We traveled, by bus, southeast to the college town of Dunedin in New Zealand.
This small city has a population of 116,000 and 22,000 college and post graduate students.
This is as far south as we will travel in southern New Zealand and it is located only 2,400 miles north of Antarctica. This is the second time I get close to Antactica. Trini and I were 200 miles closer when we were in Punta Arenas, Chile. I hear the calling of visiting the continent that hosts the South Pole and eventually we will travel there. It's amazing to think that Antarctica was once a lush jungle area.
Our hotel in Dunedin was in the downtown area and it provided us with the opportunity to walk around the main street and surrounding area.
On location we walked by was a large local brewery. What caught our attention was that there was a small group of persons lining up with plastic containers outside the brewery building. There was a faucet on one of their building walls. Persons were in line filling their containers from that one faucet. Apparently the brewery processes and filters their water and it is made available to the public for free. There was a donation box available and the funds collected are donated to local charities.
A man in line shared with us that the year before a newspaper article appeared that on one day a year that the brewery was going to give away free beer to the public through this faucet. Consequently, on that one day, there was a huge line that was several blocks long. Persons waiting were each carrying big plastic containers. Unfortunately persons failed to read the article carefully and come to understand that it was being offered for April 1st. I wondered how many persons in line were local college students considering that the legal drinking age, in New Zealand and Australia, is 18 years of age.
As a former educator, I was curios to learn about their education system which I had read was categorized as one of the top ten in the world.
High school students, regardless of attending private or public schools, wear uniforms. Several of their high schools are primarily female or male enrollment. I understood that they are currently having issues with cyber bullying. I did research and found that they are deeply concern about declining student scores primarily in math and sciences. What I did find about their response to the issue was their candidness to declare that they are faltering in teaching the basic skills at the primarily level and the deficiency was showing up in the higher grades. I totally agree with their findings and our own education system will improve as we make sure our students can read at grade level.
The New Zealand post secondary public school system offers admission to their poly technical colleges where they can get their "hands-on" education. They offer bachelor and higher degrees. This is an educational system I'm familiar with since I grew up in Mexico and it was also offered there. Here in California, students can attend a community college, for example the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, and students unfortunately have to transfer to a 4-year campus in order to obtain their degree. In New Zealand, they can stay on one campus and obtain their certification and bachelors degrees. I vote for the idea that students going after an engineering degree, or others technical majors, are getting hands-on field experience in addition to classroom participation.
We had time to walk through the main area of town but we soon realized that the majority of the stores begin to close by 5:00 pm.
As we returned to our hotel we went to their pub and continued to talk with the locals to explain to us the rules of rugby and Australian football. I love it that everyone in the pub come together to educate us "foreigners". As the evening progressed more and more persons joined the discussion. After a while it got chaotic and loud. As usual we were no closer to understanding than when we started asking but the great thing was that we met the locals and exchanged ideas and jokes. It was a lively and wonderful evening. There was a lot of laughter that evening.
The plan for the next day was to leave Dunedin to travel north and visit the town of Fairly where four of were going to visit and lodge for one evening on a working lamb farm.