New Zealand here we come

AB 5

Your chance, to work with the greatest sporting team in the world, the All Blacks.

The opportunity to cross the International Date Line and see the land of the long white cloud known, as New Zealand while also completing a three-credit class doesn’t come around often. Not to mention getting a chance to work with a squad that’s arguably the greatest rugby team on the planet.

This is what Dr. Laura Dobson, LR’s Director of International Education, is planning for May 2020. Dobson is creating a trip targeting exercise science students and in particular student-athletes. The trip would be based at Massey University campus in Palmerston North, which is my native county: New Zealand.

Getting more athletes to study abroad is one of Dobson’s priorities and she hopes this trip will do that.

“We believe we can tackle underrepresentation in study abroad by athletes by designing a program for athletes,” she said.

The trip would have three components. One: lecture-based learning, which will be all done on the campus of Massey University. Two: physical activity, also at the university and three: experiencing the New Zealand culture, which is something that excites Laura Dobson.

“We are going to experience, Maori cultural activities such as a welcome and farewell haka (like what the All Black do before every game), Dobson said. “As well as that, there is going to be a weekend activity in the middle to lower North Island.”

This is also something that really excites Luis Velez. Velez has three roles here at LR and will combine all his roles on the trip. He is an adjunct professor in exercise science while also being a strength and conditioning coach and athletic trainer.

“What is the culture like? What is everyday life like there,” Velez said. How is the university? How are students at the university doing things there on campus?”

These are all things students will get to experience and learn while they are on the trip.

Learning about new cultures is something preached by all international students. “You get to know more about yourself, your culture and the culture you’re visiting, LR student-president and international student who is from Resistencia, Chaco in Argentina Santiago Ambroggio said. “You putting yourself way outside your comfort zone, so you can have new experiences.”

Teaming up with Laura to run the trip is Luis Velez. “Luis will teach the class, which will be Speed and Strength and Conditioning, which will get athletes from a wide variety of sports,” Dobson said. (course code and class name not confirmed. This is just what Laura said to me)

The opportunity to teach and experience a new culture and new part of the world is something that excites Luis Velez who will be combining all three of his roles for the trip. “Any chance to travel abroad that is awesome. Especially for something like this, which is a unique experience, where you will be there for a couple of weeks,” Velez said. “I get to teach over there. I get to be with a group of student-athletes and experience something really unique.”

The trip will involve “ten nights of hostel stay on the campus with single rooms and shared bathrooms,” Dobson said. “Some of their teachers will help with the classes, which includes five hours of Massey University staff time, which could be athletic training time. The students would have access to a gym and be working out on a regular schedule.”

One of the cool parts of the trip is the opportunity for students to potentially meet an All Black. If you don’t know the All Blacks, they are the most successful sporting team in history. The All Blacks as they’re cleverly known as because they play in an all black kit are the national rugby team of New Zealand. Rugby is the national sport of New Zealand. Rugby is a lot like football as our trying to score in the end zone but you can’t pass the ball forward.

“There is going to be two times when they (students) do something with New Zealand Sport,” Dobson said. As it stands in this proposal, it’s two introductory sessions to rugby and cricket. If we had a lot of interest in rugby, we could make it two sessions on rugby for example.”

“On the trip, you will probably get to meet sport related important people,” Ambroggio said. “Even just being around that environment is amazing. If you are an athlete, getting to learn from one of the best sporting team in history would really benefit you.”

Marketing for the trip won’t start for a while as it’s still in the planning phase but be looking out for it.

“We will market this trip over the summer to help people have discussions with coaches and then over the fall and spring.”

This is something that has Dobson super excited. “I would love to use this article as a vehicle to encourage coaches to think about letting this be a gateway for a semester abroad for athletes.”

This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study in a country so far away, learn their customs and traditions, while also completing a three-credit class. For more information and enquires email Laura Dobson. laura.dobson@lr.edu

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