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NZ: course to prevent student drownings

A new online course that aims to prevent international student drownings has been launched as part of a partnership between Water Safety New Zealand and education agent association, AgentBee

It is hoped that the course will help to prevent drownings when students are able to travel to the country. Photo: Unsplash

“Education agents are responsible for recruiting almost 50 per cent of international students”

The course is aimed at education agents and provides information on water safety in New Zealand that agents can pass on to international students and their families.

“Sadly, the data shows that international students in New Zealand are at particular risk of drowning”

While students are unlikely to return to New Zealand this year, it is hoped that the course will help to prevent drownings when students are able to travel to the country. 

“Sadly, the data shows that international students in New Zealand are at particular risk of drowning,” said WSNZ CEO, Jonty Mills. 

“By working with AgentBee we can ensure that more international students coming here understand the basics of water safety specific to New Zealand conditions.”

The course covers critical water safety issues, including beach safety, river safety, cold water survival and New Zealand’s Water Safety Code.

“Education agents are responsible for recruiting almost 50 per cent of international students who enrol in New Zealand’s universities,” said AgentBee’s Geoff Field. 

“Agents deal face-to-face with students and their families before they leave their home countries, so they present a great opportunity to start early messaging on water safety.”

In 2019, Kenny Espinosa, an international student from the Philippines, drowned while swimming in New Zealand, leading industry stakeholders to call for more education around water safety for international students. 

Espinosa, 26, was on summer break from studying nursing and on holiday in Whangarei, north of Auckland, when he died. 

“Many educational institutions do a good job of educating international students on water safety when they arrive in New Zealand,” said Mills. 

“But encouraging education agents to take the course can start that important messaging earlier in the student’s study abroad journey.”

Mills explained that the aim of the course is to ensure that more international students arrive with an awareness of the risks in New Zealand, and where to get more information to keep themselves safe.

The Water Safety New Zealand course is available here.

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