Foreign students flock to Wellington this year

Wellington is bucking a national trend by attracting more international students this year.

Yesterday more than 400 students from dozens of countries were welcomed by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown at Te Papa.

They are studying at a range of secondary schools and tertiary institutions, and contribute to the total of 5000 international students learning English in New Zealand.

Last year international students contributed $177 million to the economy, and Grow Wellington chief executive Gerard Quinn said the aim was to encourage them to stay long term.

Wellington had made enrolment gains of 2 per cent in the past financial year, compared with a national decline of 3 per cent, he said.

German students Hedda Liebs, 19, and Christopher Frohn, 20, are on an eight-month stay in New Zealand while they study English at Wellington's Campbell Institute. They intended to work part-time as live-in nannies - until a skateboarding accident in Khandallah last month put paid to Mr Frohn's plans.

He had chosen New Zealand because of all the sporting opportunities, and before his accident had learnt to surf. Now, unable to work, he has moved to a new home-stay where he is continuing to study English and resting his leg.

"The family I was staying with kept me at their home for two weeks after the accident but then decided they really needed someone who could work and look after the kids.

"They were so good to me, and still have me round for dinner," he said.

The Dominion Post