Otago Polytechnic

A quartet of Otago Polytechnic Sports and Exercise students have recently expanded their horizons courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia programme.

Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Science learners Emily Hodges, Bennett Jones, George Renton and Marcus Panton spent six weeks in Shanghai, China, where they were involved in an American Football physical conditioning project.

Described as a “cross-cultural collaborative sports training programme”, the project builds on previous work by Brendon Timmins, Principal Lecturer, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, Otago Polytechnic, who visited Shanghai Institute of Technology in 2014 and again in 2017.

“It was an honour to work as a strength and conditioning coach with Team Aurora - Shanghai Institute of Technology's American Football team, which is the top Chinese university team in its league and consists solely of players from a nation steeped in tradition and history,” Bennett says.

“Six weeks in a foreign country can be difficult enough at times, let alone living on campus at a solely Mandarin-speaking university and helping educate technical aspects of strength and conditioning. However, with challenge came change and I learned quickly that a smile and positive body language can go a long way.” 

Emily says the language barrier was also an opportunity.

“It tests you as a professional -- especially in a scenario in which you are having to teach and direct. However, this language barrier forced us to think of and use alternative sources of communication, which I think was beneficial for my growth as a professional. 

“I just want to thank Otago Polytechnic, the New Zealand Government and Shanghai Institute of Technology for making this opportunity possible. It was such a great experience.”

George agrees: “I learnt so much about myself. Working with the team and the university staff was awesome.”

The Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia aims to strengthen New Zealand's ability to engage with key Asian trading partners, as well as improve the skills of the workforce.

The PMSA programme is funded by the New Zealand Government and administered by Education New Zealand. The PMSA was first launched five years ago and was extended to Latin America with the launch of the PMSLA in 2016. 

Read more about Otago Polytechnic’s International partnerships

Published on 20 Nov 2018

Orderdate: 20 Nov 2018
Expiry: 31 Jul 2019