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NEW ZEALAND

VOLUNTEER TO TEACH CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Teach at a school in the largest city in New Zealand, working with children from war-torn countries. You'll work as an assistant teacher, helping small groups of children in a variety of subjects. You may also be asked to work one-to-one with some of the children who particularly need help.

The close interaction and undivided attention you can give the children plays a very beneficial part in helping to raise their standards of education.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £1,495 (approx. US$1,975) for 4 weeks
£200 (approx. US$300) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 4 weeks to 12 weeks or longer. Subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates: Projects start every Thursday, during school term times only (see “Work Content” tab) – you choose your start and finish dates.
Requirements: Minimum age 18. You don't need any qualifications or experience to do this project.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Food, Daily transport to and from your project, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 18.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for children, teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement or short break in New Zealand, or for those interested in TEFL teaching.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping these disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN NEW ZEALAND info@travellersworldwide.com

ANY QUESTIONS?

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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

As a trained teacher in America I was interested to see how other county's education systems are run and I was immediately taken in and accepted as part of the “family”. I got to spend time in 6 different classrooms a week working with children of different ages and abilities. I learned more about education and myself than I could have expected and I have Travellers to thank for that. I would have never done something like this and got the wonderful experience I did without this program.Andrea Mangione

You'll work at a school in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. There is a shortage of teachers in New Zealand so you'll really be able to help make a difference here. You will work as an assistant to the main teacher and will get involved in a variety of subjects. We work with several schools in Auckland that are all “low decile” schools. Some of the schools have a large number of ethnic children who are classed as the under-privileged community in Auckland. There are children from many different communities and countries at the school such as children from the Maori communities and from countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Tonga and Samoa. These children generally come from lower socio-economic areas of Auckland.

You'll work one-to-one and in small groups with the children to really give them the attention they need. Class sizes vary between 20 and 30 children in each class and you will be teaching children between the ages of 4 and 17. As an assistant teacher at the school you will be involved in a number of different subjects, such as:

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Art and/or Drama
  • Math
  • Geography and History
  • English
  • ... and possibly other academic subjects.

If you'd like to teach a specific subject that is not listed here, please let us know and we'll arrange it for you.

The lessons you'll teach generally last for 40 minutes and the school day runs from around 8:55 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The length of your working day will be around 4 to 5 hours of teaching and preparing for your lessons.

PLACEMENT DATES AND WORKING TIMES:
You are likely to work between 8:30 a.m. - 3.00 p.m., Monday - Friday. The programme is only available during the school times, as follows:

The school dates for 2016 are:
Term 1: 1st Feb – 15th April (NB: No arrivals 8-11 Feb & 25-29 March)
Term 2: 2nd May – 8th July
Term 3: 25th July – 23rd Sep
Term 4: 10th Oct – 15th Dec

The school dates for 2017 are:
Term 1: 3rd Feb – 13th April
Term 2: 1st May – 7th July
Term 3: 24th July – 29th Sep
Term 4: 16th Oct – 14th Dec

The school dates for 2018 are:
Term 1: 29th January – 13th April 2018
Term 2: 30th April – 6th July 2018
Term 3: 23rd July – 28th September 2018
Term 4: 15th October – 18th December 2018

REQUIREMENTS: Anyone working with children and/or vulnerable adults is required to complete a Criminal Records Check (CRC) as part of their application process. We'll provide you with the necessary papers and take you through the process.

ACCOMMODATION

You'll live in a centrally located hostel that is friendly and relaxing, making it ideal for long-term stays. You will be sharing a room with other volunteers. There is a communal kitchen and storage area for cooking meals and plenty of space to relax.

Entertainment at your accommodation includes cheap internet access, TV and free pool table. You are literally a stroll from the Sky Tower, harbor and waterfront. Accommodation is very central and close to the main train station and shopping district. Buses are also only a few minutes away to take you to parts of Auckland and New Zealand or to the many other ‘things to do’!

