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From Whangaparaoa to Colombia
As a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Latin America (PMSLA), Eve Bain, 23, is undertaking a two-semester exchange in Colombia to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree.
After finishing her LLB (Hons) at Victoria University of Wellington, Eve headed to Medellín, Colombia in January to study Political Science at Universidad EAFIT.
“I really wanted to immerse myself in a completely different culture and become fluent in Spanish,” she said.
“EAFIT is an extremely modern and impressive university and a lovely place to study. It’s been fascinating to study political science during the peace process in Colombia, and to talk to Colombians about their perspectives on the process too.”
Eve says some of the biggest differences in education between the two countries are the structure of classes at the university.
“Here there are no lectures. It’s more like college, with classes of 25 to 30 students. There are a lot of group projects and small quizzes, whereas at university in New Zealand you have two or three big independent assignments.”
Eve recently obtained the EAFIT Language Centre’s ‘scholarship to share culture and language,’ which will enable her to take Spanish-language classes while teaching English to children each week, using New Zealand culture and history as a platform.
“People often don’t know a lot about New Zealand but they know Lord of the Rings was filmed there and that our country is beautiful.
“I plan to bake Anzac cookies with them, and teach them some Kiwi slang, rugby and kapa haka!”
Eve describes the Colombian culture as vibrant and rich, and says the people are some of the friendliest she has met.
“It’s also been great to connect with Kiwis here through the scholarship – I even had dinner with New Zealand’s Ambassador to Chile and New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner for South America last month.”
Eve in San Agustin, where she “had the trip of a lifetime” doing a 6-day horse trek through the rain forest (despite no previous horse riding experience).
Eve is about to start her second semester of study before returning to New Zealand in December. She said so far she’s had nothing but positive experiences.
“I am really proud of my progress so far – I have improved my Spanish so much now that I am fairly fluent, and I have learned a lot about the history and culture of Colombia, and the region more generally.”
“I am also gaining skills that will be valuable for New Zealand in the future, particularly for my future goals of diplomacy and international dispute settlement.”
“My experience here would not have been possible without the PMSLA.”
Education Tauranga makes first Japan visit
The delegation of 20 education providers ranged from primary school to tertiary, and were keen to establish new connections in Japan.
The three-day programme kicked off with a presentation on the Japan market by ENZ’s Misa Kitaoka. This was followed by visits by most delegates to four primary schools, arranged by the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education and the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The primary school visits provided an excellent opportunity to introduce the Bay of Plenty region including its Maori language and culture as well as the primary school experience available in Tauranga,” says Misa.
On the last day, ENZ and Education Tauranga co-hosted an agent seminar and networking reception for about 40 travel and education agents looking for new partners in the Bay of Plenty region.
Misa said the reception coincided with a visit by the director of the Maibara Board of Education in Shiga Prefecture. Maibara is a city set to act as a ‘host town’ for New Zealand while taking part in the Japanese government’s promotion of exchanges between local municipalities and nations participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
“The event provided a good opportunity for Tauranga and Maibara to explore future collaboration combining education and sports,” Misa said.
Misa said that, in Japan, destination marketing plays a key role when agents, students and families are choosing an overseas study destination.
“Visits by regional delegations are a good marketing practice because they combine the promotion of a region and the providers within the region.
“ENZ can provide in-market assistance by hosting an event at the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo and in other cities to gather a group of Japanese agents and educators, resulting in a wider outreach to industry partners and stakeholders,” said Misa.
She added that the City of Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture, another host town for New Zealand, will shortly start a programme to send high school students to Otago Polytechnic.
With the new opportunities lying ahead of Japan's major sporting games in 2020, Anne Young from Education Tauranga reported that "many new agent relationships were established” at the reception.
ENZ had been an excellent conduit for building and increasing market opportunities between Education Tauranga and Japan, Anne said.
English New Zealand 2017 Conference success
Held in Auckland, “The Future Face of ELT in New Zealand” featured presentations on all aspects of best practice in the ELT environment: the academic and teaching context, assessment, marketing, management and pastoral care.
