An event to welcome new international students to the Taranaki region has again proven popular, with a high number of students attending.

“Term three is when a lot of new students arrive in Taranaki from around the world, often here for a one or two year study experience,” says Venture Taranaki’s Study Taranaki Project Manager Rachael Berndt.

“This year we are seeing numbers increase strongly on recent years, with a total of 515 international students enrolled with the region’s primary, secondary and tertiary education providers, well up from 448 last year.”

“162 are new this year, and there are an estimated 100 further international students that come in as groups or are otherwise not captured by the student visa process.”

International students make a significant contribution to the regional economy. In 2016, a report from Education New Zealand estimated they bring $20 million of foreign exchange earnings into the region. 

“Welcoming international students ia about much more than the economic value,” says Rachael.

“Students learn a lot while they are here, including language skills an a different world view. They also make valuable connections with local students, families and businesses that benefit all involved - Many of the international students that study here become ambassadors for Taranaki and stimulate future opportunities between our countries.”

While the numbers tell a positive story, it can be a challenge attracting international students beyond the main centres.

“Regional New Zealand is a fantastic place to learn and live, with everything you need right on your doorstep. Our connected and compact region lends itself well to developing individual talents, and Taranaki schools offer great add-ons for learning programmes including flying and music lessons, which are all made easier without the burdon of getting stuck in traffic.”

“We do have to work harder to attract students, as they’re often more aware of the main centres and attracted to a bigger population. But those that make it to Taranaki report having an amazing experience, enjoying a great lifestyle, and getting a far more authentically New Zealand experience,” Rachael says.

Welcome functions for new international students were held in New Plymouth and Stratford, with the Mayors of both districts formally inviting students to experience all that Taranaki has to offer.