Wi-Fi / Internet: There is Wi-Fi / Internet access in the accommodation, with a small charge.

FOOD:
Food is not provided on this project, but Auckland has restaurants to suit all tastes - the most popular cuisine is New Zealand lamb which can be ordered at many restaurants around the city and is well worth it. For meals in local restaurants, a trip to Auckland's inner city centre is well worth the effort - it bustles with activity and offers a range of choices of restaurants.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

Thanks from a School Principal to Travellers' NZ Organiser:
>Hi Annette, Just a quick note so say how much the staff enjoyed having Jennie and Delyth and are still enjoying having Adria. They all fitted in really quickly and have been a tremendous help to us. As well as helping children read, assist in class and so on, we had a new child arrive who was very needy and Jennie and Delyth were able to work with him separately at different times while we were trying to organize support. This meant the teacher was assisted greatly and could concentrate more on the rest of the children. Just wanting to pass on all the school's thanks for the volunteers and hope there are many more to come. Diana Tregoweth"

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

Veronica van der Straaten, Deputy Principal, talks about the huge difference Travellers Worldwide Volunteers are making to the Children and the School.:
As the day begins there are screams and laughter coming from the school pool as children at 9.15 a.m. plunge into the cold depths and race around trying to get warm. Meantime in the music room nearby the music teacher is setting up instruments in front of each eager face as the music lesson for a junior class is about to commence. As you walk around the school you notice one or two groups of children reading to an adult while busily in class children are learning, with the help of the adults in the room. In the office area children who are running late are having their names recorded in the absence register, while the telephone rings and a parent with a new five year old waits patiently to have his/her child enrolled. In the resource room volunteers, teacher aides and a parent stamp and bind new books ready to be categorised and to be put onto the shelves ready for teachers to use. In classrooms children are reading, writing, and/or working on their maths.

This is the start of a typical day at Owairaka Primary School situated in the central city district of Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand. A busy multicultural school with 320 children, some of whom were born in New Zealand, many of whom have English as a second language or have parents from non- English speaking backgrounds, some are refugees. As you look around the classes and playgrounds there is a vision of the United Nations with Ethiopian, Somalian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island, English, Maori, European children, and many more cultures, intermingling, playing and learning together.

At the swimming pool, while the class teacher is instructing a group on how to use arm strokes to swim, a volunteer is working with a group of children teaching them how to float. In the music room another volunteer assists the music teacher with her programme, encouraging and assisting the youngest children. The adult listening to the small group of children read is a volunteer from England. He realises the importance of his role because for some of these children reading to a parent to whom English is a second language is difficult. In the office another volunteer is typing up a policy document that is needed for the next Board of Trustees meeting while her friend is working in the resource room, stamping and taping new readers for classes to use. In a year 3 and 4 class, the last volunteer is working alongside a child who needs help to write his news for the day while the class teacher helps the other children.

We are very fortunate at our school. This term we have had the benefit of having six extra adults in our school. They are making a difference! Two of the volunteers from Travellers Worldwide are assisting our music specialist; all of the volunteers are involved with classes so there are at least two adults at the pool at any one time teaching the children to swim. All of our volunteers have children who read to them daily and from last year’s testing we know this has and does make a difference to their learning progress. At lunchtime we have volunteers supervising the free swim time as well as taking the school cricket and softball teams. One of our volunteers works in the library for part of the day binding books and assisting children in the selection of books. All of our volunteers work alongside children in classes at some time during the day. There is variety in their programme and their strengths and interests are utilized.

2007 saw the start of our association with Travellers Worldwide ... [the volunteers] have been welcomed with open arms. I cannot speak more highly of their commitment and dedication to our school and the children. They are making such a difference.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN NEW ZEALAND info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Coming Soon!

Message from Annette Orchard Travellers Organiser in Auckland, New Zealand:

If you're reading this then you are probably a lot like NZ- we are innovative and creative, not set in our ways yet, and still developing our identity. We have a great "can-do" attitude to life.