Sahinde Pala, ENZ’s Business Development Manager, said the event had something insightful for everyone across the sector.
“The programme was well designed to cater to the various English language professionals who attended, and the line-up of presenters was impressive,” said Sahinde.
“It was particularly motivational to hear ACG’s Marnie Watson endorse collaborative marketing to ensure the profile of New Zealand’s quality reputation is raised even further.”
Also joining the conference was an English New Zealand famil group of study abroad agency representatives from Spain, Italy and France.
Kim Renner, English New Zealand’s Executive Director said as well as visiting member schools around New Zealand, the representatives appreciated the chance to network and give a market presentation to conference delegates.
“Visiting New Zealand in person to see what we offer is invaluable to them,” said Kim.
“They provided insights around the use of social media and not underestimating the important role study abroad agencies play in assisting students with their study abroad choices and planning.”
The conference was organised by English New Zealand, with the support of ENZ, Cambridge Assessment English and the Auckland Institute of Studies.
Before the conference, English New Zealand hosted the QALEN Symposium, a forum for representatives of ELT global quality assurance bodies, some of whom stayed on to participate in the conference.
Enhancing diversity in the student experience
A number of education and diversity-related professionals from around the world attended GIIL, including a cohort of 11 visiting US professionals from international education, student affairs, education abroad, faculty development, and diversity and social justice programmes.
At the conference, delegates had the chance to network and gain skills and resources to better support diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus.
Hayley Shields, ENZ’s Director Student Experience, said the turnout at GIIL reflected the growing interest in diversity on Kiwi campuses.
“When it comes to the international education industry in New Zealand, we’ve tended to view diversity from a recruitment perspective as meaning market diversification,” said Hayley.
“However, New Zealand – and in particular, Auckland – is a very diverse society and sets a great example of inclusivity and openness to other international educators around the world.”
Hayley spoke at the panel on ‘Multi-sector perspectives on diversity and inclusion in New Zealand,’ alongside panellists from the University of Auckland, Auckland Council, Ministry of Education and Niesh, a student-run, student services enterprise.
Breakout group discussions focussed on diversity in the student experience, local and central government policies, and professional development opportunities for faculty, staff and students.
Hayley said with more than 220 recorded ethnic groups living in Auckland, and with the location of the conference at the University of Auckland’s Fale Pasifika, the setting helped emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion on New Zealand campuses.
GIIL was co-sponsored by ENZ and the University of Auckland, and coordinated through the Diversity Abroad network.
Export Education Levy projects from 2016/17
The levy is paid by education providers who enrol fee-paying international students in New Zealand.
“In 2003, the Government introduced the Export Education Levy to fund a wide range of development and risk management initiatives for the export education sector. This includes funding the Code of Practice which oversees the wellbeing of our international students while they are studying in New Zealand, as well as marketing, development, quality assurance and research for the sector,” says Belinda Himiona, Group Manager International Education, Ministry of Education.
Activities funded by the levy in 2016/17 include:
- Implementing the International Student Wellbeing Strategy
- supporting promotional activities in ENZ’s priority markets
- expanding the scope and regions in ENZ’s Regional Partnership Programme
Support for promotional activities in ENZ’s priority markets included digital marketing via the Study in New Zealand website, social media campaigns, fairs and events held overseas. It also supported in-bound agent visits and international media familiarisation visits to New Zealand.
Funding also went into expanding the scope of growth activities, and number of regions participating in ENZ’s Regional Partnership Programme, which works with international education providers, local government, regional economic development agencies and communities to encourage regional growth in international education.
Funding was also allocated to administering and monitoring the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. To support the implementation of the new Code of Practice, guidelines and other resources were developed and published on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s website. A letter of expectations was sent to all signatories advising them of the new Code of Practice and highlighting their responsibilities
Six months in Singapore
The campus at NTU is truly amazing and the facilities are something to behold. I enrolled in classes at Nanyang Business School (NBS) and the school of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). While there were a few language barriers initially, I learnt early on that I would need to speak slower – though at times my professors still struggled with my accent.
