Tauranga educators will travel to Korea this month in a bid to promote the city as a high quality study destination and recruit more Korean students.
Education Tauranga is leading a delegation of principals and international directors from 26 primary, secondary, tertiary and English language schools to Korea on August 30.
The delegation will hold two education fairs in Seoul in conjunction with the Tauranga Korea Times before visiting Busan for a second fair.
Education Tauranga regional manager Anne Young said the aim of the fair was to promote Tauranga as a high quality study destination and recruit more Korean students.
"Korea is Tauranga's largest source market for international students in the compulsory schooling sector and we currently have around 500 Korean families residing in the region."
Young said about 600 people visited the fairs last year which resulted in 60 new families with two children recruited into Tauranga schools.
"That is about 120 kids."
The Korean international student market was unique in that students as young as 5 could study abroad and were often accompanied by a parent, Young said.
"It is a legal requirement for international students 10 and under to be with a parent when studying abroad.
"This has led to an increasing community of Korean mums who are here accompanying their children who are enrolled in local schools."
Bellevue School had 17 Korean pupils on its roll and principal David Bell said the fairs were a way of developing a global awareness among learners.
"It is opening the world up for the children."
Bell said Kiwi children became aware of the level of engagement of their Korean peers in the classroom.
"It is a very competitive world in Korea in terms of education.
"Korean students coming over who are used to that environment of being competitive and working hard rubs off on our students as well."
Bell said the opportunity to visit schools in Korea allowed him to understand the culture and the difficulties and challenges both the pupils and parents experienced in New Zealand classrooms.
"It is very formal, very respectful, it is more of an informal collaborative learning and so the Korean families see that as very attractive," he said.
Tauranga Korean Times director Hyun Taek Yang said Korean families were attracted to the "holistic approach" to education.
"It is very creative and the teaching method is totally different."
Hazjin Woo brought her daughter Kyuji Kang, 5, to Tauranga just five weeks ago.
Woo enrolled her at Tauranga Primary School and was amazed at how quickly her daughter picked up the language.
"Before she got the first day she only spoke Korean.
"She has been there two weeks and suddenly spoke English."
An alumni event for more than 150 students who have previously studied in Tauranga will be held before the fairs. After the fairs, a small group will travel to Tauranga's friendship city Ansan to discuss further opportunities for collaboration in education and trade.
Export Bay of Plenty executive officer Joanna Hall will attend the fairs alongside Hellen Faulkner from local skincare company HZP & Co.