21 January 2015 at 9:00 am
Manawatu hosts agents
As we all know, agents play a crucial role in the student recruitment aspect of international education and in November 2014 five agents from Japan, Chile, Viet Nam, Indonesia and Germany converged on Manawatu in a demonstration of collaboration in action.
“A successful famil tour provides a holistic experience for the agents, and gives them first-hand knowledge and experience from which to recommend Palmerston North and Manawatu to prospective students and parents,” said Lesley McDonald, Co-Chair of International Education Manawatu (IEM).
“We decided that we would split the agents into two groups – those focussed on the tertiary sector and those on the secondary sector. That way, the agents in each group could focus on their specific sector and spend more time at the relevant institutions,” said Lesley.
The agent visit was timed to coincide with the Massey University graduation ceremony, demonstrating the successful outcome of study.
To give them a taste of the Manawatu student lifestyle, the agents stayed with homestay families in the region.
“We recognised that international education is more than the study experience – it also includes a safe lifestyle, leisure activities, internship and part-time employment opportunities which lead to residency and employment.”
“The agents saw the Royal New Zealand Ballet perform at the Regent Theatre in Palmerston North and had a trip to Wellington. One agent even stayed on an extra day to take part in a tour of Wairarapa wineries!”
For the visiting agents the visit was an immersion in what it’s like to live and study in Palmerston North and the Manawatu region, and for the education providers it was a chance to showcase the best their institution and the region has to offer.
For both, it was an invaluable relationship-building experience.
“We have received very positive feedback from the visiting agents who wish to build on the relationships with the educational providers that they met and interacted with”, said Lesley.
To fund the agent visit a cross-sector group of education providers – all members of IEM – pooled their resources, with some additional funding was provided by Education New Zealand’s Regional Agent Funding programme.