5 February 2014 at 9:00 am

New penguins arrive in New Zealand

A 96-strong cohort of high-achieving Chilean students will arrive in New Zealand this week to spend two terms at secondary schools around the country.


They are the third group of scholarship students sent to New Zealand by the Chilean Government since the "Penguins Without Borders" programme was expanded from 40 to up to 100 students during the Prime Minister's trade mission to Chile last March.

The students, known as penguins due to Chile’s distinctive black and white school uniform, are here to expand their international outlook. The breadth of study options and experiences here are a major drawcard.

Regional Director for Latin America, Lisa Futschek, says 140 Chilean students have experienced New Zealand’s world-class education system through the programme to date. In a new development with this cohort, Education New Zealand (ENZ) negotiated the inclusion of single sex schools and private schools in the programme for the first time.

"Feedback from the students themselves, their families and Chilean officials has been really positive. There will be a new administration in power in Chile in March, and ENZ is working hard to secure New Zealand as a continuing destination for these students." 

ENZ's work in Chile has already generated media coverage there about New Zealand education and the penguins programme, including stories in key publications including regional El Mercurio newspapers and national TV stations Canal 13 and CNN Chile. 

Business Development Manager Richard Kyle says the wide range of course options for students in New Zealand has engaged both the Chilean students and the media.

"It really is a distinctive strength of our schools that we can meet individual learning needs and interests by offering such a diverse curriculum and extra-curricular activities. It’s one of the first things past penguins talk about and it’s something that’s piqued Chilean media interest when they’re reporting on what these students will see and do."

To watch an interview (in Spanish) with New Zealand Ambassador John Capper about the penguins, go to: www.cnnchile.com/noticia/2014/01/24/escolares-chilenos-estudiaran-un-semestre-en-nueva-zelandia.

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