Collin Fack

The trip to New Zealand for the 2011 Global Citizenship Week was more than memorable. Along with all of the memories made during the trip, learning experiences were also a major part of the trip. I learned a lot about the Maori culture and their way of life. We were able to witness the culture first hand one of the nights we stayed at a Marai. Not only did we experience the interactions between the Maori people such as the way they welcome others into their Marai, we also got to experience a traditional meal. This traditional meal is called a Hangi and it was delicious! The necessary process required to cook the meat and vegetables was very interesting and something I had never witnessed before.

I have always been an adventurous type of person, but this trip has taught me to respect nature even more than I once did. All of the activities we were able to participate in outdoors made me realize just how much fun nature can provide for people. These activities included white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and much more. Not once did I have a dull moment in the outdoors of New Zealand. The nature was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me as it offered quality time with friends and lots of fun.

One of the most proud moments of this trip was an experience I had when I was white water rafting. We entered one of the most intense rapids sideways instead of with the nose of the boat facing down. Immediately we discovered that we were stuck in the whirlpool of the waterfall and could not get out. Shortly after one of the six members of the boats fell out and not long after the second member fell out. The entire raft was panicking, but then the unthinkable happened. Our guide fell out of the raft as well. In the end it was only three of us, including me. One of the last three members had lost his paddle in the process so only my friend and I were able to get us out of the whirlpool. Finally, after several hard attempts of paddling out of the whirlpool we were successful. It was such a relief and a very proud moment for my friend and myself.

This experience did not turn out to be what I was expecting. Every part of the trip turned out to be much better than I could have ever imagined. The New Zealand 2011 Global Citizenship Week trip was an experience I will never forget. I would like to thank everyone who took the plan to make the trip such a great success and I would also like to thank everyone on the trip I got to share my memories with. I look forward to going back to New Zealand as soon as I can.

Since our trip was more about exploring not only New Zealand itself but also exploring our own strengths and boundaries, I think something that I was the most proud of was the fact that even though I was quite terrible, I sucked it up and had a good time on the mountain biking part of the trip.  Even though I kept falling down and embarrassing myself I decided right there that I was going to be determined to have a good time no matter how many times I ended up face first in the bushes.  We also got an idea about all the native creatures of New Zealand.  While we visited the nature preserve it really struck me how much we take all these creatures in the world for granted.  Now I’m not a huge environmentalist and I don’t give people dirty looks when they don’t recycle but at the same time I do have a new appreciation of how important a strong eco system is. Look at how much trouble the people of New Zealand go through every day with their barricaded section of the mountain.  They have patrols and systems to alert them immediately if something malfunctions.  All this effort because they care about that land.  I didn’t fully understand the reason why it was so immensely important to them until after we left the reserve.  That land and all the creatures in it, as important as they are to the structure of the ecosystem, mean so much more to the people because those birds and plants and animals represent New Zealand’s history.  Not only are they protecting their ecosystem, they are protecting their heritage and that to me is amazing. I think I really got a perspective of other cultures while in New Zealand this GCW.  We got to visit the Maori people and be inducted into an actual tribe.  No matter how much they tried to prepare us, nothing prepared me for the goose bumps I got when we were being sung to at the beginning of the ceremony.  It was incredible. The language is so beautiful and even though I had no idea what was being said, there was something truly comforting about the way she sang. It made it so the language barrier was irrelevant.  In that moment, when she was welcoming us into their home, we all were together.  I think that is something that most people go an entire lifetime without experiencing which is really sad to me. That is why I am so grateful to have the opportunities that I do such as experiencing these unique cultures.  Where I used to live, our opinion of “different cultures” was visiting our relatives up north and putting up with their northern accents.  Moving to Bangkok has really opened my eyes to what most people miss out on and that is the chance to see wonderful places and meet wonderful people and I honestly think that is what our cultural trips are all about.

