Joanna: UNSW Inside the Criminal Mind course

I was very excited and honored by the fact that I was offered the opportunity to participate in a 5-day summer school course, at the University of Sydney (UNSW), known as ‘Inside the Criminal Mind’. I was grateful for the funding as it was the only way I would have been able to participate in the course.

The course consisted of various industry experts from many aspects of the field, who were all highly engaging and interesting to hear lecture on their respective fields. The course also consisted of a number of fun and enjoyable group projects which embodied the genre of crime studies. These assignments included collaborating on a short debate on topics included in the course. The assignment I was most excited for was the group assignment which involves an investigation and writing a report of a known criminal. Group members had to pick roles to take in the investigation such as detective, forensic psychiatrist and so on.

The course itself was very well organised, with all resources and content readily posted by the time I had been given access to my UNSW account. This included some additional videos and readings that would provide further clarification and information on the different sections of the course. With the use of the YouTube live stream and zoom, interacting with the in-person group was made efficient and easy, with an in-person moderator replying and relaying questions.

The content of the course itself was a nice change for me. As a recent graduate from a bachelor’s degree in Criminology the information I learnt through this course will aid me further in my further career and interest in the field. The course introduced me to many industry-based debates which I was not aware of. As someone who in the future wants to work in a position at the Ministry of Justice these forms of debates and the research presented are highly relevant to the future position, I hope to be working in. The allocated group work furthered my skills in team collaboration on academic content.

For students who are considering taking on a virtual programme such as this one. I would highly recommend it. The knowledge I have gained from this course were invaluable and will definitely be something that I carry with me into my future in this field. While the credits gained from this course will not be transferable into my University, the expertise and engagement from the content was well worth a week of my Summer break.

Manawa: Campus B Indigenous Rights & History in Brazil (Virtual)

I attended the Campus B Indigenous Rights and History in Brazil virtual programme from the 12 January 2021 to the 22 January 2021. This programme was primarily online with one culinary workshop onsite at the University of Auckland. The programme was attended by students from New Zealand, Brazil and Canada. Students were put into three groups initially and tasked with a project on indigenous rights to discuss and present to the other students on the final day of the programme.

The programme consisted of various presentations from academic staff, technical experts and indigenous peoples from Brazil. The topics that were discussed throughout the presentations included the history of indigenous rights in Brazil, the impacts of colonisation, the evolution of indigenous rights, the social and political context in Brazil and some of the legal and contemporary challenges for indigenous peoples including the impacts of Covid19. The presentations were engaging and very informative. Students were given the opportunity to ask the presenters various questions. I took this opportunity and asked many questions. I found this helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the issues being discussed.

I also observed similarities between the situation for indigenous peoples in Brazil and some of the challenges for indigenous peoples in New Zealand. The skill that I developed and enhanced throughout the programme was a greater awareness of the particular needs of not only Māori but indigenous peoples more generally. For example, I took the opportunity to ask the presenters who were indigenous to discuss some of the main challenges they face and to describe some of the goals and aspirations they have for their specific communities and indigenous peoples as a whole in Brazil. This skill is not only relevant to my studies and specialisation in indigenous rights and international law, but this skill is also highly relevant to my career in law and policy. Having a greater understanding and awareness of indigenous peoples needs will allow me to make informed decisions and take opportunities to advocate for these needs when possible. Having a strong understanding of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and its constitutional relevance in New Zealand I learnt how the history of indigenous peoples rights in Brazil has evolved very differently having no treaties forming the basis of colonisation.

I take away from the programme a greater awareness of the challenges that indigenous peoples face in Brazil and the importance of having a workable relationship between the State and it’s indigenous inhabitants. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn about the history of indigenous rights in Brazil particularly having no previous understanding about Brazil or its indigenous inhabitants. I am also grateful that the programme was available online given the travel restrictions. Although it is more challenging to get to know peers in a virtual learning space the programme was still highly successful in learning outcomes and opportunities. I would highly recommend the programme to future and prospective students who have a passion for indigenous rights. I would recommend for prospective students who attend the programme to prepare questions to ask the presenters, the presenters many who are indigenous are primary sources of information.

Rosanna: UNSW Inside the Criminal Mind

I am very grateful to have participated in the Inside the Criminal Mind programme with the University of New South Wales, which combined law and psychiatry to look at criminal offending, treatment, and rehabilitation. The main skills that I had developed and enhanced during this programme were open-mindedness, curiosity, time management, and organisation. This course delved into some serious, sensitive, controversial, and potentially triggering topics – which required us to approach the content with open minds and non-judgemental attitudes.

