Otago Polytechnic

A trio of Otago Polytechnic students are preparing to leave for India, where they will spend the next four weeks teaching children a range of sports-related activities.

Third-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Activity, Health & Wellness) students Darcy Buchanan, Martine Matipo-Kolisko and first-year student Leonie Palmer will initially be accompanied by Kim Park, Senior Lecturer at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health.

The students are among 172 young New Zealanders who have been awarded prestigious Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) as part of the August 2018/19 round.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement in Singapore at the weekend.

The Otago Polytechnic students arrive in Mumbai on 21 November for a month-long experience that includes a work placement at Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, which has a roll of 7000. They will also visit a rural school and have arranged to visit sights of interest such as the Taj Mahal.

“As part of the BAppSci, the students are required to do a large number of work placements in a sport, exercise or health context,” Kim explains.

“Within these placements they get to demonstrate and, hopefully, improve their capabilities such communication, teamwork, leadership, organisation and initiative. All these are transferable skills that employers say they really want in graduates.”

While working in Singhania School, the group will teach primary-aged students fundamental movement skills using a “Games Sense” approach to promote learning.

Game Sense utilizes modified games to teach and then subsequently practise sports-specific skills. The approach differs from physical education classes in India, which are teacher directed and drill based.

The Otago Polytechnic group will be joined by students from Flinders University, Adelaide. 

“We did this in 2017 and it was a great success and worth offering again in 2018,” Kim says.

A first-year student, Leonie is looking forward to what will be her first overseas experience.

“It’s definitely a chance to challenge myself. I hope I can pass on some of my knowledge around athletics to the school pupils.”

Third-year students Darcy and Martine are also relishing the opportunity and regard the India adventure as a chance to teach as well as learn.

“I’m really excited,” Darcy says. “I went to China as part of my studies earlier this year and really enjoyed it. It gave me a taste of a completely different culture.

“There will be challenges, but we’ll give it 100%.”

Martine: “It’s a chance to also teach these kids a bit about where we come from – as well as pass on some skills, obviously.

“I think it’s also important to recognise that we can learn a lot from these kids, too.”

A group of Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Applied Management students also received PMSAs for a one-semester exchange to Ritsumeikan University, Japan, starting in March 2019.

Students will examine the economic development of Japan, contemporary Japanese culture, and Asia-Pacific studies in a multi-disciplinary curriculum that fosters a global perspective.

“We cultivate opportunities for our students overseas to give them insights into other cultures, to experience cultural diversity and develop cultural competence,” says Marc Doesburg, Director Global Engagement, Otago Polytechnic.

“Evidence indicates that students who study abroad have better grades, experience less attrition and graduate at higher rates than students who do not study abroad, and have a competitive edge on the job market.”

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: 28 Feb 2019