The New Zealand Global Citizenship Week was quite an educational experience. I learned much about myself and the world through the engagement of physical and cultural activities. Among the activities, the visit to the Maungataotari Ecological Island Trust’s ecological island and Maori tribe has provoked most thought in me.
The Maungataotari Ecological Island Trust’s project involves the isolation of the Maungataotari Island using a predator proof fence that totals in perimeter 47 kilometers and encloses 3400 hectares of land. The situation the Trust strives to change is rooted in the artificial introduction of new species of organism (e.g. rats and weasels) to New Zealand. These new animals threaten some native organisms such as the Kiwi birds, which are considered to be a significant element of the country’s culture and identity. In order to eliminate the threat, the Trust has erected a fence that prevents predators from entering the enclosure. Now, it is attempting to remove forever, introduced mammalian species by means of poison for instance.
What struck me the most was not the vast investment in the project, nor was it the ambition of the vision; it was the lack of hesitance in eradicating lives in the thousands, even millions for what the Trust claim to be a noble cause. Many animal rights advocacy organizations exist in the world. They protest the torture of pets in household, they object the poor living conditions of mass produced life stocks; but by the limited extent of my knowledge, they don’t protect the rights of the pests, if it is even considered to be existent. Maybe it is the labeling of the organisms as pests; perhaps it is people’s lack of fondness of the little creatures’ appearance, humans don’t consider the rights of the undesired life forms. On the other hand, animals that satisfy our aesthetic views or other wants and needs such as the pandas, which are considered to be cute, received completely different treatments. A huge amount of money and other resources are spent on the human nurtured pandas, which intervenes with the law of survival for the fittest. I am aware of the fact that some animals, including the pandas are finding it hard to survive in the world because of human activities and intervention, which may suggest that we are responsible for taking care of the victims. But is it not ironic that we are trying to help by furthering the intervention? This is also the case with the Trust. It is humans who interfered by introduced the new species to New Zealand for selfish reasons such as the want for fur. Now, dissatisfied with the situation, humans are once again interfering by eradicating the very species we have introduced. And who pays the price for our regrets? The species we have introduced. As a result, the newly established ecosystem (after the introduction of new species) is once again disturbed. Maybe it is not wrong to have human intervention in nature. In China, we have a saying: what exists has a reason and is natural. Human intervention is also a part of nature itself. My visit to the preservation has reinforced my understanding of the subjective and relativistic nature of ethics, which is a posteriori.
Another highlight was the visit to a Maori tribe. I was expecting something like a tribe one would see in movies, with houses made of clay and grass and sculptures of monsters. But what I saw did not meet my expectation. I saw a very modern community with Fords parked in front of the gate and tribesmen in brand name clothing such a Nike. Although I learned about globalization, modernization and assimilation in the class room, experiencing it first handedly has really deepened my understanding of the social phenomenon.

Going to New Zealand has pretty much always been on my to-do list. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel with friends to a place I almost certainly would never again get a chance to visit. It was a well worth journey into a culture so fascinating and different from everything I ever knew, not to mention the fact it was a chance to meet so many amazing people like our guides, Jordy and Nick.

Since I had never been to New Zealand before GCW I really didn’t know what to expect from the trip. I was also a bit scared since I was one of the three underclassmen in what everyone considered to be senior trip. Except of these two minor worries I was really looking forward to having a really great trip.

Because our trip didn’t focus on just one type of activity, the learning done over the course of the trip was very diverse and interesting. I personally learned a lot about New Zealand’s culture, especially about the Maori people. Learning about the Maori culture was very interesting for me since I had to read a book about them in eighth grade. This meant that some of the things our guides where talking about for example not having a written language and the traditional tattoos where not completely new idea to me. One thing I learned about the first Maori people to arrive in New Zealand was there unbelievable combat skills, their ruthlessness, their wish for some competition, and their genius creation of trench warfare. These were some of the areas of combat the Maori were just better than everyone else in. I learned that the Maori warriors were in fact so good at what they did that for every one Maori warrior the English needed four soldiers; but that’s not everything, the Maori people destroyed the English so badly that at some point they got bored so they decided to help the English by building a road for them through the forest so they could bring their large weapons with them to battle and give the Maories a fare fight.

Aside from learning about the Maori culture, the group participated in a number of activities such as: Seeing dolphins, kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, luging, and walking in mount Maungatautari. The one activity I am most proud of is our two day sea kayaking trip in which we kayaked approximately 20 kilometers overall. My favorite activity in the trip was white water rafting. I think it is my favorite activity because I got to work with a team of guys that I respected to go down the river safely without any accidents but a lot of fun. It was also my favorite activity because I had the perfect mix of intense activity and time to rest in the really nice and cold water. Summarizing this amazing trip to New Zealand in one word is quite easy, Kauanuanu! Which is the Maori word for amazing. Thank you everyone for the great memories and the seriously awesome trip.

Itay

I originally wanted to travel to New Zealand with my friends last year but unfortunately I did not get to but my friends did. When they had gotten back they told me that it was a great trip and that if I got the chance next year I should go. When I learned that New Zealand would still be available I was extremely excited and hopeful that this year I would be able to go. When I learned that I would be able to go I could not wait for it to be February. In the month leading up to the trip I tried not to think much about it because I did not want to raise my expectations so I would be disappointed when the reality was not what I had expected.