The lectures were given by experts in each area, and they challenged our pre-existing beliefs and ideas about criminal offending that we had from seeing often very sensationalised and widely inaccurate media portrayals of such cases. This open-mindedness taught us the ability to empathise with these offender groups and see them as human beings, not as mere statistics or defined by the crime they committed, because a holistic and understanding approach is key to addressing criminal offending. Relatedly, another skill that was enhanced during this programme was curiosity.

I was already very interested in this programme because it was directly relevant to both sides of my conjoint (LLB / BSc in psychology) as well as my current job in mental health, and because forensic psychiatry is not widely available for undergraduate students. Hearing the experts talk passionately about their professions and research only increased my fascination, and despite still having a way to go before completing my degree and being able to go into full-time work, I have been looking into careers in criminal law, family law, and corrections, while continuing to work in mental health. It is also good to keep being curious because new research and new cases are always coming out, and knowledge about these areas will keep developing and evolving over time.

Two more important skills that I used every day during this programme was time management and organisation. As this was a virtual programme with a university in Sydney, I had to stay on top of the time zone differences and technical difficulties that inevitably arose. The time difference did get a bit challenging because pushing back mealtimes and finishing class a lot later than usual started to affect my sleep schedule too, which in turn had me going to work already feeling quite tired. This being a virtual programme also meant a return to online lectures, which I have never really been a fan of, and I often developed bad headaches from staring at the screen for too long – this was quite tough because the days were long, with classes from 11am to around 7-8pm. The things that helped me most in managing these challenges were having a detailed calendar, setting alarms, walking around the house and stepping away from devices whenever we had a break, regularly checking course communications, and having a friend from UoA doing the same course with me.

My advice to future students who are thinking about doing a virtual programme is: do it! This experience was incredibly valuable and worthwhile, and I enjoyed every moment of it. There are so many takeaways from this programme that I have already begun integrating into my work and studies, and it has given me confidence and inspiration for my future career. You may not be travelling away for an exchange, but a virtual programme is more accessible, and you have already developed great skills from a year of Zoom lectures. Go for it and let your interests guide you, because it is honestly worth it.


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Jessica: Campus B Indigenous Rights & History in Brazil (Virtual)

Let’s talk about something that defines the apocalypse we live in: the idea of humanity separated from nature, a “humanity that doesn’t recognize that the river in a coma is also our grandfather”. Take the Rio Doco in Brazil, just one of the many examples of environmental degradation whose ecology has been deeply affected by mining activity. This thought comes from Ailton Krenak – an Indigenous philosopher and activist who wrote the book “Ideas to Postpone the End of the World”, the welcoming gift sent by Campus B to set the program’s tone and unite us students from all over the globe. The program took place over two weeks, with guest lectures from many inspiring Brazilian Indigenous activists, leaders and NGOs genuinely passionate about advancing Indigenous rights and sharing their knowledge’s with us students, both Brazilian and New Zealanders from all walks of life.

One of the key highlights was virtually meeting and cooking with Kalymaracaya Nogueira, an Indigenous chef from Campo Grande who promotes her culture through food and culinary arts. We got the unique opportunity to learn how to cook traditional food and ask her questions (through a translator) about her work and childhood, broadening our cultural understanding immensely and wouldn’t have been possible without Campus B facilitating the experience. Overarching our 1.5-hour virtual meetings was our project, where we were split into multicultural (and multi-time zoned) teams to tackle a key issue faced by the Indigenous community today. My group was assigned the Amazon rainforest, which is threatened by illegal deforestation and the rise of strategically set fires to clear Indigenous land away for farmers and land grabs. One of our Brazilian team members introduced us to Google Sites, where we created a blog to raise public awareness (linked below). Not only did the project strengthen my digital literacy, but working within such a diverse team who all had different academic strengths and interests also improved patience, flexibility, and independence. https://sites.google.com/usp.br/amazontoday/ We were fortunate enough to receive feedback from members from Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a Brazilian NGO that focuses on advocacy work for the Amazon, Indigenous rights and conflicts in the use of resources.

