The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) has been awarded three Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Argentina and Asia (PMSA).
As part of the scholarship, Bachelor of Environmental Management students will visit Ushuaia, Argentina to attend Spanish language, Environmental Science and Argentine Latin American culture/history classes and seminars at the Tierra del Fuego National University over the course of four weeks.
Environmental Management Programme Manager Christine Liang said SIT applied for the scholarship in order to supplement students studies in the Environmental Management programme.
“In addition to the academic experience, students will experience a cultural exchange through language and culture courses and local field trips.”
Head of Faculty New Media, Arts & Business Hamish Small said the aim of his faculty’s application was to strengthen New Zealand’s and SIT’s ability to engage with key Asian trading partners.
“SIT considers the SIT Animation and Game Design Programme will be a significant factor in improving the internationalisation of SIT as one of New Zealand’s leading tertiary education organisations.
“The Animation and Game Design students who have experienced the international educational programme will return to Southland more fully equipped to contribute to the multicultural environment that SIT is developing in the region through its strong growth in international students and staff,” he said.
The Memorandum of Cooperation between SIT and Zhe Jiang College of Construction will enhance future relations between the two institutions, providing opportunities for further exchanges between students and staff.
Zhe Jiang College of Construction has well established programmes in animation and design for an eight week engagement that will allow second year SIT students within the Bachelor of Screen Arts programme the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in anime, a leading market within the animation global sector.
They will also gain knowledge in Asian history and theory of screen arts, and visual effects compositing in an Asian context, Small said.
“It is intended that the students will return to New Zealand with ideas to complete third year projects in the following year.
“This (scholarship) is a great opportunity for students within a successful programme with an already outstanding record in graduate employment outcomes (>94%), and the scholarship will not only enhance the student experience, but further develop globally recognised skills and knowledge”.
“SIT staff and students recognise what an outstanding opportunity this is for all parties involved, and for the successful group, this should be an invaluable experience.”
The PMSA is a programme funded by the New Zealand government and administered by Education New Zealand.
It aims to:
- Strengthen New Zealand institutions’ connections with their counterparts in key Latin America and Asian countries,
- Promote understanding of the strength and quality of New Zealand’s education system and raise awareness in Latin America and Asia of New Zealand as a preferred education destination
- Improve the international skills of the New Zealand workforce
- Strengthen people-to-people connections between New Zealand and countries in Latin America and Asia through participants building lifelong friendships and networks
- Strengthen New Zealand’s ability to engage with key trading partners, and
- Improve New Zealanders’ understanding of key trading partners’ business practice and culture.
Ms Liang said students were elated when told they were successful in receiving the scholarship.
“One of the main reasons we applied for this opportunity is because the SIT Environmental Management programme is internationally-recognised and attracts exchange students from countries such as Germany and USA”.
“We have these students come to Invercargill to study our programme, however, our own students do not have the reciprocal opportunity to study abroad”.
“The Argentina exchange programme is a game changer for the Environmental Management programme and it is an incredible opportunity for our students.”
Students will gain a better understanding of parallel environments to the Southland region, e.g. Ramsar status wetlands, unique tectonic activity and alpine environments, proximity to Antarctica and Subantarctic Islands and both being gateway cities to national parks: Tierra de Fuego and Rakiura National Park.
Christine said the exchange will also mean that both SIT and the Environmental Management programme will gain more international visibility and credibility and this will open up the potential for developing further relationships between the National University of Tierra del Fuego and SIT.
She was given a similar opportunity to participate in an environmental course in South America when attending university herself.
“The experience really changed my life and solidified the direction of my career aspirations towards an environmental field”.
“To be able to offer that level of transformative experience to our students means the world to me, and I’m confident that they will also return to Invercargill with new skills and knowledge in environmental management to share with the rest of the class as well as lifelong memories (and awesome photos!).”
First year Environmental Management students Kelli Gerritsen and Ren Lamb believe the exchange programme will be a real asset to the course.
“Going to Argentina and learning about environmental management would mean so much in terms of culture and the knowledge exchange in biodiversity and ecology,” said Kelli.
“It would mean a sense of global understanding and sustainability solutions for the world,” Ren said.