Fun-filled Orientation Week Prepares OUWB Class of 2026

After a stormy week of orientation, the OUWB class of 2026 is set to land when classes begin on Monday.

The busy week of the school’s newest group of students began on Sunday and concluded on Friday, when the highlight of the day was a visit to the TreeRunner Adventure Park on the University of Auckland campus for team building and bonding.

It was a week of preparation in between the two days, where students were introduced to all sections of the school, including the faculty meeting, learned details about its curriculum and programs such as PRISM and Embark, a full day dedicated to diversity and equity, inclusion and more.

“Orientation week for the class of 2026 went very well,” said Berkeley Brown, PhD, associate dean, student affairs.

Brown said she was particularly pleased with the topic that surfaced throughout the week.

“I was thrilled to see that nearly every speaker—from the White Coat party to PRISM guides to the variety of session presenters during the week—confirmed that we want them to approach their medical school education in a way that allows them to choose, collaborate, collaborate, and empathize with one another over the competition.” .

Jamie Fassel, Student Affairs Coordinator, Student Activities and Events, saw the impact firsthand.

“As the week progressed, it was fun to watch her go from being really quiet to being very, very gossip,” she said.

it’s a wonderful feeling

Photo of OUWB student team building
Students participated in team building activities on Friday.

On Friday the students were relaxed as the week ended.

There were three essential elements: visit the TreeRunner; An introduction to the Art and Practice of Medicine (APM) course; He had lunch with the current Executive Board of Medical Students Government (MSG).

At TreeRunner, students are divided into two groups – one that focuses on team building and one that focuses on climbing and continuing into the actual course. After a while, they switched areas of focus.

Team building activities allowed students to communicate with each other in unique ways such as crossing three platforms using only two wooden planks, lifting one hoop in unison without holding it, and aligning themselves on a rope in alphabetical order without speaking and only by being able to stomp on the rope.

Brown said the activities at TreeRunner were “a great way to reinforce everything the different presenters throughout the week tried to show them.”

Arwaj Imran said she feels that an activity like this helps people to get out of their comfort zone and meet new people.

“With an activity like this, you have to bond with the teams because if you leave someone behind, they are obviously going to be left behind,” she said.

“Working together really helps each other bond and learn how to work together.”

Students were happy to include an activity like this in orientation week.

“I think it’s a great feeling to have a common experience. We’ll be participating in these group activities so we can get to know each other a little bit more,” Max Kwang said.

“I don’t know of a lot of medical schools that would probably do something like this, but the fact that Auckland does, it’s pretty cool,” he added.

Friday also saw students learn more about OUWB’s APM course from its principals. They also learned more about the Unified Patient Program at OUWB.

In the middle of the day, the students had lunch and learned more about how to participate in student government from Current Government Executive Board for Medical Students at OUWB: Suhani Gupta, Chair; Natalie Salman, Vice President. Verna Halim, Treasurer, and Kristen Sarsfield, Secretary.

“One of our goals as MSG’s executive board has been to build a truly cohesive relationship with upcoming M1s as well as VIPs,” said Gupta. “These are going to be people we’re rotating with and we hope to work with in the future, so we really want to let them know we’re here for them in whatever capacity they might need us in.”

Many of the new students had questions for board members on a variety of topics.

“I remember being at their place a year ago and feeling really nervous and confused,” Gupta said. “I’m glad so many of them have had the courage to ask us what’s on their minds.”

‘Really excited’

The week started with an event called ‘Sundays on Sundays’.

Students checked in at OUWB for the first time. They picked up laptops, tablets, and locker assignments, filled out necessary paperwork, participated in a student organizing fair, and even enjoyed eating ice cream. Students also had the opportunity to tour the campus.

Students like Felicia Fong generally expressed feelings of excitement and tension.

“I’ve been working on this for a decade,” she said. “I’m really excited to meet everyone and start learning.”

“When I was looking at the schools, it looked like service-focused schools and this was one of them,” said Jashan Khaira. “All of the free clinics they have and then volunteering is a huge part of the medical students…so that aligns with my goals.”

Doria Morante completed her undergraduate studies at the Open University.

“I am very familiar with the campus and everything,” she said. “So OUWB was my first choice, and I’m glad to be here now.”

Hon Oh said he was “looking forward to meeting new people, new colleagues, and just getting started.”

Focus on improvement

On Monday, Duane Mizua, MD, Stephen Sheriff Dean, OUWB, welcomed all.

Share personal details about his upbringing, family, interests, hobbies, and career.

“I at least wanted to give you some insight into who I am as dean, where I come from, and more specifically where you sit in your seats, and how I became the dean,” said Mizua.

“And for some of you, they might make the same journey. Part of my message to you today is that you have absolutely no idea where this career will take you.”

Students generally expressed their feelings of admiration.

“I think I made the right decision. He looks really good Dean,” said Erica Corka. “He is very elegant, very sociable, and very friendly.”

“It sounds more humorous than I thought it would be, I thought he’d be very serious, but his introduction and his talk were great,” said Forrest Buehler.

After Mezwa, the Student Affairs Department of OUWB took center stage

The session was led by Jennifer Root, Ed, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Career Development, Vasel and introduced the entire team to the students.

Present their mission and the guidelines they follow in order to give students the best chance of success.

“Our focus is really on improving you. We want to make sure that every one of you has a successful time here during your four years,” said Root. “We see you as junior colleagues in training and want to support this professional aspect of where you will go next in your career.”

Monday noon is dedicated to the 2022 White Coats Gala at OUWB. (You can read more about the ceremony here.)

On Tuesday, the students spent most of the day immersed in diversity, equality, and inclusion. (You can read more about the day here.)

Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally reserved for students who meet with faculty and learn about OUWB’s curriculum, including courses such as Anatomical Foundations of Clinical Practice (AFCP), medical humanities, clinical bioethics (MHCB), and health promotion and preservation (PMH).

Students also learned more about OUWB programs such as PRISM and Embark.

New for 2022 was a session led by Root and LaTina Jackson, Senior Adviser to the College of Medicine, which showed students how to implement and integrate all the information, resources, expectations and support they were offered this week.

Among other things, the session allowed students to develop an individual schedule and obtain real-time feedback from OUWB’s academic support team as well as identify learning resources that might be best suited to each of their needs.

“I am grateful that we took the time this year to focus some attention on implementation, and I look forward to seeing how the information from this new session helps our students transition more smoothly into their courses next week,” Brown said.

By the end of the week, the students said they were looking forward to experiencing OUWB even more.

“Everyone here is so nice and welcoming,” said Nathan Huang. “I appreciate how kind the professors are… and love how we have access to so many resources to achieve success.”

“I can really feel the sense of community among the medical students, and we’ve only known each other a few days,” Brody Dams said.

“The guidance was very helpful,” said Wissam Al-Masry. “I got a good glimpse of what to expect as I progressed into OUWB.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, Marketing Writer, OUWB, at

To request an interview, visit OUWB Communications & Marketing web page.

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