On the board included Paloma Costa, who has a lifetime experience of being an environmental defender, and was the Brazilian representative for the Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change for the United Nations Secretary-General in 2020. Paloma represents what most of the guest speakers stood for – while not shying away from reality, everyone was stubbornly optimistic about the future of Brazilian policies and attitudes to Indigenous land, demarcation and autonomy. We can all take a lesson from the Indigenous fight in Brazil – with over 200 different communities and languages, Indigenous resistance comes from not accepting the idea that we are all the same. Only recognizing our diversity and rejecting the idea that human beings are superior to nature can give real meaning to our existence, and help reverse climate change. If you get the opportunity, I recommend taking this course to broaden your understanding of global citizenship, which will encourage you to think deeply and critically about what is equitable and just. Taking part in this virtual program will also help strengthen independence, time management, adaptability and cultural awareness, which are all skills pursued by employers but can best be learned beyond the traditional classroom setting.

United States of America

University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at 21 partner universities in the United States of America:

  1. American University
  2. California State University San Marcos*
  3. Case Western Reserve University
  4. Dartmouth College
  5. George Washington University
  6. Indiana University (Law only)
  7. Northeastern University
  8. Pennsylvania State University
  9. Rutgers, State University of New Jersey
  10. Stony Brook, State University of New York
  11. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  12. University of Arizona (incl Law)
  13. University of California (9 campuses)
  14. University of Connecticut
  15. University of Georgia
  16. University of Hawai’i at Manoa
  17. University of Maryland
  18. University of Texas at Arlington
  19. University of Virginia (incl Law and Nursing)
  20. University of Washington
  21. William and Mary (Law only)

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

Abroad at AU was incredibly welcoming and hosts various events at the start of the semester to help seamlessly integrate you into campus life. Through Abroad at AU I was able to take part in a DC photo challenge, attend a Washington Nationals Baseball game, visit the News Museum (an unexpectedly inspiring and moving visit), and tour the famous Arlington Cemetery. Through these events I met many very cool international students who became my closest friends. After only a few weeks on campus I felt at home.

– Joshua, American University

Georgetown is beautiful and has an old English vibe there are great restaurants, clothes stores, movie theatre and the Georgetown University Campus. Additionally, living in DC is guaranteed to provide you with a series of once in a lifetime experiences. For me: – I completed the dissertation for my LLB in the United States Library of Congress, – I saw an oral argument with all nine Justices of the Supreme Court – I sat in on multiple congressional hearings where senators were discussing Russian cyber-hacking and immigration crisis.

– Gemma, George Washington University

My time at IU is now something I view as truly unique and will always consider to be extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to go on exchange and would strongly encourage any student thinking about it to consider going to IU.

– Cameron, Indiana University

My advice for someone thinking about doing an exchange is to just get on and do it. I was at a point where I thought I had run out of time and was thinking an exchange was going to be inconvenient for my degree. However, spending a semester abroad at PSU was, as my cousin described his, life-changing.

– Sam, Pennsylvania State University

Studying aboard at UVA was the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, while immersing myself in an entirely new culture and city, along with a completely different way of learning at the University of Auckland. I can say with sincere honesty that I could’ve never imagined loving UVA as much as I did. To say that time flew would be an understatement; in one moment I felt as if I had just arrived, and in the next I was already preparing to say difficult goodbyes to my newfound friends.

– Cengyue, University of Virginia

Without a doubt the highlight of my exchange was the amazing group of friends I made. I loved being able to play sports I had never tried before at the gym with my friends. I also loved coming together at the end of the day over the dining hall meals to talk to everybody; although it sounds insignificant, these were the moments that made the exchange so incredible.

– Bryn, University of Georgia

Taiwan

University of Auckland law students have the opportunity to study at one partner university in Taiwan: National Taiwan University.

Let’s hear what our law students have to say…

When I first arrived in Taiwan, it took me a short period to adjust to my new environment. Although in general, there are more similarities than differences it takes time to get accustomed to these differences in culture, lifestyle and expectations of such a different country. My advice is to be as prepared as you can and to also not have to also have an open mind to learning new ways of doing things.

– Min-Hung, National Taiwan University

The host city of Taipei was very much how I expected it as a major hub in Asia. It had all the characteristics of a big city but also had a slight traditional charm to it with all the various temples and shrines scattered throughout the city.

– Ian, National Taiwan University

Everything is cheaper than Auckland, especially living. I guess people don’t get paid as much but still it’s a lot cheaper. I met a few friends from my first soccer class and joined their soccer team. We trained together, played together and I even took part in the competition. Sadly under some circumstances we only had two games in the first semester and I played entire matches for both games. We drew the first and won the second. Hope they can win the title, and mail me a gold medal. I spent a week traveling around Taiwan after my exams. It was a great experience. Food in Taiwan was very good, and a bit cheaper. There are many kinds of food–rice, noodles, meat pie… I am very glad to be able to live in Taiwan for a semester. I made local friends and hang out with them a lot. I got to live like them, and I think this is the most important thing.