I feel that I challenged my self on this trip with most of the outdoor activities. I really enjoyed kayaking because it is something I have done I the past but each place is different because the water flow is different and the people I have paddled with are different but it is always enjoyable. I also really enjoyed the rafting even though it was something that I have done before because like the kayaking no river in the world is the same and the people I was with were also different. I was nervous about some of the activities like the mountain biking since most of the previous times I had mountain biked I ended up getting in an accident but I managed to finish the day with no more than a few minor scratches. I really enjoyed the walking on the mountain that was being restored and admiring the hard work that the volunteers there had put in, when I was first told what they where trying to achieve my first thought was that is was impossible but I soon realized that their determination and hard work had eventually played of in helping to restore the wild life on the mountain to its natural state.

I enjoyed every part of the trip for the most part, there were times when I did not get along with some of the other people on the trip but I made sure that it did not ruin the experience of being in another country and learning about other cultures. Another challenge was that I did not really hang out with any of the people who where on the trip, this forced me to get to know other people better.

Tevin Baechtold
GCW: New Zealand
Mr. Augustine/ Mrs. Bates

GCW Reflection: New Zealand

Throughout my trip to New Zealand, I gained a greater appreciation for the outdoor world. Before GCW, the most outdoor activities that I would partake in were the after school sports that I would join, and the occasional rugby games with some of my friends. However in NZ, everyday was full of activities that you would always think about doing, but never could quite find the time to put the effort into. Throughout all of the activities that we did I am most proud of the rafting. While we were rafting the boat got stuck in a rip tide, and started to tip. While the majority of the people in the boat fell out, a few others and I managed to stay in and paddle out of the possible catastrophe. It was an event that I will never forget, and it was great fun. While taking part in these activities, I tended to find my self forgetting what I had done earlier in the day, and that’s what really surprised me. We would wake up early and do at least 3 activities that required your full attention, so at the end of the day when I looked back to figure out what part I liked the most, I often felt like I was thinking about 2 days worth of activities, instead of just one. One of my favorite days in NZ, was the day that we did the mountain biking? I don’t mountain bike often, but after that day I feel like it would be something that I could get used to doing a lot. It was a very enjoyable day, full of adrenaline, risk, and a lot of exercise. I feel that this trip has changed how I view the outdoors. Before, I never really gave any thought as to what else there is you can do with the outdoors besides the things that you can do in the city, and around Bangkok. But now I feel as though my eyes have been opened, and I hope to be able to continue on with the activities we took part in while in NZ. This trip was well worth the money, everything thing we did was fun, even the nature walk that we did on the “Mountain suspended in mist”. The guides were awesome, and they never were a bother to have around, which made it nice when I was talking to them about how they came to work for Multi Day Adventures. Overall I loved NZ and everything it had to give me, I really appreciate the patience Mr. Augustine and Mrs. Bates had for all the students, and I thank them. New Zealand was definitely a trip I will never forget.

Austin Crowder
GCW: New Zealand
MR. Augustine/ Mrs. Bates

GCW Reflection: New Zealand

During my Trip to New Zealand, I part took in many activities that really amused me and made my week really fun. During GCW I learned a great deal about the outdoors, and the many activates that you can do opposed to just sitting inside and doing the regular thing everyday. Everyday, we would wake up and do around 3-4 activities, all that which you had to be ready to go straight off the bat. The activities included rafting, rugby, mountain biking, swimming, luging, and so many more. The activity that I enjoyed the most would have to be rafting. Rafting was my favorite because I was in my boat with some of my closest friends, and all we did was laugh and mess around. Despite the near death experience with Taylor and I, rafting had to be the most fun, and adrenaline pumping part of the trip. I feel as though over the course of the trip I changed as a person. I feel like I matured as a teenager, and learned a lot abut dealing with people while living with them. Since we had to live in such close quarters to each other, I quickly had to adapt to the personalities of some of the other people. It was a difficult thing to do seeing as some of the people had very obnoxious and loud personalities. The most challenging part of the trip would’ve had to been kayaking to that beach ALL the way across the sea. It was probably a 45 min to one hour kayak trip that was nothing but grueling and unsatisfying. However, it was a good experience and I think that, the beach that we went to was well worth the paddling. My proudest moment on this trip would be the amount of help that everyone gave each other. There was never a time where someone was doing something on their own, everyone was helping someone at every time of the day, and there was barley any complaining. New Zealand was definitely the right choice for my senior GCW, I’m very happy I went on it cause it brought me closer to the people that I care about, and the people that I didn’t really know. I really appreciate all of the things Mr. Augustine, and Mrs. Bates did for us, their patience was unbelievable. I’m happy that we had the guides that we had, there would’ve been no other people I’d rater have to lead that trip. New Zealand was a life changing trip for me, and I know that I will never forget it.

