Learning Hawke’s Bay Media Release 10 November 2021

About 50-60 international students in our Hawke’s Bay schools have stayed here for over two years since the Covid-19 outbreak, without being able to go home to see their families and friends. This unprecedented time has really tested those young students’ mental strengths and ability to meet their challenges. To better support these young international students, Learning Hawke’s Bay has run a student ambassador programme to ensure that member schools have resources to run school-based activities to ensure that international students are well supported and integrated into the school and local communities, with a view to alleviate their difficulties of being so far away from home for so long.

On 10 November 2021 at No 5 Café and Larder, international students and ambassadors will be treated to mini-golf games and a delicious Kiwi style BBQ dinner. It’s a small gesture to acknowledge the hardship endured by our international students and the good work by our student ambassadors throughout the pandemic. No 5 Café and Larder has a beautiful setting and is renowned for the quality of its food and minigolf ground. We hope our young international students can have a good time and make new friends. “It’s great to have something positive in a gathering and food for the international students to have as a finale”, says Jody Stent, International Dean, William Colenso College.

“International students make major contributions to our region. They help our domestic students learn about international and intercultural knowledge and skills and be better equipped to operate effectively in an internationally connected world”, says Wenhua Yang, Regional Manager, Learning Hawke’s Bay.

According to her, a Global Competence Certificate online course has recently been run successfully for student ambassadors and other students, paired with Korean students doing the same course at the same time. 

Zachary Fitzgibbon from Lindisfarne College says after he completed this course: “Learning about cultural dimension values, conflict, and communication styles has helped me better understand how I operate as an individual entity and how those around me operate. I have also learned how to better serve the community by breaking stereotypes and addressing microaggressions that occur so frequently in daily life”. “As well as a student ambassador, I am also a Student Representative of the Hawke’s Bay Community Youth Singing Group Project Prima Volta, which helps teenagers find their voices in a safe and supportive environment. Within this group is such a diverse range of cultures, and I will use the learning from this course to better interact with the students and help nurture this supportive environment. I am a strong believer in promoting inclusivity, and with the tools, I have now been equipped with, I hope wherever I am, I can use them to help people feel like they belong because we all do”.

Ashely Zheng from Iona College also completed this course. She says: “This Global Competence Certificate course has enabled me to be more understanding and sympathetic. I am also an international student and have gone through the hard first few years. I would go up to other international students and have a chat with them and share with them my experience”.

At tomorrow’s gathering, student ambassadors will be acknowledged and their Global Competence Certificate will be awarded. The event will be attended by about 40 international students/ambassadors from 6 high schools in Hawke’s Bay: Napier Boys High School, William Colenso College, Tamatea High School, Napier Girls High School, Lindisfarne College and Iona College.

Learning Hawke’s Bay is a regional body promoting and supporting international education in Hawke’s Bay. It’s a charity and membership association with 18 member schools including EIT”.