Outside of classes, I played hockey in the Singaporean National Hockey League, which enabled me to meet new people and stay healthy. I loved getting to know my teammates, although playing in the 40-degree heat with 100% humidity was torturous at times!
My biggest highlight abroad was taking part in FINEX, a financial competition crossed with the amazing race. I teamed up with two other exchange students to undertake finance-related challenges at locations throughout Singapore and we were fortunate enough to finish runners-up! The competition was a great introduction to Singapore and was an excellent opportunity to meet local students and learn more about the Lion City.
Singapore is a diverse, modern, multi-cultural hub of the ASEAN bloc and was an ideal place to become accustomed to Singaporean, Indonesian, Malay, Indian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese practices first-hand. I gained invaluable exposure to a diverse group of people while on exchange. I became close friends with my Chinese roommate and even learned Mandarin from him.
I travelled extensively throughout most of North and Southeast Asia, visiting friends and immersing myself in their different languages and cultures. Being able to experience these environments first-hand was incredible, and I developed a greater appreciation for a wide array of cultures, customs, traditions and etiquettes. It highlighted the need to be tolerant, patient and respectful of distinct ethnicities and their customs – traits that will prove invaluable for me going forward in both my personal and professional endeavours.
"While I learnt a lot about the places I travelled to while abroad, I also learnt a lot about myself."
I now feel more comfortable making connections with people from Asia as I have had the opportunity to develop extensive knowledge of the region. Trade and business prospects between New Zealand and ASEAN nations are extremely promising. However, my experience taught me that these economic relationships must be accompanied by education and an adequate understanding of the cultural dynamics underpinning them. It is so important to approach different cultures, traditions and practices with respect and an open mind. If we are able to do that, New Zealand’s relationship with Asian nations will grow remarkably.
While I learnt a lot about the places I travelled to while abroad, I also learnt a lot about myself. I feel my exchange made me more well-rounded and receptive to others and their ideas. I also feel more driven and motivated to get up each day and make a meaningful difference. My experiences abroad made me realise how fortunate we are in New Zealand and the extent to which we can both learn from and give back to our neighbours in Asia.
I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunities this award has presented me. The PMSA is a tremendous scheme and I am so appreciative for being given such a great head start.
US students arrive in New Zealand
Amy Rutherford, ENZ’s Director of Education, North America, said studying in New Zealand will be a life-changing experience for these students, and will hopefully create more Kiwi ambassadors in the US.
“We’re working hard in the US to raise the profile of New Zealand as a high-quality education destination, and authentic stories from students who have studied in New Zealand are a great way to do that,” said Amy.
“We also want to see a more diverse group of US students having overseas experiences, and these scholarships are an excellent first step.”
Taylor Weckstein, one of the recipients of the GSA Awards, is studying at the University of Otago. She chose New Zealand as a way to follow in her grandfather’s tracks – literally. After learning about the great hikes he did in New Zealand many years ago, she wanted to share the experience.
US student Josh Golden, the recipient of the Go Overseas New Zealand scholarship, has also begun his semester at the University of Canterbury. As a marine science major with biology and environmental science minors, he wants to explore the geography and wildlife of New Zealand.
“I am simultaneously excited and nervous. I expect to be mesmerized by New Zealand’s natural beauty and culture. I can’t wait to live as a Kiwi this semester!”
Gilman Scholar Angel Geller has also arrived in New Zealand. Her scholarship came from a partnership between ENZ and the US Department of State, which is aimed at diversifying the kinds of students studying internationally.
Angel will explore Māori culture and tribal politics at the University of Waikato and compare them with her experience growing up with UmonHon, her indigenous tribe in Nebraska.
“I did extensive research to find a host site with indigenous-relevant classes on topics from history to language. The University of Waikato has this, as well as resources on how to connect with community members, and a significant Māori student population who I will have as my peers,” said Angel.
New assets on the Brand Lab
Want to share scholarship information with your US partners? Visit the Brand Lab and search under "USA" and "Study Abroad" keywords to find two scholarship flyers and education and lifestyle PDFs designed for US students and advisors.
