Being a part of and building community is one of Simply Earth's top values. Making that happen can be a tricky task - it requires talking to people (terrifying for me), doing things with people (I love going but hate planning social events), and working to make relationships endure. My New Year's resolution is to become better a small talk, one of the first steps in building relationships.
A few years ago I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand. I spent 3 months living in the most beautiful country in the world. I was never nervous about going because even though I didn't really know what I was getting into, I knew that there was no way it was going to be anything besides awesome. I was 100% right. I went snorkeling almost every weekend, saw penguins, tramped beautiful mountains, but most of all I was a part of an incredible community. Here's a tiny glimpse into some of my favorite moments.
One of the people behind the scenes in making these wonderful moments happen for me and students semester after semester is Courtnay Wilson (aka dolphin whisperer). Courtnay is the program director for Creation Care Study Program New Zealand. I interviewed her to find out more about how she helps enable moments like the ones captured above happen. Here's the interview
What is your favorite part of living in New Zealand?
How would you briefly describe your job?
I’m the Program Director for a study abroad program called Creation Care Study Program (CCSP). CCSP is an interdisciplinary program focused on living well in the place where you find yourself. “Living well” encompasses all sorts of things…knowing where your food and water come from; getting to know the natural and human history of a place; being a good neighbor; learning to do for things for yourself so you’re not as reliant on an extractive global economy. All the courses students take here—Theology, Sustainable Community Development, Environmental Literature, and NZ Ecosystems—endeavor to help students live more authentically in their place.
What is your favorite part of your position?
I love a job that feels more like a way of life. Every day I get to be doing things that are life-giving for me…whether it’s having a cuppa with a student, helping in the garden, taking students out kayaking, or sitting in on a lecture. The line between work and life is blurred at times but that can be a beautiful thing.
What are the starting steps of building a community among students studying at the Old Convent?
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"The most amazing woman ever" says Co-founder of Simply Earth (her husband). Katie loves to write, think deep, but more so have fun and love others in fun ways. You can read her own personal blog at lovebigtraveloften.com.
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