A fresh wave of international students are being shown the ropes at Toi Ohomai as they learn how to step into a new country.

A total of 180 international students have joined Toi Ohomai for 2019.

The week-long orientation started yesterday and aimed to welcome students and inform them on how to keep themselves safe and start living in New Zealand.

The students are from India, Nepal, Philippines, China, Russia, Fiji, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa.


Toi Ohomai international student wellbeing advisor Heather McAllister said while they showed the students the Kiwi way of doing things, it was important they knew they could maintain their own cultural identity.

The orientation was designed to make the transition into education and living in New Zealand as smooth as possible.

On Monday the students heard from the police and the Citizens Advice Bureau about how to keep themselves safe.

During the week students will also have presentations and workshops from support staff on campus, IRD, Immigration NZ and local Māori.

The orientation also includes a bus tour today to show students around the city, migrant food shops and local organisations.

Sean Obeso moved to Rotorua from the Philippines a week ago and hoped his wife and two children could move here once he was qualified and working.

Safety and the stability of the Government were key factors in Obeso's overall goal to call New Zealand home.

"We have two kids back in the Philippines, and hopefully within a year or two, [we can] bring them here and migrate as a family."


He said while it would be difficult to be away from his family, social media made it easier to make these sacrifices.

"It's a new place, it's a new beginning ... I'm excited."

On Friday, students will meet migrants who now call Rotorua home.

McAllister said this was a chance for students to see how they could maintain their own cultural identity while immersing themselves into New Zealand culture.

The pōhiri for domestic and international students is on February 18 and students have already learnt Māori phrases and the traditional hongi.

McAllister said patience from the community was an important factor in welcoming the students into Rotorua.

While all students had English requirements before being accepted, McAllister said over the years she noticed students struggled with slang, accents and the speed New Zealanders spoke.

Thesa Oliveros moved to New Zealand three months ago and said the culture shock was eased by the "yes" nature of Kiwis.

"Migrants, international students, are very hesitant, it's really the cultural difference," she said.

Oliveros said the nature of New Zealanders made her feel it was always okay to ask.

Locals near the polytechnic who would like to host an international student could email the international accommodation at international.accommodation@toiohomai.ac.nz.