Our International Students

Over the past two or three years we have had some wonderful young people joining us through this program.

Here is information about some of these young people: 


Elin was with us for a month. Twenty three years old and from Norway, Elin worked five days a week at Tauranga RDA. She has a university degree in social work and specialised in child care. Elin is passionate about children and adolescents’ mental health. Previously Elin had worked in a mental health hospital in Norway with patients with affective and personality disorders.

“I came here mainly to learn more about the life skills program It was so rewarding to see those who struggle with low self-esteem and communication skills, develop and gain more and more confidence and joy during the sessions and become more independent and self-assured.
I will truly miss the charming moaning about how cold the winter is – all of you should visit Norway, and I am sure you will appreciate the fabulous climate New Zealand has to offer. I am already looking forward to coming back to visit!”
Elin Marie Hansen. 


Martina was from Austria and stayed with us for six weeks.
Martina was a kindergarten teacher from Austria.
It had been a big dream of hers to learn more about working with horses and children challenged by disability or hyperactive and socially maladjusted children.
Martina is a rider and has experiences with horses. 


Joy worked with us five days a week for more than two months. Joy was a marvelous asset to Tauranga RDA. Her area of study is the benefit of animal assisted therapy.
For practical purposes her study at Georgian College, Orillia in Ontario, Canada has primarily focused on the interaction between dogs and humans.
However Joy was keen to expand her studies into the riding therapy area and was granted professional development leave from Georgian College to do this.
One of Joy’s goals was for a volunteer placement to provide a hands-on experience with a therapeutic riding program to share with students in the classroom and to model volunteerism and life-long learning.
Georgian College has an interest in learning and teaching opportunities around the globe. 


AnneC as she likes to be called is from the Bordeaux area of France, she had a three month stay at RDA.
She has a business degree from Nantes University and is part of a program France has to take graduates from academia to the business world.
An element of that process is a requirement for three months volunteer work in an area that compliments their studies.
AnneC was a tremendous asset to RDA as she had extensive horse experience and worked closely with new horses introducing them to their role as equine therapists.


Da-Li came from China, with
a degree in Sport Therapy and volunteered at RDA for more than 6 months. He came with no horse experience but learned quickly on the job. He was amazing in his interaction with young disabled clients and In his spare time he also volunteered at Kaka Street Special School (now Tauranga Special School)


This young couple came to us from Germany and were here for more than four months. According to our volunteer coordinator, Angela O’Donnell, having them on the team was like having two full-time staff members. Caroline had extensive horse experience and Marcel had none although in no time at all he was able to work very capably with our horses. Both were amazing with our riders, very empathetic and able to handle all situations. Caroline not only worked with us but also volunteered at Homes of Hope in the play therapy area.

Come along for the ride! Give us a call on
07 544 1899

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