Kandyce Anderson from Indianapolis, Indiana used her 2016 Fulbright US Graduate Award to complete a Post-Graduate Diploma in Global Education, focusing on theoretical underpinnings of kaupapa Māori theory at the University of Waikato. Kandyce graduated with a BA from DePauw University in 2015.
There are no words to describe how this exchange in Hamilton, New Zealand has transformed my life. Since arriving in January, I have been doing independent cultural research through a PostGraduate Diploma of Education. My life consisted of wrapping my head around educational theory, philosophy, and literature during the week – completing essays, literature reviews, and reflections. Then on the weekends, realising that I needed to get out, I went on day hikes and trips.
The biggest challenge, I believe, was the independence and discipline needed to go to my office every day and set plans for myself. My work was equally reflective as it was theoretical and most of what I produced could not have been directed by my supervisors. That being said, I enjoyed the opportunity to explore my own interests in a way I would have never been able to without Fulbright. Personally, my ability to adapt to unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable situations has immensely increased. I learned how to depend on my own inner strength and confidence to motivate me and my work. The close connections I’ve made thus far supported and carried me through my time here. My friends are from all over: Tonga, New Zealand, India, and Nigeria. I recommend to anyone who does this exchange that they do not devalue the friends and mentors you find on this journey.
Because of my work studying indigenous rights and history, I have found a new understanding of cultural difference and respect towards others. I plan to advocate for the political equality of all people of colour in the United States. I will take my passion to encourage the embracing of cultural difference towards the platform of Doctoral Studies in Multicultural Education.