11 June 2015 at 9:00 am
South Canterbury welcomes Thai agent
Her visit was supported by Education New Zealand's Regional Agent Programme.
What was the purpose of Pear’s visit to South Canterbury?
Education South Canterbury is working on developing an MOU with Thai schools introduced to us by Pear. She was in South Canterbury specifically to familiarise herself with our schools and to experience the region as the students do. She visited each of Education South Canterbury’s member schools and met with students at each one.
How did Pear’s visit fit in with Education South Canterbury’s goals?
Thailand is a focus market and an important and valuable partner for Education South Canterbury.
In the Education South Canterbury strategic plan we are working to develop capability and support the government goals for 2025.
As we are developing an MOU with schools in Thailand that Pear works with, we felt that the familiarisation visit would give her a strong understanding of the educational experiences offered by institutions and the student lifestyle here in the region.
Education South Canterbury was delighted to give Pear a first-hand experience of the region, so that she can support and promote the special features of the programmes that we offer.
What did Pear see and experience during her visit?
Pear’s visit started with a welcome dinner with the members of Education South Canterbury and included a lunch hosted by the Mayor.
We wanted to give Pear the opportunity to experience the activities that our students take part in while studying in the region – she went to a country cafe complete with farmyard animals, and mini golf and afternoon tea with Thai students currently studying at a local school and Aoraki Polytechnic.
Pear visited the Te Ana Rock Art Centre and was very impressed with the cultural history of the region
Unfortunately, the planned trip to Tekapo for a jet boat ride had to be cancelled due to gale force winds! So, that gave her first-hand experience of New Zealand’s changeable weather patterns.
Pear stayed in Geraldine and Timaru, getting a taste of both town and country lifestyles, and experiencing both homestay and motel accommodation, further strengthening her insights in to the student and parent experience.
What did Pear enjoy most?
Pear really enjoyed the chance to meet all of the Education South Canterbury members and develop relationships with the International Directors at each of the institutions.
She loved meeting the current students and felt their enthusiasm and honest feedback was really valuable.
In Geraldine Pear loved looking at the stars after we had been out for a meal. With no light pollution she had some great views of the Milky Way – the clear night air almost magnifies the vista. This is something Pear just doesn’t get to see in the large cities of Thailand.
What did you learn about Thailand from Pear?
All Education South Canterbury members are familiar with Thailand and have visited regularly, so we were especially pleased to get specific information about the schools we are dealing with and the expectations around our MOU from the Thai schools’ perspective. We really appreciated Pear’s forthrightness in working through the specifics of the process.
How are you maintaining the relationship now that Pear’s gone home?
We have been in regular email contact with Pear since her return to Thailand, and we are planning an Education South Canterbury group delegation visit in early September to see Pear and visit NZ Study.
What do you see as unique about South Canterbury education and culture?
In South Canterbury we don’t just do international education, we internationalise our education.
South Canterbury offers an authentic small town Kiwi experience, where all students are known in the school and warmly embraced by the wider community. Students get an individual and intimate experience – they are all made to feel special and develop lifelong friendships with Kiwi students and homestay families.
The experience is very much a two-way exchange between the international students and the Kiwi students. The visiting students opened our Kiwi students’ eyes to their lifestyle, culture and life experiences… so becoming the educators of our students!
South Canterbury is “New Zealand at your back door”. We offer beaches, mountains, rivers and diverse landscapes – outdoor excitement with a sense of security. In South Canterbury, you can travel from the Southern Alps to the ocean in two hours or less.
Students in Education South Canterbury schools learn in the environment. Field trips and outdoor pursuits take them out into the real New Zealand and they are immersed in the environment they are learning about.
Students in South Canterbury schools can embrace the arts – music and theatre, orchestras, brass bands and sing in New Zealand award-winning choral groups.
No matter what students want to pursue, South Canterbury offers the opportunity!
L – R: Julie McLean, Pear and Mayor of Timaru, Damon Odey