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US volunteers loving time in Raro classes

Thursday 27 September 2018 | Written by Jaimie Keay | Published in Education


US volunteers loving time in Raro classes
A former member of the FBI Lana Tester is currently helping Tereora College as part of the Global Volunteers programme. 18092505

Two Global Volunteers are currently spending time in class with students from Tereora College.

Tim Cunniff and Lana Tester, who both hail from the United States of America, are taking part in a two-week stay, helping students across a number of subjects.

Cunniff is spending time in the English and Maths department while Tester is also helping the English department and in Biology classes.

A well-travelled veteran of the Global Volunteers programme, Cunniff first joined in 1998 and said the Cook Islands was always on his list of countries to visit.

“My knowledge of the Cook Islands was limited before I arrived, but it certainly lives up to expectations.

“Myself and Lana travelled to Aitutaki for a two-day visit and the water there is simply the most amazing combination of blues it’s quite breath-taking. The ocean contrasts nicely with the variety of green you see with the mountains here in Rarotonga.”

Both are taking on a teachers-aide role at Tereora and Tester said the students were a delight to interact with.

“I have really enjoyed helping the students here, particularly with their remedial reading.”

Tester, who was a marine biologist before changing careers and joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand, Bali, Nepal and Mongolia.

After 18 trips as a Global Volunteer, Cunniff said the biggest take away for him was about perception.

“I love spending time in a community and challenging not only my perception of where I am staying but also challenging people’s perception of the US, which is certainly something that is very relevant to our current political landscape.”

One of the biggest drawcards about visiting the Cook Islands for Cunniff was the direct flight available between Rarotonga and Los Angeles, which he said no doubt he will be using to come back in the near future.