Ara signs memorandum of understanding with Japanese university
The signing of an agreement to bring more Japanese students to study in Timaru is expected to add more than $50,000 to the local economy.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between Ara Institute of Canterbury and Hokkaido Bunkyo University (HBU) in Eniwa, Japan.
The agreement will bring at least 10 students to Timaru for a four week study tour in February 2018, and that may be only the tip of the iceberg.
Ara international market sector Japan manager Tim Hayashi said the study tour was the "spearhead" for other possible benefits, including academic staff exchanges and video link study options.
"It's really exciting," he said.
The MOU had been under discussion for more than a year, and originally began with Aoraki Polytechnic.
When Aoraki and CPIT merged at the end of 2015, the talks were handed over to the newly formed institution, Ara, to finalise, Hayashi said.
While international students brought plenty of cultural benefits, the local economy would also benefit, he said.
About $53,000 would be generated through the study tour, he said.
That included fees, homestays, and spending at local businesses.
The students would undertake an English language foundation course, as well as studying subjects such as travel and tourism.
"That's why South Canterbury was the perfect location," Hayashi said.
The MOU was based around the relationship between Timaru and Eniwa, which have been sister cities since February 2008.
The initial talks with HBU aligned well with Education New Zealand's (ENZ) vision to promote New Zealand regions in Japan, he said.
It allocated a total of $444,000 as co-funding to 15 new growth initiatives in the international education industry through the International Education Growth Fund (IEGF).
"Ara is one of 15 recipients of the IEGF giving us funding of up to $24,000 to promote Timaru and South Canterbury to regional cities in Japan," Hayashi said.