We are the ultimate outdoor playground and, if it hasn't been done, we invent it- Jet boating, Black-water Rafting and Bungee Jumping to name a few. Within easy reach you can also go Whale-watching, Sky-Diving, White-water Rafting, Abseiling and numerous other activities. The locals are invariably friendly and helpful and will make you welcome.

Auckland "City of Sails" is a modern vibrant multi-cultural city of one million with a beautiful harbour, numerous islands, beaches, parks and volcanoes for you to explore. You will always see people out jogging, walking and cycling. There are numerous multi-ethnic restaurants, great shops and a busy night-life scene. New Zealand has a temperate climate and although winter can be frustratingly wet, it is reasonably short.

We are proud of our country and happy to share it with you!

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.

SEE ALL PROJECTS IN NEW ZEALAND info@travellersworldwide.com

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

The country can be divided into the North Island, the South Island and Stewart Island, as well as many tiny surrounding islands. The North Island is typically famous for beaches, springs and bush, whilst the South Island boasts mountains, glaciers, alpine forests and farmlands.

AUCKLAND:
The city centre boasts great shopping, restaurants and pubs or head over to the viaduct for more pubs, nightclubs and multicultural cuisine. You'll get to work via bus, which is close to your accommodation.

Maori settlement in Auckland was at least 800 years ago where by different tribes built theIr fortifications on the various volcanoes in Auckland. When the British arrived in 1840 they claimed Auckland as the capital city of New Zealand until Wellington became the capital 25 years later. The city is modern and vibrant - a fun and friendly with beautiful surrounding islands and harbour.

Some of its more famous attractions include the Sky Tower, Rangitoto island, the Harbour, the Hauraki Gulf Islands and the many extinct volcanoes that are in Auckland which provide great views of the city.

Climate: New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. While the far north has a subtropical summer, the inland alpine areas can get as cold as -10°C in winter. Most of the country, however, lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and abundant sunshine.

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

BORAH SPOORENBERG
Dutch
Teaching Children in Schools in Auckland

Dear Ana, I just wanted to say that the voluntary work at the Owairaka School was an amazing experience! I returned to my home country a couple weeks ago, and still think about the unforgettable time I had in New Zealand. This is my feedback :

(1) What experience do you feel you are gaining?
It was definitely an unforgettable experience. Ofcourse there were some ups and downs, but in general it is totally worth it. It's a great feeling that you can help other children to learn better, and at the same time you learn a lot about yourself. You learn how to be more confident, adaptable and positive.

(2) What is the best thing about your placement so far?
The best thing was to see how open, honest and fun children are. Since I had little experience in teaching children, this was definitely an eye-opener. I also loved the Garden-to-Table project, which is a project where children learn to cook with the vegetables and herbs they have in their community garden. It was fantastic to give them cooking lessons!

(3) Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Yes, the school is great and very well-organized. The Garden-to-Table project was also a highlight of the voluntary work.

(4) What, if any, improvements could be made to the placement?
The only thing I can say about this was that is was a bit difficult for me with the first few days. I expected that teachers would tell me what to do and how to teach children, but instead I just back in the classroom and walked around during the lesson to see if somebody would need help. On the other hand, it was not a big deal since I discovered which children needed more help than others.

(7) Can you describe a typical day?
I left my hostel at 8 am and took the bus to school, which was a 30 minute drive. I usually was at school around 8:45 am and went to the class. On Monday, Tuesday and Friday I had to help children in rooms 4 and 24. Around 10:50 am you had a Morning Tea break, and at 12:50 pm you had Lunch break. On Wednesday and Thursday I had to help in the kitchen, and helped them with cooking a dish, such as pizza or Irish bread. The school ended at 3:00 pm.

Thanks again for this experience and for your help at Travellers Worldwide! Best wishes, Borah

ANDREA MANGIONE
American
Teaching Children in Schools in Auckland

I absolutely loved my placement at Owairaka, so much that I am going to stay next term as an employee! As a trained teacher in America I was interested to see how other county's education systems are run and I was immediately taken in and accepted as part of the Owairaka family. I got to spend time in 6 different classrooms a week working with children of different ages and abilities.

