28 February 2018 at 9:00 am
Letter from the Acting CE: the power of being good hosts
As the academic year kicks off, students from around the world are arriving in New Zealand and settling into our classrooms and communities. For many of these young people, this will be the first time they have travelled to a new country and are away from their families.
Sophie Iwakiri, a Japanese student in Katikati, arrived in New Zealand with limited English skills and low confidence. With the support and encouragement of her host family and her teachers at Katikati College, Sophie graduated in the top five percent of her class.
“The teachers are so great here, they build relationships with you, they motivate you,” she said.
“If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I feel like I have everything I need here. My host Mum and my host Dad support me completely.”
Sophie’s story reflects the great work happening in schools and tertiary institutions around New Zealand. We all want to ensure Sophie’s experience is the case for every student. Government agencies have come together in this mission, and the work is gaining momentum.
Welcoming students is really putting into practice Manaakitanga – the Māori value of hospitality, kindness, support, respect and care for others. At the end of the day, people are what make or break a student’s experience studying in our country.
Every day, international education opens us up to the rest of the world and makes our country a better place. In return for the wonderful social, cultural and economic benefits international students bring us, we have a responsibility to work together to ensure their experience here is positive – that they feel a sense of inclusion, that they find it easy to make friends and have access to a wide range of support services.
It is a privilege to host students here in New Zealand. In the spirit of Manaakitanga, let’s start off their experience with a warm welcome.
Acting Chief Executive