Earlham College Student Program Overview

The New Zealand Program focuses on environmental topics from an interdisciplinary perspective with courses in Environmental and Cultural Issues of New Zealand and (for the 2013 program) a faculty seminar: Island Biogeography and Conservation. While the emphasis will be on environmental studies, the program is intentionally broad and interdisciplinary such that it is open to any student interested in examining the relationships between humans and our natural world from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Emphasis will be placed on learning-in-action with a variety of field research and study opportunities including lodging in urban and rural settings, cultural excursions to Maori communities, service learning placements with local agencies and organizations, and outdoor expeditions in the famed national parks of the island-nation.

The United Nations has declared 2005-2015 to be the decade of “Education for Sustainable Development.” New Zealand’s unique biogeography, environmental history, and cultural dynamics make it an ideal location to examine the complexity and interrelatedness of environmental problems and challenges. With a combination of academic coursework and experiential field study, the program immerses students in the landscapes and communities of New Zealand’s North and South Islands.

The tone of the program is one of immersion, reflection, simplicity, sense of place, and intrapersonal and interpersonal development. Consistent with Quaker principles and its environmental emphasis, the New Zealand program promotes careful thought and deliberate action in relation to our natural world. Like all Earlham-sponsored off-campus opportunities, the New Zealand semester aims to do more than most traditional study abroad programs. Combining interdisciplinary examination and cultural immersion with a heightened awareness of one’s self, the group, and the natural environment brings out the strengths of Earlham’s educational mission. This combination of looking “inside” as well as “outside” is essential and defining characteristic of the semester. Academic coursework is traditional in the form of classes, lectures, and assigned readings as well as experiential through immersive field trips, group discussions, journaling, and hands-on project-based learning.

José I. Pareja, Ph.D.
Director of Wildman
Earlham College