Share your student stories
Do you have interesting student stories or scholarship winners on your campus? ENZ is always looking for student profiles to share through our social and marketing platforms. Please contact Lucy Johnston, ENZ Senior Communications Advisor.
International students welcomed to the capital
More than 300 students from over 20 countries attended the official welcome to New Zealand’s coolest little capital last week.
The event was held at the Michael Fowler Centre and organised by WREDA (Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency).
Wellington City Mayor Justin Lester was on hand to give the students a warm welcome alongside current international student Khang (Kyle) Phan from Massey University.
The students learned about Kiwi culture through a series of interactive and fun activities. Students were introduced to Māori culture with a Kapa Haka performance from local Wellington group, Te Kapa Haka o Pukehuia. They also had a chance to cuddle puppies and bunnies with SPCA staff, learn juggling and tricks from the Circus Hub, try on police vests and hats and have a go at rugby alongside a few Hurricanes players.
As well as celebrating Kiwi culture, the event was a chance to celebrate students’ own cultural backgrounds. Many prizes were given out on the day including a free helicopter tour to the student who was judged best dressed in the traditional clothes of their home country.
Chloe Kincaid, WREDA Project Coordinator for the event said that international students are an important part of the Wellington community.
“Each year, thousands of international students find a second home in Wellington, bringing a rich cultural diversity to our schools and community,” said Chloe.
“This event is another way for Wellington to welcome and celebrate all of our wonderful international students.”
Owairoa Primary celebrates Chinese New Year
Owairoa’s Year 6 students met parents at the door with a Chinese New Year greeting (Xin nian kuai le). The parents then celebrated the Year of the Dog with party poppers, a Happy New Year song, a red velvet cake, and a film explaining the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.
Several international parents spoke at the event, sharing their experience of coming to New Zealand – particularly to Owairoa Primary.
Principal Alan McIntyre said the concept of tūrangawaewae (‘a place to stand’) is embedded in Owairoa Primary School, with its focus on creating an inclusive place for all cultures to be one Owairoa “family”.
“Our school has a constant flow of Chinese international students throughout the year, and we make a big effort to make them feel welcome and included.
“In celebrating Chinese New Year, we are engaging with our international parents, while also encouraging New Zealand students to think globally and to become more Asia aware.”
Owairoa Primary School has spent the past few years nurturing a sister-school relationship with the Zhongshan Whamposa International Education Group (ZWIE) in China.
"Our interactions have been of immense benefit to our students, teachers and parents."
In 2017, ZWIE Principal Jason Tsui led more than 50 students and staff members to Owairoa for a two-week visit.
The Chinese students joined their Kiwi peers in classes including Kapa Haka, sport, ceramics, art, cooking and ICT, while the Chinese teachers learned about the New Zealand curriculum, classroom management strategies and teaching resources.
“Our interactions have been of immense benefit in increasing the Asia awareness in our students, teachers and parents alike,” said Alan McIntyre.
“A number of our local host families have maintained friendships with the Chinese students, with some even planning to visit them back in China in future.”
Ara student’s volunteering experience
Sas has been involved in the Christchurch Youth Council’s Civics focus group, is an International Student Representative for the Ara Student Council, and is the Student Representative for Engineering, representing his classmates at the Engineering New Zealand Canterbury Committee meetings each month.
He has found that volunteering is great for networking and considering his future career options.
“I love it because it’s study-related, and I get to meet a lot of industry people,” Sas said.
“It’s been good for developing my communication skills, and public speaking. Currently I’m doing my final year project on recycled concrete but I’ve also talked to the City Council to see if there’s any research they want me to do for them. It’s good to do industry projects.”
In future, Sas is interested in working with Engineers without Borders.
“I’d love the opportunity to go to the Pacific Islands and use the knowledge I’ve learned so far to help build structures and give back to those communities.”
Lynda Clegg from the Ara Careers Centre believes students can find great value in volunteering.
“Volunteering offers a range of opportunities for students including building on their employability skills, gaining experience in an area of interest, contributing to the community and enhancing their CV,” said Clegg.
Ara organised a Student Volunteer Expo earlier this month to connect students to volunteering with a variety of organisations, including Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army and SPCA.