MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2015
New Years in Myanmar a unique opportunity for Auckland students
Two University of Auckland Psychology students are trading in their summer break for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to
teach in Myanmar.
Lucy Cowie, 22 from Ardmore, and Alexandra Bijl-Brown 21, from Mt Eden, have been selected for a three week teaching
internship to Dagon University in Myanmar.
They will teach Introductory Psychology to fellow undergraduates. Departing for Myanmar on 26 December, they will join
two students from the University of Hong Kong also taking part in the scheme.
“The benefits of this type of teaching arrangement are high for both sides,” says Professor William Hayward, Head of the
School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. “Students from South East Asia welcome the chance to learn from
world-class undergraduates from Hong Kong and New Zealand, and likewise the journey offers rich learning experiences for
Alexandra, who is the final year of a conjoint Science and Health Sciences degree, has previously volunteered at a
Cambodian orphanage, and in New Zealand with children from difficult backgrounds.
“I am also hugely interested in global health and the related politics, so Myanmar, as a developing country, is
incredibly interesting to me, and I believe the best way to understand a country is to spend time there,” she says.
Lucy, an honours student and part-time tutor in the Psychology Department, hopes the unique experience of travelling to
Myanmar will enrich her teaching and research skills. Lucy is involved in the 20 year New Zealand Attitudes and Values
Study (NZAVS) of social attitudes, personality and health outcomes.
“Teaching in Myanmar will be a unique experience and as a budding researcher, it’s an incredible opportunity to apply
the skills I have learnt in Psychology to a situation which has practical implications for both myself and the people I
am working with,” she says.
Notes to editors:
Dagon is the largest and one of the newest universities in Myanmar, established in 1993.
The students each receive NZ$3000 in support to cover most living and travelling expenses.