Study Abroad Africa Blog

Student Spotlight

Mackenzie Skiff, a Sophomore Global Studies in Human Sciences major, dove right in to a cross-cultural experience in Fiji and New Zealand the summer of 2016. A group of 13 students, led by Dr. Kate Thornton of the Office of Global Education, spent four weeks on Vorovoro, Fiji working alongside the Mali tribe. They then traveled to New Zealand for two weeks, experiencing eco-tourism and sustainable tourism throughout the country. Mackenzie shares about her experiences below:


“I had the incredible honor to study community development and sustainability this summer through the College of Human Sciences Fiji and New Zealand: Sustainability in Action program. The six weeks spent out of the country has impacted both my college years and future career. A lot of our time was spent in hard works as we assisted in building a Grand Bure, a traditional Fijian community space. But we also made sure to balance it with fun times around a bonfire singing country songs and playing Uno! Being able to build relationships with the locals, initiate community projects, and experience living with only necessities has impacted my perspectives and will inform my next few years as a student and as I enter the job market. As a Global Studies major, this trip taught me that community development could be both healthy and impactful.

My time in Fiji and New Zealand has reassured me that this is the career path I want to pursue. I was able to gain real life experience as I observed in action what I have learned in my classes. Each day brought a new lesson about myself, about how to work with others, and how to build authentic relationships with people of other cultures. My time in Fiji and New Zealand will always have a very treasured place in my heart.”


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