It's not everyday that you move your life half way around the world and immerse yourself in a completely different culture, but that's exactly what 21-year-old Michigan State University student Kora Nixon has done.
In addition to completing her Bachelor of Science degree at Waikato University Ms Nixon has been enrolled in The School of Māori and Pacific Development taking Tikanga Māori papers and Taonga Pūoro papers.
Tikanga Māori lecturer at Waikato University Pania Melbourne says Kora has a real commitment to Māori culture at Waikato University.
"I hope that Kora takes back a bit of Māori culture to the states when she returns home," says Melbourne.
Ms Nixon is here for a short time but hopes she can learn as much as she can before her time at Waikato University is over.
Kora Nixon says, " I'm not taking anything for granted and I'm soaking it all up like a sponge."
Our reporter Wepiha Te Kanawa will have more on this story.
You can watch Te Kāea tonight on 5:30pm for the extended interview with Kora Nixon.