– Peter, National Taiwan University

When I first arrived, I knew absolutely no one. I was admittedly a little nervous about making friends, but once I arrived at orientation, there was hundreds of other students with the same problem, so things sorted out quickly. What’s more, Taiwan has a plethora of apps to meet new friends and it is quite common place to use them. Orientation was extremely extensive and every new exchange student is paired with a local student who will help with anything, not just campus or academic related issues, so by the end of orientation, I felt completely at ease.

– Hugh, National Taiwan University

National Taiwan University’s campus is incredibly big. It was a welcomed change to live so close to the university compared to my one hour commute by bus back at home. I recommend buy a bicycle because the campus is so big, it cuts the travel time across the campus from 25 minutes to about ten minutes.

– Min-Hung, National Taiwan University

During my exchange, I involved myself in various extracurricular activities such as joining clubs as well as volunteering under various organisations. One of my most memorable moments in Taiwan was actually through my volunteering work under an organisation called ICL (International Companions for Learning). Through ICL, I got to volunteer to go to schools throughout Taiwan and undergo a cultural exchange, introducing myself as well as my home country of New Zealand.

– Ian, National Taiwan University

As for the greater Taipei, I found the grassroots art and music scene incredibly vibrant and unique. This was certainly one of the highlights of my time here and kept my free time very much occupied as there is an abundance of it to see. The food is exceptional and incredibly cheap, eating out is about a quarter of the price of Auckland. Infact, buying groceries and eating out works out to be about the same price. I cooked literally three times in a year. Exploring the cuisine is an endless journey full of discovery. Also, the sheer range of different food means that no one could possibly not like Taiwanese food as a whole.

– Hugh, National Taiwan Unviersity

There were exchange students who got by without a bike as well. There are plenty of cheap food options within and nearby campus. The campus is in quite a busy/good location where a lot of young people like to spend time. There is a decent night market nearby the dormitory and a convenience store so you will never be hungry.

– Min-Hung, National Taiwan University

Norway

University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at two partner universities in Norway: The University of Bergen (Law only) and The University of Oslo.

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

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The exchange program was definitely the highlight of my University experience. Moving to Norway has been an eye opener as I learned it is ranked the world’s most progressive and prosperous country, with the highest gender and wealth equality in the world. Oslo is also currently Europe’s fastest growing city so it was great being amongst so much change.

– Jean, The University of Oslo

Bergen is a beautiful city surrounded by 7 mountains and situated on a fjord. After settling in, we had a full orientation programme organized by the university. It involved orienteering round the city and ten pin bowling, among other things. On top of this, Norwegians are some of the nicest people I have met. All in all, I had the best semester of my life in Norway. The hardest thing about my exchange was dealing with the culture shock and homesickness when I first arrived. However, if you can push through this and give the exchange a chance, then you will have an amazing experience and make new friends from all over the world. I would absolutely recommend and Auckland Abroad exchange to anyone.

– Sarah, University of Bergen (law)

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Oslo is a very beautiful city surrounded by spectacular scenery. As the capital of Norway it is their largest city but is by no means a ‘super city’. The University has its main campus just outside the main city centre, while the law school is situated right next to the Norwegian Palace and boasts the University’s oldest buildings. The University also provided regular trips to cabins, museums and historic buildings for exchange students. Travelling with other students around Norway was one of the absolute highlights of the exchange.

– Meredith, The University of Oslo

Bergen is surrounded by 7 mountains and the greater Western/Southern Norway region has some really famous hikes. So I took trips with friends to do these hikes. Because Norway is pretty expensive, we took buses and camped in tents. This kind of thing is really encouraged in Norway – they want people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. A highlight of my time in Bergen was joining a sports teams affiliated with the University. This meant that I actually got to spend some time with real-life Norwegian students, as opposed to just meeting other international students. My team mates were super welcoming, even if they did have to adjust their trainings so that they spoke in English. They were also really good about lending me things for hikes and recommending places to visit. One of the best things was that they played tournaments in other cities – and I got to travel with them and stay with their friends and family.

– Eleanor, University of Bergen (Law)

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The law courses and lecturers were great. The most noticeable difference from law school at home was switching to textbook based learning, as opposed to statute and case based. All of the courses were taught in English. The buildings were very beautiful in the centre of the city, walking distance from the harbour and most of Oslo’s tourist attractions. The university facilities including the gym and sports teams were fantastic. The public transport was extensive and affordable.

