The latest figures from the Ministry of Education reveal strong growth in international student numbers for the Manawatu-Whanganui region, while nationally numbers have fallen.
Student enrolments in the region were up by 5% or 148 students, in the year to August 2017, bringing the total number of international students in Manawatu-Whanganui to just under 3,000 in that period.
The region is bucking the trend in terms of its growth: our rise has occurred against a significant national drop (7% down in the same period), which is mainly attributed to a decline in enrolments in the unfunded Private Training Establishments (PTE) sector, which was down 30% in this same period.
“This increase really supports the work we are leading,” says Central Economic Development Agency’s (CEDA) International Education Development Manager Judy Bennett-Smith.
“We are making real progress in communicating the benefits of studying and living in the region and these numbers are evidence of this.”
Recent New Zealand Immigration figures further reinforce this trend, too. The number of Valid Student Visas issued for international students in the Manawatu-Whanganui region increased 4% to 310 in the 12 months to February 2018. The number of Chinese students with a valid visa for February was up 5% to 640 and Japanese students up a whopping 26% to 282. These students are enrolling mainly in university and secondary schools.
CEDA’s International Education team is responsible for supporting the sector to grow the number of international students by finding new international markets to target, telling stories about the Manawatū region and why it’s a fantastic place to study, and ensuring students who are studying here have the best possible experience, so they too become advocates for studying in the region.
CEDA’s approach is to work closely and collaboratively with Massey University, UCOL, IPU and secondary schools across Manawatū. The team is also proactive in visiting overseas markets and building key relationships with agents who recruit international students in New Zealand. This work by CEDA is supported with funding from Education New Zealand, who are the government agency responsible for growing the economic impact of international education.
Exciting welcoming initiative this week
One hundred international students have been invited to attend a Mayoral Welcome with Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith, this Friday afternoon, at the Palmerston North City Council Chambers.
The event is being run in collaboration with Palmerston North City Council and Welcoming Communities, and students will hear from staff from i-SITE, Youth Space, Sport Manawatū and Palmerston North City Libraries to become familiar with what’s available to them in the city as a new resident.
“Welcoming Communities is about being actively welcoming toward newcomers, making connections and celebrating the diversity of our city – this event is a great example of that. What better way to make our new international students feel valued here in Palmerston North than to bring them together for a special welcome and a shared afternoon kai with the Mayor?” says Palmerston North City Council Welcoming Communities Coordinator, Stephanie Velvin.
“This is also about introducing students to each other. When you’re living in a foreign country new friendships are a crucial element to a good studying experience,” says Judy Bennett Smith.
Event details for media:
Mayoral Welcome with Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith
When: Friday May 4
Venue: Council Chambers, PNCC