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Tara Padgett: A Cultural Leap that Won’t Be Forgotten

A Spring Term class in New Zealand was an opportunity Tara Padgett couldn’t miss. “I learned a new culture and was able to practice a new way of living, both which helped me grow personally and professionally,” she says.

<em>Tara Padgett, second from left, in New Zealand.</em>Tara Padgett, second from left, in New Zealand.It was always Tara Padgett’s dream to travel the world and study abroad.

When she learned about Alma College’s Venture program, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t miss. Padgett, a finance major from Freeland, applied her Venture grant to her Spring Term class in New Zealand — a trip that allows each student to focus on his or her individualized interests during their time abroad.

Prior to the class, Padgett learned about business marketing strategies and how they affect the local economy. With research completed before the trip, she felt prepared and ready to travel and experience the culture of an entirely new place. She knew that study abroad would provide her with both a good challenge and a great adventure.

“Learning marketing principles of how businesses operate in another country will give me a big advantage as I look to develop beyond Alma College,” says Padgett. “My Spring Term opened my eyes to the possibility of enrolling in a master’s degree program at the University of Otago, where I received a campus tour.”

The Spring Term to New Zealand keeps Scots busy as they travel to new environments and meet new people. One of Padgett’s favorite experiences was getting to know some local residents during a farm stay.

“My Kiwi Family Farm Stay was one of the many highlights,” says Padgett. “My host family was so welcoming and made me feel right at home.”

As for the entertaining adventures?

“Going bungee jumping at The Ledge in Queenstown is something I will never forget,” says Padgett. “We also got to go black water rafting, which was just as cool.”
Learning about the historical culture while developing lifelong relationships through her Alma Venture experience to New Zealand was fascinating for Padgett, and she plans to stay plugged into what’s going on there even from afar.

<em>Tara Padgett</em>Tara Padgett“New Zealand allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and experience things I never knew were possible,” says Padgett. “I learned a new culture and was able to practice a new way of living, both which helped me grow personally and professionally.”

She advises all Alma students to apply for the Venture grant.

“These trips give you real world experiences that you can’t find anywhere else,” she says. “Having an opportunity to venture to the scenic islands of New Zealand is something I’ll never forget.”

Watch Tara’s Venture video.

Story published on February 16, 2017