17 April 2020 at 9:00 am
An update from ENZ’s international teams
Due to travel restrictions to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, many of ENZ’s in-market activities have been postponed or cancelled. But that doesn’t mean ENZ’s international staff haven’t been busy.
Instead, they’ve been taking proactive steps to support and connect with the international education sector safely, in line with local COVID-19 restrictions.
Communicating with stakeholders
For ENZ, ensuring the wellbeing of international students who remain in New Zealand over this lockdown period is a key priority. A factsheet outlining New Zealand’s support for international students has been developed and translated into the languages of key priority markets.
Our teams overseas have been communicating with a range of stakeholders from local government and institutions to providers and agents, and in some cases directly to students and parents to ensure they have the latest information.
ENZ staff have been recommending students enrol on NauMai NZ and asking international partners to pass SafeTravel information on to New Zealand students they may have on campus.
The International team is able to tap into these networks for market-specific insights to help inform the New Zealand international education industry’s next steps during this rapidly-evolving and unprecedented situation.
Anecdotally, the response in New Zealand has been well received overseas. New Zealand’s proactive approach to communications has been noted by partners.
Doing it digital
For our teams offshore, fairs, conferences and other international education events have had to be cancelled or postponed. As a result, they’ve ramped up their online activities.
To share best practice advice and take advantage of the pause in promotional activity, they’ve developed educational webinars for sector stakeholders.
1. On 24 March, ENZ Market Development Manager Shelly Xu teamed up with the General Manager of UMS (a China media specialist agency), Jordi Du, to deliver a webinar for New Zealand international education staff on Chinese social media. Over 30 people attended.
The Chinese digital space looks very different to ours. The platforms WeChat and Weibo rule, rather than Facebook and Twitter. Shelly and Jordi aimed to demystify Chinese platforms by taking providers through the Chinese social landscape and discussing what kind of posts would stand out to their target audiences.
2. On 17 March, ENZ Team India delivered a webinar especially for Indian agents and counsellors focused on business courses available in New Zealand.
An incredible 177 people tuned in to hear from ENZ staff as well as guest speakers: Associate Professor Lincoln Wood from University of Otago; Dr Jens Mueller from Massey University; Ashish Suri from The University of Waikato and Andrea McLeod-Karim from Victoria University of Wellington.
3. On 16 April, Senior Market Development Manager for Chile and Colombia, Javiera Visedo, was the guest on a Facebook Live session with the Blue Studies agency (who have over 21,000 followers) for the Latin America Spanish-speaking audience.
She also presented at Colfuturo (a Colombian scholarship-loan non-profit organisation) for a Study in New Zealand webinar on 17 April. This week, she will participate in a virtual fair organised by Colombian agency Estudiar.
Beginning to test market sentiment
As ENZ moves into the next phase of supporting the international sector, a new priority for our international teams is testing market sentiment.
For example, a survey was sent out to agents in Spanish-speaking markets in March. Of the 18 responses received, most of the agents have English language students in New Zealand and 68 percent are from Colombia. The agents set out their students’ main concerns at the moment: work situation while studying, uncertainty of the global situation, and visa expiration.
This fits with what we are hearing across all markets – agents and other institutional partners need information about New Zealand’s response to the current situation.