Ara gets grant to attract more international students
A $24,000 grant will be used to attract more international students to tertiary courses in Timaru.
Ara Institute of Canterbury has been awarded a grant to develop its Japanese education market by Education New Zealand's International Education Growth Fund.
With each international student paying about $20,000 in fees, attracting more students can bring big financial gains for both the institution and the region.
International Director Beth Knowles said when it came to the Japanese market, Ara was focused primarily on Timaru's sister city of Eniwa in Hokkaido.
"Timaru has a strong relationship with Eniwa and we are looking to build on and extend this relationship and especially develop the relationship with the local university, Hokkaido Bunkyo University," Knowles said.
"A group of their students will study English Language at our Timaru campus later this year."
The new funding would enable Ara to promote Timaru as an educational destination.
"I think there are a lot of similarities between Eniwa and Timaru both in terms of their proximity to nature and the community focus of the two cities."
Knowles said Ara had identified Japan and China as key markets. South Canterbury high schools had also been successful in Thailand, she said.
"High schools are doing very well at attracting international students to high schools in South Canterbury, but we would like for our South Canterbury campuses to increase the number of international students as well."
Part of encouraging students to South Canterbury would involve marketing its scenery, she said.
"Timaru sits on the back door of some of New Zealand's most rugged and attractive scenery," she said.
"Often when you see images of New Zealand, they are images of the South Island, and Timaru is ideally suited for exploring the best the South Island has to offer. It really is the epitome of New Zealand's natural environment."
Having international students provided cultural opportunities for domestic students, as well as financial benefits, she said.
International students paid about $20,000 in fees, and they also contributed to the wider economy.
New courses were also being looked at as a way to attract international students.
Business development director Phil Agnew had previously said there was already some work being done in that sphere, including offering the Graduate Diploma in Sales and Marketing at the Timaru campus.
That course was likely to attract more international students to Timaru, Agnew said.