The first offshore international students since March 2020 have arrived at EIT for a nursing course after being granted a 'critical purpose' exception.
The cohort of 16 Filipino students were allowed to enter New Zealand as critical health and disability workers who are internationally qualified nurses invited to come to New Zealand by the Nursing Council of New Zealand and are enrolled in a Competence Assessment Programme.
Already qualified nurses in the Philippines, they are now completing a seven-week Registered Nurse Competence Training Scheme (also known as CAP) for overseas registered nurses.
One of the students is Marnie Castrence who is an emergency department nurse who worked in Saudi Arabia prior to applying to come to New Zealand.
She said her experience in Aotearoa and at EIT so far has been "amazing".
Having had to quarantine in the Philippines after returning from Saudi Arabia, she said her experience at MIQ in Christchurch was better.
"It's really amazing, we didn't expect it would be fun.
"Every day we received a wellness newsletter with all sorts of updates and different 30-minute workouts. Everything was perfectly managed."
She said New Zealand "really values the nursing profession" and her EIT tutor has been great.
She "definitely" wants to stay and work in New Zealand loves Hawke's Bay.
Another student Gines Cabahug, a four-year emergency department nurse, was reunited with his long-term partner who came to Hawke's Bay as a CAP nurse two years ago and is now working at the Hawke's Bay Hospital.
EIT executive director international Philippa Jones said, in semester 1 of 2020, EIT had more than 750 new and returning international students "under the most extraordinary circumstances".
"The 2020 international student experience has been challenging to say the least.
"However, our international students continue to show incredible resilience and a desire to look to the future and make the most of their time with us at EIT and in New Zealand."
EIT has also welcomed the January 14 Government announcement allowing 1000 returning international students from April.
"We are now engaged in the process to identify and nominate eligible students who we hope will be able to study with us this year," Jones said.
EIT is still awaiting news on when the New Zealand border will reopen and what this will mean for EIT's returning and new international students, she said.