The New Zealand International Students’ Association will launch this year and take responsibility for representing student concerns during industry discussions, such as the recent International Student Wellbeing Strategy and the upcoming international education strategy.
“NZISA is a necessity to ensure that the $3.1bn international education industry in New Zealand continues to grow by providing international students with a voice,” NZISA co-founder Deon Teo said.
Teo, who is currently studying at the University of Victoria in Wellington, told The PIE News the organisation would also address additional services outside those in regulatory and strategy documents.
“NZISA is a necessity to ensure that the $3.1bn international education industry in New Zealand continues to grow”
“There are problems that are currently plaguing the international student body and are having a negative impact on the overall international student experience,” he said, pointing to a lack of opportunities available for students to develop social lives outside academia as an example.
“That deprives New Zealand of the wealth of information that the student brings with them by forcing them to remain isolated from the wider community,” he said.
Once formed, Teo said NZISA will be run by an elected executive team who will in turn appoint an international student representative from each region to make up the organisation’s board.
Student services advocacy group ISANA New Zealand is assisting in the formation process.
“Whilst many education providers consult with their international students there is a need for a representative body to bring forward the perspective of international students on issues common to all,” ISANA NZ vice-president Terry McGrath said.
“An independent voice raised in advocacy with insider perspectives is important when the international student is unable to speak adequately for themselves and NZISA as it develops will be able to address some of this need.”
According to McGrath, NZISA has followed the lead of the Council of International Students Australia and drew upon their Australian counterparts’ experience after meeting at last year’s ISANA joint conference in Wellington.
NZISA is expected to launch later this year.