On February 6, my peers and I ventured off to Auckland, New Zealand. Upon our arrival we knew that this trip would be a trip filled with many activities. This experience has been unforgettable and im glad to do this trip the friends I love. Not only was this a trip filled with outdoor activities but it was also a cultural experience. GCW New Zealand is one trip that i will remember for the rest of my life, and it is something that I will cherish forever.

Something that I love about this trip is that even though it was filled with constant outdoor activities but we took a break to learn about the New Zealand culture, from spending a night with a Maori tribe to learning about the New Zealand wildlife preservation. Staying a night in a Maori tribe was something very spectacular as we were given the privilege to stay in a Marae and experience their tradition Huanggee. The outdoor activities pushed me to the limit and I learned alot about myself and my capabilities.

Learning about the wildlife preservation changed me, as I was more aware of this global issue not only within New Zealand (but all over the world). Taking a nature walk through a fenced off rainforest educated me about the serious conditions and the potential danger of the Kiwi Birds and other animals. I grew as a person as now that I am aware of the danger, I will potentially do what I can for this cause.

Something that I am most proud of is river rafting on the grade 3/4 rapids. As it was my first time, it was also one of the best experiences in my life. Not only that, it was exhilarating but it was alot of fun. Something else that i was proud of was mountain biking, as we first underestimated the trails, but in the end, it was tiring challenging but really fun.

I really didn’t expect GCW New Zealand to be this much fun or tiring. Everyday we would wake up to do an activity and after lunch we would always have something else planned. The constant feeling of tiredness was all worth it. The most challenging part of this course was kyaying as it was my first time, we kyaked for at least 20km even though it was extremely tiring, the beautiful scenery was there to make up for it.

This trip was AMAZING and it is something I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who was on the trip as well as our amazing guides.

Vibhu Harnvarakiat

Before I decided to go on this trip, I expected that it would be similar to the family trip two years ago where we spent our time exploring the South island: nature more nature, then sheep and cows, hours on the road, then more sheep and cows. But then I think to myself that ISB would never organize a trip like that, plus I’ve had great feedback from my peers who went on the trip before. My family definitely didn’t want to return to New Zealand again anytime soon, but I really wanted to experience the North island myself, so I chose to go on this once in a lifetime adventure. I didn’t expect the North island to be so…different, in a good way of course. There’s just so much more to do and see up here, yet the nature and traditional culture remains pristine and unique.

New Zealand is not a densely populated country and its population is a very green crowd, therefore the country is in a very healthy shaped as compared to heavily industrialized countries. The air there is so clean and the greenery so refreshing to the eye and the people are just so friendly! Along the way of enjoying all this, I’ve also learned some useful facts and figures that I can use as a case study for my IB HL Geography class. On one of the tour days we visited Mount Maungatautari Conservation Park where native bird and plant species have successfully been restored to their initial condition before mankind and pests/predators dominated the land.  This 3400 hectares project within 47kms of predator proof fence required a lot of volunteer work, determination, capitol, and the locals and the government working together. This project has taken about 10 years to become this successful; all is perfect except for the persisting abundance of mice in the area, but the staff is already working on it. This shows that the community very understands of the importance to conserve their natural heritage, and that restoration projects such as this one can be done on a global scale if we global citizens really put our minds to it. The Earth would be a healthier place with more resources to support us in the long run if we know how to manage and conserve what we have well.

I also learned a lot when we got to meet and stay with a native Maori tribe at their Marae. I love meeting new people, and I certainly loved the Maoris. They were very welcoming, treating us like a member of their clan, and their children who came to play with us were ADORABLE. They shared their traditional games with us, taught us some of their language and stories. I got so attached to a couple of the girls that it really pained me to say goodbye to them since I realized that we might never meet again. One of them told me that I was the bestest big sister and best friend that she ever had. She might have forgotten me by now but I sure won’t forget that carefree smile of hers.

