fanny pack though. Don’t judge me.)

Climbing Mount Eden

Seth Aubin surveilling Auckland from atop the city’s highest point, Mt. Eden.
Captured by Ali Sousa

It was a beautiful, partly cloudy morning when I met up with Seth Aubin and Ali Sousa on the lime green couches in ground floor common room for 9:00am. Advantageously, we decided to make the most of the low 70 degree early morning weather by going for a hike. Allie took the lead leaving WSA, turning onto Symonds Street directing us up the hill toward the Mt. Eden region of Auckland. After about a fifteen-minute walk out of the central business district and through the more residential streets of Mt. Eden, we arrived at the car park at the base of our destination. There, we were directed by a kind Kiwi woman that the walking trail we were in search of was off to our right, up the earthen steps. Thanking her, we departed.

Happy is he who hikes. Captured by Ali Sousa

Happy is he who hikes. Captured by Ali Sousa

Now, there are two ways to summit Mt. Eden: along the paved path that was once intended, but no longer used for cars, or by way of the dirt path through the bush. Being adventurers, we naturally chose the latter. The first leg of the trail was the longest and moderately steep. We walked under trees and around bushes; all the while the cicadas hummed, providing us with a natural soundtrack for our journey. At one point, one fell from its perch on an overhead branch, landing on my shoulder. Luckily, Ali quite literally had my back and quickly brushed it away. We came out from under the trees as the path opened onto a clearing and leveling off point on the hill. We stayed for a few moments, let our heartbeats return to normal, and snapped a few photos. Continue reading

Sea swimming, Skylines, and Sunburn

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

A seagull profits from low tide, searching for lunch. Captured by Ali Sousa

A seagull profits from low tide, searching for lunch.
Captured by Ali Sousa

Kia ora!

For our first full weekend together in Auckland, the Champlain Abroad students banded together to pass the day bronzing on the beach. We started out early, catching the 10:30 ferry at the harbor at the bottom of Queen Street, direction Devonport.

After the short 12 minute long ferry ride across the harbor we arrived at the Devonport dock. We meandered along the coast for two kilometers before reaching our sandy destination. In almost perfect unison we kicked off our flip-flops and unfolded our towels. Unfortunately, for the sake of swimming, when we arrived it was low tide. The 70 degree water was only ankle deep allowing us to wander out into the sea a good quarter mile before the waves began to break, wetting us above the waist. We floated, splashed and considered ourselves lucky to be enjoying the summer sun and warm water while our friends back in Burlington were most likely in class wrapped up in multiple layers. As we made our way back to shore we couldn’t help but kick up dozens of sand dollars-both living and dead. Over the next few hours we were in and out of the salty water, spread out soaking up the sun, scouring the shore for sea glass, and fantasizing about owning the cookie cutter bungalows behind us. Continue reading

Settling-in to the Wellesley Student Apartments

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

Finally! After 22 hours of travel, 8 time zones, 2 flights and one bus ride, I arrived at my accommodation in New Zealand. Located on 8 Mount Street in the Central Business District of Auckland are the Wellesley Student Apartments. The massive fourteen-story building is going to be ‘home’ for me and some 500 other AUT students for the next semester. WSA has an interesting cast of characters–international exchange students, native Kiwis, and hoards of first years–guaranteeing that this semester will truly be a unique experience.

AUT building

WSA as seen from the courtyard.

The apartments at WSA are suite-style, much like those of Champlain’s Spinner Place. There are five individual bedrooms, one common living room, one common kitchen, and two shared bathrooms per apartment. I share my apartment with two Kiwis and my fellow Champlainer, Kohl Davis (we still have one vacancy). The bedrooms are fairly well sized, on average slightly bigger than those of Spinner Place, and come equipped with a long-twin sized bed, a desk, a cork board, a shelving unit for storage, and an armoire. Every room also comes with one complete set of dinnerware (one bowl, dinner plate, dessert plate, glass, coffee mug and silverware). In addition, the kitchen was stocked with pots and pans and the extra cooking utensils required to prepare pretty much any student made meal.

Typical bedroom setup, minus the ukulele-playing AUT student. (From: https://www.aut.ac.nz)

Typical bedroom setup, minus the ukulele-playing AUT student.
(From: https://www.aut.ac.nz)

When I arrived, I was a little bummed out that I had forgotten to pack a set of sheets and a towel. I could just hear my mom, “I told you to pack those,” as I tore apart my suitcase in order to enter my clothes in the armoire. Luckily, my Kiwi roommates came to the rescue and told me about a couple of options I had to resolve my linen dilemma. Option one, I could buy a set from the front desk for $120NZD, which he assured me was a rip-off. Option two, I could wander down Auckland’s main drag, Queen Street, and pop into the student’s retail wonderland, The Warehouse, and buy a much more reasonably priced set of linens. Taking his advice, I chose the latter.

Continue reading