Name: Kyle Allen Knight
Home university: University of Houston
Internship placement: New Zealand Police Dog Section
“I have a long way to go but I was undoubtedly helped by going abroad for the first time through NE&I. I have gotten a taste of life beyond the borders of my own country, and I’m dying to explore the world even more.”
What is your favourite NZ memory?
Watching the sunrise and sunset on top of Mount Victoria in Wellington was my favorite memory. They say New Zealand is the first country to see the sunrise and the sunset, so getting to see both in the same day with the incredible backdrop of the mountains will always be a cherished memory.
Biggest accomplishment since NE&I?
Completing my internship with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and being hired on as a part-time worker, has been my biggest accomplishment since studying abroad in New Zealand through the NE&I program. I hope to dive deeper into nonprofit work as I approach graduation in May.
What are you doing now in your degree/career?
I am finishing up my two degrees in Corporate Communications and Liberal Studies, with focuses in Leadership Studies and Nonprofit Management. I am hoping to combine my experiences to become a skilled communicator for humanitarian aid, environmental, health-based and educational outreach initiatives and nonprofit organizations. Working for the United Nations or UNICEF later on in life, or even serving as an international ambassador for the United States, would be ideal. I have a long way to go but I was undoubtedly helped by going abroad for the first time through NE&I. I have gotten a taste of life beyond the borders of my own country, and I’m dying to explore the world even more.
What impact has your internship experience had on your personal and professional journeys?
Working alongside the New Zealand Police Dog Section staff was incredible. I learned a lot about the effort it takes to train the dogs, as well as how skilled the handlers must be in order to become officials. Chasing dogs down grassy hills with a camera, getting a little muddy and taking photos of the dogs in training at the Westpac stadium were moments I’ll cherish forever. Working with Massey University staff and the New Zealand Police taught me a lot about the importance of effective training, delivering content on time, taking photos and having fun while at work.
What were the biggest highlights of your Massey National Expedition Experience?
Oh gosh there are so many highlights. Between seeing baby seals in a waterfall or going to Hobbiton on a weekend outing with some of the other students, I’m not sure that I can really choose one favorite moment! One of the moments that sticks out most is my 21st birthday. Not only did I get a grand New Zealand night on the town with the friends I made from NE&I, but the university staff and New Zealand Police Dog Section staff stopped by to give me heartwarming gifts and a big cake to celebrate my leap into adulthood. I think it’ll go down as my best birthday, just because of how fun the night was and how friendly everybody was over there when I had only gotten to know them for a few weeks. There’s an unparalleled feeling of kindness over there in Wellington, and I encourage anybody to go and check it out for that reason alone. Our bus driver said it best. “He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata. What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.”
What was the biggest challenge of working in NZ?
The biggest challenge of working in New Zealand is the first week of adaptation. You’ll be out of your element for a little bit, and might even feel a bit of homesickness, but that’s totally okay. Once you get past that, you start to jump in and discover so much about yourself. The challenge is leaning into the discomfort of being in a new place, whether you’ve gone alone or are going with friends. It’ll take some adjusting, but remaining open to the experience is key. Do that, and you’ll grow so much.
Why would you recommend NE&I to future students?
Finding a study abroad program that combines exploration, course credit and an internship in a 6-week package is rare. For me, the courses helped me complete one of my minors and helped me put another internship on my resume. You’ll have plenty of time to explore New Zealand since the courses are not traditional in nature; you’re not sitting in a desk. You’re out with your internship host, traveling the country by bus and visiting people and places that you might not otherwise see. Take it in and compare it to other programs. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck here.
Kyle was part of the 2016 pilot cohort of the Communication & Marketing track of Massey University’s National Expedition & Internship programme. We are accepting applications for Summer 2017 until March 15th 2017 – or until spaces fill up! Visit our website for more information on how to apply and to find out about the Explore New Zealand scholarship (application deadline March 1st 2017).