I hope that my reflection gives you another perspective of the trip, because what you read on the itinerary is just only the skeleton of it. Our guides said that we get out of the trip what we put in it, and I can’t find a way to prove them wrong about that. We didn’t only have a fun trip full of adventurous activities like white water rafting, luging, mountain biking, or kayaking (etc.), but we also had a deeply educational time there as well. As a high-school senior nearing the end of this chapter of her life, I took this time to extend my personal comfort zone, to reflect on myself and my surroundings, to gain new understanding, and think about how this experience can help me grow into a better future.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our awesome Kiwi guides (Nick and Jordie), and our cool chaperones (Mr. Augustine and Ms. Bates) for making our GCW trip one of the most memorable and fun-packed! :)

Through the months leading up to our trip to New Zealand for Global Citizenship Week I set my expectations quite high, and fortunately those expectations for fulfilled. Throughout the week (which flew by fast, but felt longer than a week) I learned about the country, the nature, and the culture of the natives and people as a whole. I did not expect New Zealand to be as cultured as it was, and I do not mean that in a bad way at all, it was just very surprising and refreshing to witness the beautiful culture of the Maori people. New Zealand has to be the most peaceful country I have ever been to. It is quiet, green, inviting and completely gorgeous.
I think my main growth as a person through this trip would be my courage. I’ve never been very athletic, nor have I enjoyed getting dirty…and mountain biking, kayaking and going without a shower for nearly three days was never something I thought I had the strength to do. But I did it, and I’m so happy that going on this trip taught me to face my fears and doubts and push through because that is the only way to experience the greatest things in the world.
During the week my proudest moment had to have been on the last day of the trip. It wasn’t a moment, but a reflection on the entire week. I’m so proud of myself and my friends with everything we accomplished throughout the week. Mountain biking, kayaking, luging, seeing dolphins and jumping from the top of the boat, rafting, being welcomed into the Moari tribe,  seeing endangered birds in their own habitat. Everyday was a new and wonderful experience to be forever cherished in our memories.
One of the most memorable and educational parts of the trip was when we went to the Maungatautari ecological island. We watched an informational video about the 47 kilometer pest-proof fence that had been built around the mountain to keep animals that disrupt the habitat away from the endangered species. This experience opened my eyes to New Zealand and the people there. I couldn’t believe how many volunteers and workers joined together to protect the homelands. It really shows how much the country means to the habitants and I am proud to say I have visited a country like this.
Overall, the trip to New Zealand was fulfilling in many ways. I didn’t expect to enjoy roughing it up so much, and I found it phenomenal that day I learned something new about the culture and the country itself. I am still stunned that New Zealand is a country with new harmful creatures and I think this makes the country all the more beautiful. To put it simply, this was one of the most amazing trips I have ever been on and I’m not sure that I will ever return to New Zealand..but I will definitely cherish my memories there and do whatever I can to visit the incredible country again in my life.

Through the months leading up to our trip to New Zealand for Global Citizenship Week I set my expectations quite high, and fortunately those expectations for fulfilled. Throughout the week (which flew by fast, but felt longer than a week) I learned about the country, the nature, and the culture of the natives and people as a whole. I did not expect New Zealand to be as cultured as it was, and I do not mean that in a bad way at all, it was just very surprising and refreshing to witness the beautiful culture of the Maori people. New Zealand has to be the most peaceful country I have ever been to. It is quiet, green, inviting and completely gorgeous.
I think my main growth as a person through this trip would be my courage. I’ve never been very athletic, nor have I enjoyed getting dirty…and mountain biking, kayaking and going without a shower for nearly three days was never something I thought I had the strength to do. But I did it, and I’m so happy that going on this trip taught me to face my fears and doubts and push through because that is the only way to experience the greatest things in the world.
During the week my proudest moment had to have been on the last day of the trip. It wasn’t a moment, but a reflection on the entire week. I’m so proud of myself and my friends with everything we accomplished throughout the week. Mountain biking, kayaking, luging, seeing dolphins and jumping from the top of the boat, rafting, being welcomed into the Moari tribe,  seeing endangered birds in their own habitat. Everyday was a new and wonderful experience to be forever cherished in our memories.
One of the most memorable and educational parts of the trip was when we went to the Maungatautari ecological island. We watched an informational video about the 47 kilometer pest-proof fence that had been built around the mountain to keep animals that disrupt the habitat away from the endangered species. This experience opened my eyes to New Zealand and the people there. I couldn’t believe how many volunteers and workers joined together to protect the homelands. It really shows how much the country means to the habitants and I am proud to say I have visited a country like this.
Overall, the trip to New Zealand was fulfilling in many ways. I didn’t expect to enjoy roughing it up so much, and I found it phenomenal that day I learned something new about the culture and the country itself. I am still stunned that New Zealand is a country with new harmful creatures and I think this makes the country all the more beautiful. To put it simply, this was one of the most amazing trips I have ever been on and I’m not sure that I will ever return to New Zealand..but I will definitely cherish my memories there and do whatever I can to visit the incredible country again in my life.

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