Elizabeth Weinberg is an International Student Advisor for Victoria International at VUW. Her role as International Student Advisor works to support international students from all over the world who choose to study at VUW. Elizabeth is originally from Iowa and now resides in Wellington, New Zealand.
What is your favorite travel memory?
There are so many! I guess if I have to pick, I would say the entirety of my study abroad experience to Edinburgh, Scotland. It wasn’t my first time abroad but at that point in my life, it was my first solo journey and my longest.
It challenged the notion that my life was limited to certain advances, and it transformed the direction of my vocational pursuits. The lifelong friendships I built, the weekends exploring and rambling down ancient streets were just the icing on the cake.
The growth this experience gave me couldn’t have been fostered by staying within Iowa or the US; stepping out was easily the greatest decision of my life.
What do you enjoy most about working with students/participants?
I enjoy making students aware of the support services that are available to them at the university while they are studying. I am passionate about getting them excited about the resources and services we offer to help them succeed, not just academically, but personally and culturally as well. This might mean joining a club, getting involved in the cross-cultural communication course or the international buddy program (IBP). I want students to have the most holistic university experience they can while studying.
I also enjoy the opportunity I have myself to learn about the diversity, similarities and differences students bring with them when they come to New Zealand.
I also think being a part of a collaborative team that is passionate about understanding students and providing a transformative student experience is key to making a positive impact.
If you could participate in any program offered what would it be and why? Or, what makes your programs unique?
Definitely the International Buddy Program. It connects new international students with current students in order to form cross-cultural friendships and helps new students integrate more easily into the University and Kiwi culture. The Buddy Program organizes a lot of free events throughout the year, like movie nights, potluck dinners and quiz events.
Another must, is the Victoria International Leadership Program (VILP). The VILP is a free, extracurricular program which gives ALL students opportunities to critically engage with global issues and the challenges that surround our globalizing world. Lucky for me, in my previous role, I got to attend many of the events the VILP promotes and organizes. It is also a great way to meet other students.
What is your dream travel destination and why?
There are so many dream places left to explore, but next year I am planning to travel to Japan and throughout South Korea. These two places have always interested me as I have yet to explore any Asian countries, and the people, culture and history, inspire me to learn more.