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Cook Islands 2011


The Rarotonga Internship Trip - May 2011

In May 2011 Professor Jon Jonassen headed a delegation of 10 student interns to Rarotonga. The trip marks the Political Science Department's third such internship trip to the Cook Islands and stands as its most successful venture yet. Students seeking inclusion were encouraged to enroll in a special Political Science course featuring Cook Islands culture taught by James Stiefvater during Winter Semester. Those who passed the screening process and cleared the BYUH Career Services Office then signed up for three courses taught during Spring Term, including Political Futures and Cook Island Politics. Early instruction prepared the students with protocols and cultural capabilities, including local dialect chants and songs, to smooth relations and cultural exchanges.

Arriving on May 2, the interns began work immediately at their assignments during the day and then studying for classes at night. Offices that received BYUH interns included the Office of the Prime Minister, The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Opposition Party), the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Marine Resources, the Ministry of Tourism, and others. Employing their best communicating and analytical skills our BYUH students wrote reports, offered assessments, and contributed ideas to their respective offices. One student even got to accompany the Prime Minister to the outer island of Mauke.

Traveling and interacting with local Rarotongan offices and sites as a group, our students very quickly attracted attention. They were even featured on the local news. The students visited with local LDS and other Christian congregations and participated in firesides and Church services, stimulating local missionaries to take advantage. The group was even invited to visit the High Commissioner's home for a special family event.

By the end of the trip our students had made a positive impression. Two were offered immediate employment for their efforts and resolve to return after graduation. At the same time, the graciousness and hospitality of the wonderful Cook Island people impacted our group as well. All brought back exceptional insights and new appreciation for life in the world of island government.

Participants

Brian Dawson
Kulani Elliot
Michael Gilger
Seong-A Jo
Hironui Johnston
Melody Jonassen
Pulei Kafoa
Alysha May
Rocky L. Siufanua
Lanea Snow

Other Completed Trips

The Rarotonga Internship Trip - 2011
The Washington DC Practicum - 2010
The Bali Assessment Visit - 2010
The Washington DC Practicum - 2008
The Washington DC Practicum - 2007