Jason Rudy and Students Travel Abroad to New Zealand

March 13, 2014

Professor Jason Rudy and his students traveled to New Zealand from December 29 to January 13 for the winterterm course, New Zealand: Literature and Culture. 

While some Maryland students stayed in the Northern Hemisphere's ice and snow over winter break, other students ventured abroad with Professor Jason Rudy to experience the Southern Hemisphere's summer in New Zealand and learn about the island's culture and literature. 

The time abroad was divided with a six night stay in the capitol city of Wellington, six nights in Auckland, and three nights in Rotorua. Students studied the literature and history of New Zealand from both the perspective of the native Maori people and the European colonists. Readings included selections by Christina Thompson, Katherine Mansfield, and Charlotte Grimshaw. In addition to looking at New Zealand from a historical lens, students also explored how Maori and European cultures melded to form the contemporary culture of the island. Class time was spent in seminars with local writers and scholars, at museums such as the War Memorial museum in Aukland, and with a visit to a wildlife reserve. A highlight of the trip was visiting the American embassay in Wellington, where the group learned about the relationship between the United States and New Zealand.

Throughout the trip, students kept a blog and reflected on their travels. 

Nikki Schoenbrun wrote, 

"When we got off the plane and met with Jason, he gave us some advice I have been doing my best to take to heart: try to see the differences instead of making easy comparisons. This has been a challenge for me. As we discussed during one of our meetings, the human mind has an innate tendency towards categorizing things. We stereotype and put things into neat little boxes because it lets our minds be lazy. In psychology, there's a term for people who do this: cognitive misers. Our discussion approached the idea that we are all cognitive misers in some way. We talked about generalizing characteristics of the Maori people, an action which is found in many of our readings."

Other entires of the blog can be found here: http://kiwiterps2014.blogspot.co.nz

In the upcoming academic year, Professor Rudy will teach a winterterm course (December 2014 - January 2015) in Australia on "Australian Literature and Culture." 

Sky Tower

 

Wellington waterfront