The return of 34 of UC’s international students, under the New Zealand Government Exemption Cohort, is a part of an exception class of 1,000 international tertiary students. The return is estimated to bring in roughly $49 million for the wider community.
“It was a great feeling to have a room full of international students on campus again,” Monique van Veenis, International Partnership & Support manager at the University of Canterbury, told The PIE.
“We had around 34 returnee students and 20 plus UC staff present, along with our friends like Christchurch Educated who’ve been supporting our students along the way.”
New Zealand’s international education industry is valued at $5 billion and is the country’s fifth largest export.
Education minister Chris Hipkins said, “[The students] will be subject to the same border rules and quarantine regime as all other arrivals”.
“They would also need to be able to do more, to support themselves in New Zealand, with the living expenses that are required for international students to be granted a visa, now raised to $20,000 – up from $15,000.”
The minister added by saying that, New Zealand was working with the international education sector in facilitating the return of students who have made the greatest commitment to New Zealand, by choosing to stay invested in their studies in the country, despite the hurdles posed by the Covid-19 related travel restrictions.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to be back in New Zealand and back at the uni”
The return of the international student cohort will not have any impact on the return of Kiwis or skilled workers back into the country, he added.
Abdul Wafi returned from Malaysia to continue his studies.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to be back in New Zealand and back at the uni,” he said at the welcoming event on August 4.
“I feel like it’s been a miracle journey, unforgettable and memorable one. Thanks to the University of Canterbury for helping and guiding me to get here.”
He also offered helpful advice for students who are still studying online.
“Your time will come, so in any situation just hang in there and always keep in touch with your university because they will help you to get through. Never ever feel guilty if you need help because that’s what your university is for!”
New Zealand’s borders still remain closed, except for the limited exemption for international students.