I learned more about education and myself than I could have expected and I have Travellers to thank for that. I would have never done something like this and got the wonderful experience I did without this program. I made long lasting relationships with some staff members and the children really touched my life.

I can't wait to get back to my classroom in America and use some of the techniques I learned in New Zealand!

JENNIFER RIGBY
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Auckland

I loved everything about my project, was amazing.I saw my in-country support staff 5 times in the month I was away. I felt this was the perfect amount, as she didn't intrude on our free time, and yet she was always there when you needed advice. Many times I texted her asking questions and she always responded promptly. She met me at the airport, and gave me a little tour; she took me to my school induction; she arranged for all the volunteers to go out for a meal when one volunteer was leaving; she even came and visited on my birthday and dropped off a present, which I felt went above and beyond what she had to do.

The accommodation was situated near to Auckland downtown. It was near to food shops, and a park, and a short walk from all the main shops and the harbour. It was near to the bus stops for the school bus, so you didn't have to leave too early for school. The facilities were great, a good kitchen, laundrette, computers and a communal living room, good for watching films in the evenings.

I absolutely loved my placement in New Zealand! The country itself is beautiful, and the people are so welcoming. Whilst there, I helped at a primary school in a low income area of Auckland. It was amazing! The school was brilliant, the teaching staff were all so friendly and seemed genuinely grateful for the volunteers.

A standard day involved getting to school at about 8.45 am in time for morning classes. I was placed mostly with the youngest children, so my day involved supervising them, helping with reading and writing, and assisting with general activities. I switched between 3 different classes throughout the week, and I loved them all. Along with that, I helped with an athletics day, and some P.E. classes, and 4 times a week I was involved with a programme called 'Garden to Table', where we taught the (older) children how to cook healthy meals. The school even gave us Friday afternoons off, in case we wanted to travel over the weekends, which we sometimes did.

I did this project because I wanted to do something different, something not everyone has the chance to experience. I loved every minute that I was there; spending everyday with the kids, who were fantastic, so happy and enthusiastic, and spending free time with other volunteers, meeting new people from all over the world.

The experience had made me more confident, and taught me so much about other cultures. I would recommend it to anyone.

NICKY PILKINGTON
British
Teaching Music to Children in Schools in Auckland

The best thing about the placement has been doing something that I am interested in everyday and seeing children learn and develop thanks to my own input. Also having fun with the other volunteers and sharing this common interest.

Living at the hostel in Auckland with a weekly food budget has given me experience of living on my own and how to manage money myself without having parents to fall back on.

Being treated as an individual adult gives both responsibilities and advantages, and I have started to appreciate both of these things.

BETHAN THOMAS
British
Teaching Music to Children in Schools in Auckland

Each week was so incredibly different that it is hard to give an exact description of what a week might be like but here is a general overview of some of the things I got up to during my time in New Zealand. Firstly a key:

  • Kauri team – years 5-6,
  • Puriri team - years 3-4,
  • Rimu team – Key Stage 1.

We had a relatively early start each morning, leaving the hostel at about 8am to walk to the bus stop for our 40 minute journey to school. Mondays tended to be completely different each week, more so than other days because there were no music lessons on a Monday.

The morning would usually begin waiting for fruit. The government in NZ provided fruit to the school for each child to eat every day. This fantastic scheme gave the children opportunities to eat healthily and to try fruit they might not have tried before. The fruit was delivered every two or three days and each morning a team of parents and us volunteers would count out portions of fruit for each classroom.

The day would then include a number of activities including helping with some admin, doing some reading mileage in classrooms and supervising swimming. In the afternoon, Daniel (another music volunteer) ran a session for four children in Kauri team called ‘Music Maker’. ‘Music Maker’ is a software programme that contains thousands of samples of music and enables you to create pieces from them.

