Foreign students love SC's 'Kiwi lifestyle'

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2013
Sattha Pourpunragsakul
NATASHA MARTIN/Fairfax NZ

CROSSING BORDERS: Thai international education agent Sattha Pourpunragsakul chats with Timaru Mayor Janie Annear at a lunch held for him yesterday. He will promote South Canterbury to students looking to study in New Zealand.

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International students love the "Kiwi life" they get when they study in South Canterbury, a Thai international agent says.

Sattha Pourpunragsakul, also known as Tom, of IM Education, visited seven local education providers with the aim of promoting the region as an international education destination.

He also had a scenic flight, dined with local providers and had lunch with Timaru Mayor Janie Annear yesterday.

He was hosted by Education South Canterbury - a partnership between a group of local secondary and primary schools and Aoraki Polytechnic that is supported by Education New Zealand.

It is his third visit to Timaru, but this time he was able to spend more time at each site. Back home he will promote the region to students looking to study in New Zealand.

Mr Pourpunragsakul said yesterday students were attracted to studying in South Canterbury for the real "Kiwi life".

"If you go to the big city there are lots of Asian people, including Thai, so they almost stick together. It's not a Kiwi lifestyle."

Here they had real New Zealand experiences and got to know the locals.

He has two students at schools here - a brother and sister at Craighead Diocesan School and Roncalli College - and 40 students at schools around the country.

New Zealand offered a more reasonably priced and holistic education experience.

"In Thailand education is quite tough ... because they study so hard and just focus on exams."

There was less emphasis on "life" as there was in New Zealand education.

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said international students were significant to South Canterbury, mostly for the cultural contribution they made.

"[It is important] for our young people to understand different cultures and be able to broaden their horizons."

It also contributed to the local economy and opened up lines for business and trade, she said.

Nationally, education is the fifth largest export earner, but in South Canterbury it was "relatively small".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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