Students welcomed to region

International students bring great value to the local economy

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014
students
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

WELCOME: Primary, secondary and tertiary students from 22 countries were welcomed to South Canterbury with a special ceremony in Timaru yesterday.

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International students were worth $10.7 million to South Canterbury's economy last year.

That news came as 120 students who are boosting the local economy this year were welcomed to the region during a ceremony yesterday. More are expected to join them throughout the year.

They include primary, secondary and tertiary students.

Last year South Canterbury hosted 153 equivalent fulltime students. Their tuition fees totalled $1.8m and their estimated living expenses were valued at $2.7m. Their friends and families spent a further $127,000 while visiting, giving a total spend by overseas students of about $4.6m. All up it is estimated their time in South Canterbury was worth $10.7m to the community, taking into account the multiplier effect of their spending.

Geraldine High School principal Juliette Hayes visited Europe and Japan last year to help boost the school's international contingent.

The school has since doubled the number of its international students, with 10 now attending the school.

She said there were plans to return to Germany, Thailand and South America over the next two years to recruit more.

However, she said the school's international student numbers would be capped at 15 to ensure the students get a quality home stay and "unique" school experience.

Money those students bring into the school will go towards building its international programme, she said. It will help support international exchanges for students and teachers and provide multi-cultural experiences and resources.

She said South Canterbury was "well poised" to maximise the market.

"It benefits everybody."

She said the various cultures boost the South Canterbury economy and students return home with life-time memories and connections to the district.

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said international students were significant to the district because of their social, cultural and economic contribution.

"It is important for our young people to understand different cultures and be able to broaden their horizons. International students also contribute to the local economy and opened up lines for business and trade," she said.

Education South Canterbury/Pureducation chairman Gerry Fennessy said long-lasting relationships often grew between Kiwis and international students.

They also build on cultural understanding and provide global connections, he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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