Tuesday to Friday would be spent teaching music with Robyn (the fantastic music teacher ).In the first four weeks of term we were focusing on the topic of ‘Elastics’ which involved a lot of singing and dancing about lycra, making shapes, playing games etc. Music is the only lesson each week not taught by the children’s form teacher. It is therefore a change for the children and gives the teachers an hour of well earned non contact.

As well as helping Robyn in lessons, we ran two choirs, one for Puriri team which was a rather large group and so more like crowd control at times but incredibly rewarding to listen to their sound and one for Kauri team which was my favourite part of the week – they made such a beautiful sound and were so enthusiastic.

I also ran a special music group for a group of Gifted and Talented children in Rimu team. In these we would sing and play musical games and had great fun learning more about music! Each break time Daniel and I would take ukuleles out into the playground and ‘jam’ with the children. Having never played the ‘Uke’ before coming to New Zealand, many of the children were far better than me but I worked hard and soon became competent enough to teach!

When not at school, our time as volunteers was spent seeing the sights around Auckland such as Devonport, Waiheke Island, Rangitoto, and Mission Bay and experiencing the fantastic Maori culture Auckland has to offer. Once a week we would try and cook a big group meal which was great fun as there was usually about ten to twelve of us. We also went out to various restaurants we had scouted out – recommendations go to Mt Fuji (amazing Japanese place on Queen Street). BK Hostel is a great place to stay, it’s clean and friendly and well situated within Auckland.

All in all I had a fantastic time. The staff are amazing there and I felt immediately welcome. Having worked in a school in England for the rest of my gap year I have observed that there is a much more relaxed attitude to life in New Zealand. The children are amazing and I will remember them and my time teaching forever.

GILLIAN DAVIDSON
British
Teaching Music to Children in Schools in Auckland

After a two day long flight, two proposals of marriage by Arabs in Dubai airport and about a total of two hours sleep, I finally landed in Auckland airport where I was met by my projects organiser Annette on Thursday 9th October. And yes, she was actually holding a sign in her hands with my name on it, I felt as though I was in a movie! After arriving I was briefly shown around Auckland city centre and I finalised some paper work with Annette.

I was meant to be staying in a Hostel for the duration of my stay, but a lady from the school I am working in had offered to take me in as a home stay. So after my little guided tour, I was taken to her house, which was about a half hour drive from the centre. A Little Bit about the Family ...

  • They are from Delhi, India
  • Manpreet is the name of the lady that works at the school
  • She is 26
  • She lives with her husband Sammy and his parents
  • They have a pet dog called Sheba and is a German Shepherd
  • Oh, and they are lovely!

My first weekend was fairly chilled. On Friday I got shown around the area I was staying in and the family had some friends over in the evening, so this was my true introduction into Indian culture. Saturday I spent mainly on my own. I went out food shopping with Sammy's mum for things I wanted for the house and then I went off to the city market. That evening I was taken out by Manpreet and Sammy for my introduction into the Auckland night life. And because it's now late into spring here, me and Manpreet took full advantage of the glorious 22 degree heat on Sunday and had a girly day out on the beach.

Monday arrived and that meant an early rise because school registration starts at 8.30 and because of early morning traffic, which meant we had to leave at 7.30. Monday however was a nice easy introduction day for me, simply two hours spent with the deputy head getting told all of the expectations of me and a little tour. The rest of the day was left for me to relax because the hard work would start the following day

A Little Bit about the School:
The school is situated on the western side of Auckland and it has been here for over 75 years and it has had a rich cultural background. Children from many ethnic backgrounds attend the school, which makes Owairaka District School an exciting and vibrant place to be. The school has a commitment to high academic standards and an expectation that all children will succeed. Schooling is an open partnership between parents, the child and the school.

