Global Engagement > About > News & Reports > New Zealand: Creating New Worlds on Film

New Zealand: Creating New Worlds on Film

New Zealand: Creating New Worlds on Film is a short-term study abroad program which offers a unique experiential learning opportunity to study world-building in cinema. Led by dedicated faculty members in the School for Cinematic Arts, Rob Steel, Wendy Roderweiss, Josh Jones, and Brad Riddell, the program successfully concluded its inaugural run this past December with 46 students traveling to Auckland for 12 days to observe the filmmaking industry in action.

Mark in New Zealand

The program’s curriculum integrated academic learning with hands-on experiences, guiding students through the jaw-dropping landscapes, diverse cultures, rich history, and iconic landmarks of New Zealand. Program highlights included visits to Hobbiton, encounters with majestic whales in coastal waters, exploration of the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, participation in a moving Māori cultural event, and moments of reflection on the pristine shores of Piha Beach. During their time abroad, students also had the opportunity to engage with industry professionals such as the head of the New Zealand Film Office and a VFX specialist from WETA, which helped demonstrate the real-world applications of their academic course content. 

As the program concluded, students’ enthusiasm for the experience was reflected in their feedback:

“I felt I was never going to be able to do study abroad and had no interest in LA Quarter. This trip was a first for me. I had never seen or been in the ocean, but this was a fantasy that came to life for me. Grateful for the new friends, new experiences, and that the US film industry is not the only thing out there. It’s not just LA, not just USA.”

“This was the first time I left the country, and I visited my top bucket list country. Now I want to go see everything everywhere.”

“This program reminded me of why I love storytelling. It motivated me to write again and to take a writing class.”

New Zealand: Creating New Worlds on Film will be offered again in December 2024. Interested students should apply by​​ May 1​