I put up a post a few weeks ago about the double disaster to hit Queensland. First a devastating flood and then a tropical cyclone of all things! Well things haven’t let up for the southern hemisphere. On the 22 of February a massive and devastating earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand the largest city on the south island with a population of 376,000, breaking the city in half.
This disaster has left Australians and New Zealanders alike shocked at the enormity of the destruction. I include Australians generally because, for better or worse, Australians look at New Zealanders the same way Americans look at Canadians or the English look at the Scots and the Welsh I guess. Its not a paternalistic thing but it feels like a younger sibling perhaps.
Anyway, I’m not trying to sound patronising, I’m trying to explain a deeply felt connection.
The reason I bring this all up is because the University of Canterbury, located in Christchurch, was partially destroyed in the earthquake. This has all happened just outside the start of the new university year putting all of its students in disarray.
This week Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor at my university, the University of Adelaide extended an amazing offer to Canterbury. He has offered the uni to first and second year students looking at studying Arts, Science, Commerce and Marketing.
The offer was extended to take on “at least 500 students” and its expected a sizeable proportion will be science students.
With my new position as an Assistant Lecturer for first year biology courses and the associated teaching load there is a good chance I will see at least some of these students.
I would like to say here a big welcome to the exchange students from Canterbury and offer any assistance I can. If I can help out at all with your studies, please just let me know.
This is a great opportunity for Christchurch and Adelaide, University of Canterbury and University of Adelaide, to strengthen ties and develop a real community between the two institutions.
If you know an exchanging student or are one yourself and are studying first year biology please feel free to contact me at james dot byrne at adelaide dot edu dot au for any academic assistance you may require during this transitional period.