Global Prep — 2019
Experience New Zealand’s friendly atmosphere, diverse culture, and stunning scenery on this three week Global Prep adventure. While you and your group explore the indigenous Maori culture and learn about the country’s spectacular wildlife, you’ll get to make an impact by contributing to various conservation projects and helping to protect local endangered species. Plus, since all of The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed on location in New Zealand, you might even spot some famous sites as you wander the magical green landscape!
Your journey will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet with your Group Leader and other students in your program. You’ll travel together to Palmerston North, a major city in the North Island of New Zealand, where you’ll be met at the airport by local AFS Staff or Volunteers. Then you’ll continue on to your dorm at the IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute, a picturesque college focused on International Studies. As you settle into your new home for the next three weeks, take a moment to appreciate the casual Kiwi (a popular nickname for people who live in New Zealand) culture, and notice the Asian and Pacific Island influence on architecture, art, and music.
You and your friends will visit active volunteer project sites and contribute to local conservation efforts. These sites include Cape Sanctuary, a wildlife restoration center in the coastal Hawkes Bay region, and the Wildbase Recovery Center, a wildlife hospital in Palmerston North. During your time in New Zealand, you may also have the chance to explore Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, where you can get up close and personal with endangered species like the kiwi bird and the tuatara, a reptile native to New Zealand.
Soak up New Zealand’s natural beauty while enjoying the convenience of life in Palmerston North. Your home base will be a private dorm on the IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute campus, where you’ll stay with your Group Leader and the other students in your program. The campus is located across the street from a shopping center with some restaurants and cafes. The city of Palmerston North is about two hours by car from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, and you and your group will have the chance to spend a few days in this cultural center.
In your free time, you and your friends will experience the laid-back New Zealand lifestyle first-hand. You’ll also learn about the culture and history of the indigenous Maori people by visiting a marae (a religious and social meeting place) in a local Maori community. There you’ll listen to waiata (songs) and korero (stories) that will help you understand the importance the Maori place on environmental conservation.
When you’re not helping endangered species or discovering the unique local culture, you’ll take a trip to the capital of Wellington for a few days of sight-seeing. There you can take an immersive tour of the Weta Workshop, the design studio responsible for creating spectacular costumes and special effects for major films like The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Thor: Ragnarok.
This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.