I have a full timetable at the school which includes helping and teaching in all of the senior school music classes, reading with some children that require an extra bit of help, helping in some of the sports lessons, admin duties for staff and my own personal Mori lessons. It's a very intense week and incredibly exhausting but the children are such an inspiration to work with and each and every one of them shows so much appreciation for your work that I find it hard not to go searching for jobs to do when I get a spare five minutes in my day.

I have recently gone and got a henna design put on both of my hands. It's very pretty. Mehndi is the traditional art of henna painting in India. In Indian mehndi, a person applies designs traditionally to a woman's hands and feet. For particularly auspicious occasions, men apply mehndi as well. The most auspicious occasion warranting mehndi artwork is the Indian wedding, where both bride and bridegroom apply henna, as well as several members of the bridal party. Henna on any occasion symbolizes fertility.

This weekend has been pretty busy. With such fantastic weather on Saturday I took a trip up the Sky Tower. You can get an absolutely amazing view of the city and land around. I decided not to be really crazy and jump off the tower however I did take the opportunity to sit and have lunch at the top of the tower. After descending back down to earth I went to Auckland Museum where I attended their Maori culture show which was really interesting and is the main source for all the Maori information I wrote earlier. That evening there was the annual Diwali Indian Festival at the harbour. The day marks the homecoming of Lord Ram to his kingdom Ayodhya after the fourteen days of exile. And because the family I'm with are from India they asked me to join them for the celebration

Some Things That I've Already/Are Planning to Do Whilst I'm here:
I'm getting the chance to work with the school ukulele group and help them compose a song to they can enter a competition. (I can now add ukulele onto my list of instruments I can play.) I'm going to start teaching them a little bit about Scottish music and the culture and traditions behind it.

Next weekend (Labour Weekend) I'm travelling to the Bay of Islands for three days. This is the most northern part of New Zealand. At around about mid November I'm going to go down to Rotorua which is famous for its hot springs and hot pools.

I haven't decided when yet but I will go down to South Island- apparently that's where all of the Scots move to- and I will go and visit the main cities there; Christchurch, Nelson, Queenstown and Dunedin. By the end of November I'm hoping to take about a four day break to go and visit my step sister and her husband in Adelaide, Australia. So that should be awesome. December is a very busy month at school with summer Santa coming so lots of parties, concerts and organising to be done which is why I'm keeping December fairly free.

I hope this has kept you happily informed about my progress and you have enjoyed taking a little break to read this! Sending happiness from the land of the long white cloud. Gillian Davidson

An email from Gillian to Rachel at Travellers HO coming to the end of her placement:

Kia ora from down under! As expected I haven't got the time to write another essay on what I've been up to but I thought I'd let you know briefly what has been going on and what I'm still planning on doing.

The first big news is that the ukulele group was one of the three unranked winners of the song writing competition and on the 2nd Dec we are going to a recording studio with the other two schools to record our song! The kids were elated by the news.

The biggest change to me over the past few weeks is that I got dreadlocks. I know it might seem quite drastic but I've actually been wanting them for about a year now and couldn't resist! :) I started my recorder group which is going really well and we are now preparing to play at one of the end of term concerts.

This weekend has been fairly hectic, I've been at the schools cultural festival and then the music teacher and I went to the ukulele festival where I got my souvenir ukulele to take home and I met the Jimmy Hendricks of the ukulele.

And here's what I'm filling my last three weeks with:

On Thursday I'm going over to Australia for 6 days to visit my half sister in Adelaide which I'm really looking forward to. Then on the Tuesday I get back I'll be going to the recording studio with the uke group.

Manpreet is then having a party at the house that weekend so that will certainly keep me busy. And then I'm already into my final week and so I will probably meet up with Annette and reflect on the project. Then on the Saturday before I leave there is a festival called 'Christmas in the Park' which I think we are all going to go to ... and then I start my return journey the following afternoon.

I've truly enjoyed what I have experienced so far and I will make sure that in the little time I have I will continue to fill it with even more exciting things. Hope this keeps you informed. Thanks.

PHOTO GALLERY: Teaching Children in Schools in Auckland