12 April 2017 at 9:00 am

Kapa Haka and lion dancing welcomes students to Christchurch

International students of all ages gathered at the Christchurch Art Gallery in late March for the annual Christchurch City Student Welcome.

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Christchurch Educated has run the event since 2014, and this year’s welcome was sponsored by Christchurch City Council, Ara Institute of Canterbury, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and China Southern Airlines. Nearly 250 students – both international and domestic, new and returning – from the Canterbury region attended, with some accompanied by their homestay families.

Izzie Guo, International Student Experience Coordinator at Christchurch Educated said making students feel welcome is a key factor in creating a good student experience.

“Coming to a new country to study and start a new life can be a very challenging journey for international students,” she said.

“We are grateful that they chose our city as their second home, so it’s our responsibility to make sure they are have a positive experience with us and are well-cared for.”

The theme of the event was “Feel at home in Canterbury”. Students received a traditional Mihi followed by a warm welcome from Christchurch Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner.

The welcome event had food trucks, art demonstrations, games, as well as a range of cultural performances, including kapa haka, Indian bhangra, Chinese lion dancing and live music. Students also had a chance to pick up some Kiwi culture with rugby skills training, poi making and flax weaving.

Sigred Yamit, a University of Canterbury student and event MC said such events are a great way to bring the community together.

“My family and I migrated to New Zealand five years ago, so I can relate to the experience of international students. I wasn't aware that such events existed back then but they’re so important,” she said.

“Meeting people from different cultures broadens your perspective in life, and you get the chance to learn something new from them.”

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