Oct 13, 2015 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While learning about the history, culture, and academic offerings of potential study abroad destinations can yield valuable insights into whether a particular country or program is right for you, it’s impossible to truly visualize what life will be like until you arrive. That is, until now -- at least for New Zealand-bound students, who now have access to a uniquely compelling perspective in the form of a new photography book portraying life at the country’s multi-campus Massey University.


Introducing Reflections

Sponsored by the International Student Support Office, the 100-page Reflections features rural and urban scenes from what is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful countries, as well as snapshots of on campus life. This stunning coffee table tome aims to capture and convey the unique cultural and academic experiences of Credit: Massey UniversityNew Zealand Development scholarships students from Indonesia, Laos  Tanzania,  Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and a handful of additional Pacific Island nations.

A special ceremony was held on Massey’s Manawatū campus in August, during which Guatemalan photographer and project coordinator Edgar Eduardo Sacayon presented the book to the school’s Vice Chancellor, Steve Maharey. An additional 200 copies were destined for embassies and consulates of countries included in the New Zealand Development Scholarships scheme.


By Students For Students

Sacayon had a personal interest in undertaking the book, having arrived in New Zealand to do a Master of Environmental Management with no understanding of what life in New Zealand would be like. Expecting “lots of big highways, big buildings and infrastructure,” he was instead struck by the “overriding impression that New Zealanders value wellbeing over highly developed infrastructure.” 

Today, he cites learning about the Maori culture, and visits to Fiordland National Park and Tongariro Crossing as favorite parts of his international study experience in New Zealand.

Sacayon is joined by the International Student Support Office and New Zealand Development in hoping that the book will inspire and influence more international students to consider New Zealand.  He has said, “The difference is this book is made by students, for students. New Zealand is so far away and it’s hard to get here. It’s not on our radar and we don't see a lot of tourism advertising about it.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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