Students ready for African assignment

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

A group of 12 Rotorua teaching students and tutors will board a plane headed for Africa.

The group from Rotorua's Te Wananga o Aotearoa campus have been planning the cross-cultural trip for about a year and leave for Botswana today.

The third-year teaching students have based their trip around a school festival being held in the city of Francistown.

They will be holding Maori-themed workshops for children attending the cultural festival.

Wananga student Jeanette Jones said the trip was going to be an eye-opening experience for the Rotorua class, who would get to see and teach in a different culture.

"The school festival we will be attending is all about learning different cultures and it is mainly focused on the arts - so dance, music and that kind of thing," she said.

"[Our tutor] says we will come home with a real appreciation of the New Zealand education system following the trip."

She said, as well as the festival, they hoped to teach in local schools in Botswana.

This is not the first time the tertiary provider has sent a Rotorua teaching group overseas, with a class going to Hawaii several years ago.

The idea of going to Botswana came from tutor Pauline Adams who lived in the country for a short time with her husband Shane Hona.

Mr Hona has already left for Botswana to prepare the way for the Rotorua class.

Another student Kristy Northcroft said the trip would help towards their studies as primary school teachers, with an up-coming research paper based on their experience.

The cost of the trip was $4500 each and the students had spent about a year fundraising.

Ms Northcroft said Botswana had a high rate of HIV sufferers and if possible they would be doing some community work while there.

The group return to New Zealand on June 1.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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