Two years ago,when I was initially asked to start thinking about where I would want to student teach overseas, I made a pact with myself. I promised myself that I would not go someplace that I've already gone, and I promised myself that I wouldn't go someplace where I could see myself visiting in two or three years. After spending days narrowing my list, my decision came down to two countries: beautiful New Zealand or its wonderful neighbor, Australia.
Now, being the American I am, I had very little knowledge of either country. I knew that you could put shrimps on barbies in Australia, and could have the opportunity to meet Gandolf while wandering the countryside of New Zealand. With this little background knowledge, I chose to travel to the "rare jem" of the two - New Zealand.
From there, I began my research. I started reading texts discussing the curriculum, politics, culture, values, environment... None of my research could have ever prepared me for what I would experience while overseas. My readings and, what seemed like endless, assignments in no way prepared me for how welcoming and encouraging Aoteroa would be, how kind and accepting its students, faculty, and parents were, and how breathtaking each day is.
As you read this final entry, it is from the bottom of my heart that I thank you for helping me to grow, not only as a teacher, but as an individual. By following my blog, encouraging my success, and contributing positive thoughts, you have supported me throughout each adventure, been by my side during each moment, and have illustrated an inspiring amount of unspoken love. This overseas experience has changed my life, and for that, I am forever thankful.
So (with all of that said), if I have anything to do with it, I will be returning to New Zealand in another year to once again visit the friends and memories that I made, and showing my parents "why in my right mind" I would choose to travel to the other side of the world for eight weeks. But until then, this is Courtney Dressler, signing off.
Kia Ora. Be well. And thank you.