28 September 2016 at 9:00 am
Education Tauranga’s International Ball
Earlier this month, Bethlehem College hosted an international ball, the first of its kind for Education Tauranga (ET). The event saw 140 international students from high schools stretching from Te Puke to Waihi all dressed to the nines and cutting loose on the dance floor.
Although it was a big commitment, Annette Roff, an ET member and Director of International Students from Tauranga Boys College, said that without this event many international students wouldn’t come across the opportunity again.
“Some our international students don’t stay for the full school year so they often miss out on their school ball. We want them to have every Kiwi experience possible, and that includes social events like this.”
Annette, alongside Del Miller, International Director from Bethlehem College, supervised a student-led ball committee. The students put together a budget, sold tickets, chose the theme and decorations (A Night in Paris) and even designed the invitations and posters. In an effort to make sure everyone was represented, they asked students to send requests to the DJ with songs from their home countries.
“I’ve been in international education for many years, but the ball was the best thing I’ve ever seen,” said Annette.
“The students were always on their feet dancing, I’ve never seen anyone dance that much! We had put a few seats around the edge for people to sit down, but they were hardly used.”
The international ball was the first formal event for many of the attendees, and the positive feedback has made ET think about creating other social events specifically for international students.
The ball committee will meet again next week for an evaluation of the event and to think about where to from here. Annette says that even though it was a lot of work, she would like to see it become a yearly event if possible.
“My advice to any region considering doing it is to make it happen. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for many of these students. Most people would say they don’t have the time to put into organising it, but seeing the students so happy makes it completely worthwhile.”