– Alina, The University of Oslo

The University of Oslo is split up by faculty and the law campus was right on Karl Johans Gata, right next to the Royal Palace, so the atmosphere was very regal and historic. I had a lot of exchange students in my classes and I loved hearing the different accents ask and answer questions throughout the lecture.

– Elizabeth, The University of Oslo

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Norway is a beautiful country making it fantastic place to travel around and do many incredible hikes. I recommend any visitors to take their hiking boots and plan a trip further north to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This was one of the highlights of my exchange, as well as visiting Lapland for dog sledding, feeding reindeer and snowmobiling.

– Alina, The University of Oslo 

My first impressions of Bergen far surpassed any reports and recommendations I’d previously been exposed to: it was a stunner. The city itself rests on a harbour surrounded by Fjords and Islands, while 7 mountains surround the city from the landward sides. It makes for a stunning backdrop from the water and likewise from each of the peaks for those adventurous enough to hike to the tops.

– Edward, University of Bergen (Law)

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I arrived just before Christmas and was surprised at how similar Oslo was to Auckland. It is a beautiful city on a fjord and surrounded by hills and forest. At times I struggled with the cold and dark in winter, but the spring and summer were exceptional. Norway has a beautiful soft light that is quite different from New Zealand and it doesn’t get dark until midnight. Everyone spends the evenings in the parks with friends or swimming in the fjord and there is a real sense of community.  I was also lucky enough to go skiing in Norway on quite a few occasions. Norwegians are mad cross-country skiers and everyone from two year olds to eighty-two year olds are out on Sunday skiing in the forest. In summer I had a very Scandinavian experience of staying in a little cabin on an island in Southern Norway, swimming in the fjord and diving for oysters and mussels. Most weekends I went for a big walk around a natural reserve near our apartment where you can swim off the rocks in summer and BBQ on the beaches.

– Sylvie, University of Oslo

When I arrived in Oslo it was mid-winter the day before Christmas. Most of the city was closed, as it was a public holiday. Oslo is a beautiful city and coming in mid-winter with the snow was definitely a huge change from what I was used to and I was wearing an extra thermal layer than everyone else for a while until I adjusted to the cold.

– Janey, The University of Oslo

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The lifestyle in Norway is very active – people like to hike. It was ideal to be so close to the lake (where we swam in the summer and walked across in the winter) and to the surrounding hills.

– Meredith, The University of Oslo

Bergen likes to think of itself as the cultural capital of Norway, a fair assessment of a quaint city with a village feel, never feeling overwhelming or at all like a concrete jungle. The live music and art scenes are thriving. Quintessentially ‘Bergen’ architecture is as prevalent throughout the small shops, cafes and bars lining the narrow cobble stone pedestrian friendly lanes as it is in the homely abodes dotted along the foot of the closest and most famous mountain, Floyen.

– Edward, University of Bergen (Law)

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Mexico

University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at one partner university in Mexico: Tecnológico de Monterrey

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

Tec is set up incredibly well for exchange students. There are a number of clubs (sporting and cultural), which take part during class hours, meaning that you can take part in activities inside ‘school’ hours. I found this fantastic, as I was able to play football to an incredibly high level during my downtime in the day.

– Andrew, Ciudad de Mexico Campus

At the time of writing, I still video call with friends who were also international students and local Mexican students from the University. It’s a beautiful and wholesome experience because we come from such different backgrounds and were raised so differently, but for five months, we were friends who became a tight-knit family; navigating the challenges of a foreign land and celebrating our triumphs with a taco, gordita, torta or quesadilla in hand.

– Lupesina, Campus Queretaro

The decision that I took to come to Mexico was one of the best ones of my life. My parents and friends were surprised that I had chosen such a ‘dangerous’ country, but until you come here, you cannot experience all of the unparalleled warmth, flavour and diversity of Mexican culture.

– Amy, Monterrey Campus

Of course it was challenging moving away from home, alone, but through it all, I made sure I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in order to make the most of my experience, and create beautiful memories.

– Arantxa, Monterrey Campus

Before living in México, I had no idea what it would look like but every new place I visited, showed me another side. Those were my highlights. Being around people just like me, experiencing the magic of México together. Cloud-tipped mountain villages, multi-coloured cobble-stone towns, perfect beaches; some of the most beautiful things my eyes have seen in my whole 20 years on this earth. If I have any advice for students considering exchange, it would be to go to México. The cost of living is nothing, the scenery is unreal, the food is unbeatable and the memories you make with the best kind of people are priceless.

– Maddison, Monterrey Campus