Schools on show to overseas agents

By Gerald Ford -
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A delegation of international student agents and their hosts in Solway College library. The guests visited four Wairarapa secondary schools yesterday as part of a combined marketing campaign.
A delegation of international student agents and their hosts in Solway College library. The guests visited four Wairarapa secondary schools yesterday as part of a combined marketing campaign.

Wairarapa is the rural option for the international students, not like Auckland where it's just one city to another.Alastair Scott, Wairarapa MP A team of Wairarapa educators and leaders last week hosted some international student agents on a tour to showcase the district and their schools.

Three agents from Thailand and one from Japan were treated to tours of Solway College, Wairarapa College, Rathkeale College and St Matthew's Collegiate, as well as some attractions of the region.

Organised by Grow Wellington, the tours bring scouting agents from sending countries to investigate what Wairarapa has to offer international students.

Christine Stevenson, the deputy principal and international dean of Solway College, said the school so far had three international students, all from Hong Kong, including international student Michelle Tsang who had been at the school for more than a year.

"We're trying to grow it; obviously the idea is to diversify," Mrs Stevenson said.

International students bring financial benefits but also extra cultural input to schools that already have a range of nationalities in their New Zealand roll, sometimes having "cultural days" to learn aspects of a different culture or language.

"So it's learning to live with other cultures as well."

Smaller schools like those in Wairarapa, as opposed to those in cities, also provided "individual programmes for the students to ensure they can meet their goals".

The hosting group included Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott and Masterton District Council chief executive Pim Borren, who were scheduled to join the guests for dinner at a Masterton restaurant last night.

"Wairarapa is the rural option for the international students, not like Auckland where it's just one city to another," Mr Scott said.

"This is a good example of Wairarapa working together."

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