The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMU-K), with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program 2015 - a collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, TAMU-K and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand in July of 2015, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand. You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Hoggies NZ Slideshow

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Train Ride Through Middle Earth

On Sunday, we stepped out of our comfort zone and left Dunedin and took the world famous Taieri Gorge Train (built in the 1880s) to Middlemarch.  Our tour started at 9:30 in the morning and did not end until 3:30 in the afternoon. The train departed out of the scenic and historical Dunedin train station. We had an entire carriage to ourselves! The ride was 2 1/2 hours to the village of Middlemarch, an hour to explore the village, and another 2 1/2 hours back to Dunedin. The tour was gorgeous and showcased the diversity and the physical magnificence of the Otago region. From towering pines to large rocky plains, we rode through areas where the Lord of the Rings films were partly shot! This trip was something we were so happy to be a part of. Some students even chose to brave the bitter cold in hopes of snapping pictures of the amazing outdoors. At Middlemarch, a few of us took a tour of the village on a horse-drawn carriage. The village was quaint and cradled by snow-capped mountains, just beautiful. After the carriage ride, we met in tiny cafĂ© where we sampled traditional New Zealand food like pot pies and hot teas. Our time in Middlemarch went by quite rapidly, and before we knew it, we were back on the train and on our way back to Dunedin. The sights we saw are indescribable, they have to be seen to be believed, and we did!

-Clarrisa A.

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