Australia and New Zealand: Connecting Communities, Sharing Cultures

2009 Heiskell Award Winner: Study Abroad at the Community College

Nomination submitted by: Therese Tendick, Director, International Education Programs; Jen Sydow, Education Abroad Advisor

Program Overview 
The only public community college in the country located on land leased from Native Americans, Scottsdale Community College (SCC) demonstrates its commitment to maintaining a special relationship with this community through its Australia and New Zealand Education Abroad Program. Since 2004, this program has connected over 40 SCC students (half of whom have been Native Americans, from at least five different tribes) with communities of indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand.

This program simultaneously introduces students to Maori and Aboriginal culture while fostering increased understanding of Native American culture in the United States. Discussing issues such as racism, water and land rights, sacred site protection, and rural-to-urban transitional living, students gain new appreciation for their own communities while gaining an understand of indigenous cultures worldwide. “By focusing on learning objectives that include connecting our own communities as well as those overseas, this unique education abroad program has strengthened our partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopia Indian Community” says Jan L. Gehler, President of SCC.

Tailored to the demographics of the SCC community, targeting a population and subject matter traditionally underrepresented in study abroad and fostering relations with the local Native American community, this program serves as an exemplary model for study abroad at the community college.

Learn more about the nomination and program objectives