Name: Erin Mellor

Home university: Furman University (Greenville, SC)

Internship placement: Te Rākau theatre

“I would recommend this trip to anyone wishing to bravely expand his or her viewpoint on the world, and those who are thrilled by the idea of cross-cultural communication, adventure, challenge, copious amounts of coffee, and meeting people from all around the world.”

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What is your favourite New Zealand memory:

My favorite memory from my time in New Zealand was when our entire group hiked to the top of Mount Victoria in Wellington to watch the sunset. The wind was blinding but refreshing, and the view was spectacular. I will never forget the sight of the office tower buildings meeting the rippling water of the harbor as the sun beamed like lantern on top of the opposing hills. We all sat on the grassy slope beneath the observation deck and discussed our dreams and goals for the next month. It was nothing short of magical.

Biggest accomplishment since NEI?

I organized a panel of professors to discuss the communicative aspects of the 2016 Election a week after [Donald Trump] became the president-elect. We explored the ways in which emotive rhetoric and pedagogy came into play at a national level, discussing the Trump media circus and 3am tweets, the Hillary funding issues and emotional ads, person-oriented (rather than policy-oriented) debates, and the questionable third party candidates leaving disenfranchised and disillusioned voters. I fostered a lively discussion as the panel’s moderator.

What are you doing now in your degree/career?

I am currently a Fulbright candidate for an English Teaching Assistant position in South Korea. Because this is a long process, I am also applying for jobs in marketing, organization communication, creative branding/copywriting, and community engagement. I will graduate this May with a double-major in English and Communication Studies.

What impact has your internship experience had on your personal and professional journeys?

My internship experience produced many deliverables that I added to my professional portfolio, including a myriad of graphics, a website, and a multimedia video. I can say that I worked directly with the director, playwright, and producer of a culturally-significant and ground-breaking series of plays. Personally, I developed strong friendships with people scattered throughout the United States. When I was in New York City this December I even met up with an alumni of NE&I for ice cream!

What were the biggest highlights of your Massey National Expedition Experience?

My highlight reel is lengthy. The Expedition was jam-packed with adventure, interesting industry tours, good food, wine tours, dancing, and long walks through new cities. Some of my favorite parts of the Expedition include Stacey, our vivacious bus driver/tour guide who could make every member of the trip double-over in laughter; watching baby seals frolic in a little pool (“seal pup daycare”) on the South Island; exploring Queenstown and meeting people from all around the world; bungee jumping in Taupo; FERG BURGER; gelato in Auckland and exploring the harbor.

What was the biggest challenge of working in NZ?

I think the biggest challenge was budgeting appropriately and staying within budget. I ended up spending more than planned, but would encourage future explorers to allot more money for food — I fully believe that to experience Wellington is to experience its vibrant food culture (and try an assortment of coffee shops!)

Why would you recommend NE&I to future students?

I gained a ton of self-assuredness throughout this trip, as being in a foreign city can be daunting, yet manageable and exciting. I have felt so confident in who I am as a person and my design/writing capabilities following this trip. I have no fear as I move into the future, and am particularly excited about the possibility of living and working abroad professionally next year. I would recommend this trip to anyone wishing to bravely expand his or her viewpoint on the world, and those who are thrilled by the idea of cross-cultural communication, adventure, challenge, copious amounts of coffee, and meeting people from all around the world.

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