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Kyle in Kiwiland

Kyle in Kiwiland

Although most natural sciences students who study abroad end up doing so over the summer—often through one of the university’s Maymester programs—biochemistry major Kyle Marshall wanted a more immersive experience. He didn’t want to lose a step in his academic progress, however, so he needed to find somewhere that had classes that would meet the requirements of his degree plan.


On the recommendation of an old family friend, he began looking at New Zealand, and found his ideal destination in the capital city of Wellington—at Victoria University. He applied and was accepted to Victoria; made sure, in advance, that three of the classes he’d be taking could transfer back to UT for credit; and then packed up and headed for the land down under (and slightly to the east of) the land down under.


Upon returning to UT, he wrote this report:

I like hiking, and experiencing the natural environment, so I wanted to go somewhere that had a completely different ecosystem. And the setting was just amazing. Wellingston, for instance, is a bit like San Francisco. The city is wrapped around a bay, and the city center is right on the water. Then the hills rise up behind the city center. The university, and the dorm I was in, were just on the edge of the hills, so we were looking down on the water and on the city center. It was beautiful.

I also saw a good chunk of the rest of the country. I got there early, and did a student bus tour before school started. I travelled more during the mid-semester break, and then again after the semester was over. They have such a travelling culture, and the people are so friendly. I would travel around, and would stay, often, at one of the small vineyards which are all over the country.  Or I’d visit kids from the dorm who live in different parts of the country. They and their families would welcome me with such open arms. They were so happy to have guests.

Being there was eye-opening, sometimes, in terms of their views of Americans. Only a couple of my classmates had ever even really interacted with Americans, and they sometimes seemed to think that we’re all what Hollywood shows us to be. When they found out I was from Texas, they'd ask me (mostly jokingly) if I rode to school on a horse. I spent a lot of time correcting people. Then again, sometimes what the movies showed was correct. I got asked once whether, when we go to college parties, we all drink from big red plastic cups, like they do in American Pie. And actually we pretty much do.

I also learned a lot. The biotechnology course I took, in particular, was great. They have a biotechnology degree program there, and the class, which transferred back to UT as an upper-division elective, was the last class that the biotech students would take in their major. It was a series of 15 different lectures, from different people, on different topics related to the subject. Some of the lectures were from professors, some from entrepreneurs, some from doctors. I loved it. You really got a sense of what it what it’s like in the field. They taught you so much in those short periods of time. You learned this huge amount and then you moved on to a totally different topic. And then there was a lab on top of it, where we put into practice some of the things we’d discussed in the lectures.  It was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.

I like their attitude toward education. Over here it often seems so high-strung, so focused on the future. Over there it seemed more about what you’d get out of the class. They always say, “No worries.” After I graduate from UT, I plan to get my PhD in medicinal chemistry, so that I can do drug design, and there’s a good chance I’ll go abroad for the degree.

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Comments 2

 
Guest - Mike Hess on Wednesday, 10 March 2010 09:49

Hi Kyle,

Glad you learned so much and had such a good time (hope I have that in the correct order!).

Hope to see you sometime soon.

Mike

Hi Kyle, Glad you learned so much and had such a good time (hope I have that in the correct order!). Hope to see you sometime soon. Mike
Guest - Ramon Sabataso on Monday, 16 July 2012 08:54

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