Otago Polytechnic

Three Otago Polytechnic students have been selected in the latest round of Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America.

Sammy Crawford, Joshua Taylor and Jamie Rhodes, who are studying the Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Science (Physical Conditioning) at Otago Polytechnic, will be involved in a highly collaborative project based in La Plata, Argentina.

The trio, who will spend six weeks working on a customised rugby strength and conditioning programme with the La Plata Rugby Club, leave at the end of August, returning in early October.

The programme is a cross-cultural collaborative sports training initiative that aims to connect emerging strength and conditioning coaches within the environment of a South American tertiary institution — the University of La Plata — and an amateur (semi-professional) rugby club.

Sammy Crawford, one of the trio, is relishing the international opportunity.

“Academically, it will expose us to a high-performance, fast-paced environment, and will be a great way to get immersed in a rugby-rich culture other than New Zealand’s. I’m also looking forward to experiencing an Argentinian barbecue!

“I am hoping to be able to train with the national rugby union team (Los Pumas) while we are over there, as I have already trained with five national teams this year — the New Zealand Sevens side as well as the Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Georgia 15-a-side teams.”

Marc Doesburg, Director, Global Engagement, says Otago Polytechnic fosters a wide range of overseas partnerships in order to provide opportunities for its students to prepare for the global workforce.

“We cultivate opportunities for our students overseas to give them insights into other cultures, to experience cultural diversity and develop cultural competence.

“We educate out students for the global workplace, so we secure funding for them to undertake learning overseas.

“Evidence indicates that students who study abroad have better grades, experience less attrition and graduate at higher rates than students who do not study abroad. They have a competitive edge in the job market.”

In fact, Otago Polytechnic’s strong relationships with overseas institutions were key to Sammy enrolling at the Institute of Sport and Adventure.

“I knew there had historically been great opportunities in South Africa, Samoa and America,” Sammy says.

“So, to have spent four weeks in Fiji and now be heading off to Argentina for six weeks is super-exciting.”

The Otago Polytechnic learners are among more than 60 young New Zealanders who will experience life and learning in Latin America, courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America (PMSLA).

The destinations include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, where they will study, conduct research or carry out internships.

“For each of the individuals involved, winning one of these scholarships is a life-changing event,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“It offers the chance of a big adventure that’s personally challenging and enriching.”

Read more about Otago Polytechnic’s many international partnerships

Published on 06 August 2018

Orderdate: 06 Aug 2018
Expiry: 31 Dec 2018