There and back again: Study abroad programs expand to New Zealand

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Communication studies and journalism students can now study in New Zealand.
Graphic by Christian Sanchez

For the first time ever, Azusa Pacific is introducing a summer study abroad option for communication studies and journalism students in New Zealand through a partnership with Christian nonprofit HCJB Global.

From May 16 to June 6, students will explore Auckland, among other destinations, through the partnership with HCJB’s Wandering Sheep Productions.

Students will be able to learn about different modes of communication, whether it be television, radio or another form.

“[We are] an evangelistic outreach of HCJB Global NZ that seeks to engage our generation through entertaining and thought provoking content,” Wandering Sheep Productions states in its mission statement.

This organization holds an emphasis on using the gospel to create “interactive and relationship based tools” and to grow in committed followers of Christ.

“I feel really excited that we found an organization to partner with who shares the same values [as APU],” Program Director Wendi Dykes said. “Students [will] see where having a Christian worldview coupled with excellence in academics can take them.”

The program will include two weeks of intensive classes in Azusa before traveling to New Zealand. There are three options of classes that students can choose from: Organizational Communication, Public Relations and/or Media Law and Ethics.

Students can take up to six units for $328 per unit. Each class fulfills upper-division elective requirements for journalism and communication studies majors.

“I think it’s fantastic that they finally have a program where journalism majors can go study abroad and not be behind on their units,” sophomore journalism major Sydney Potter said. “This is really something that caters to a lot of us.”

Professors Ryan Hartwig, Wendi Dykes and Brooke Van Dam will accompany students to New Zealand to teach the courses and guide the students through the program.

“What draws me [to the program] is knowing that some of the faculty that are going to be on the trip are professors that I’ve already had, so I’m going to get to learn more from them outside of the usual class setting,” Potter said. “It’s really the best of both worlds with great faculty in such an amazing place.”

Students can apply through the Center of Global Learning and Engagement office until Nov. 1. The application requires essay responses and reference forms, and at some point, a $300 deposit fee. Students will be notified of their acceptance before the end of the fall term; however, only 12 students can go on the trip.

“We’re looking for [students] who really want to grow, not only personally, but professionally,” Dykes said. “We want the highest caliber of student to go to a program like this.”

In addition to the professional insight gained through this program, students are given the opportunity to learn New Zealand’s Kiwi culture.

Christian families in New Zealand have partnered with HCJB Global to provide home stays during the students’ time down under.

“The neat opportunity with this is that students will really get to be immersed in the Kiwi culture,” Dykes said. “The student will actually be able to live in a Kiwi home and see what it’s like to live in that environment. That’s a really neat component to the program.”

Students will have the opportunity to earn 30 Ministry and Service (MAS) credits by working with and helping the organization.

Because the program is so new, the main concern lies in figuring out travel logistics. However, both faculty and students are positive about this new opportunity.

“With any new program, there’s always growing pains,” Dykes said. “I know that the Lord is in this program, and he has orchestrated the right people and the right connections.”

The total cost of the trip is $4,150, which includes airplane tickets, other transportation, housing, two meals per day and miscellaneous excursions around the country.

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