As New Zealand and the world headed into unprecedented times, the international department also faced some challenges with our international students and their needs. Our international students and homestays alike needed time and guidance to settle into their new lockdown routines together. For other students who were due to leave at the end of term 1, new tickets were needed so they could fly home earlier before the borders closed and all flights were cancelled. Some of our students who could no longer purchase a flight ticket felt lucky to finally be given a seat on a repatriation flight back to their country and they were very happy to finally be reunited with their families in their home countries!
As we enter level 3 of the lockdown, our international students in NZ have settled well into their bubbles and apart from doing well with their online study they are also enjoying new activities with their homestay families from baking and cooking to puzzling, board games and learning the ukulele.
The W SC international team keeps in regular contact with the current students by phone or zoom to make sure all is well on the study and home front. It’s been heart-warming hearing the students’ stories about how and what they are doing and how well they feel that their families are looking after them.
Our international student leaders, Lilianne Cave, Hugo Kelliher and Adriana Feng have also set up a regular online meeting for the international student group, so everyone can share their experiences and help answer any questions. For a bit of fun they have started some question and answer sessions with the international students to encourage the students to speak during the online meeting with chocolate prizes to be collected from the office after lockdown finishes!
Last but certainly not least, we would like to acknowledge our amazing Western Springs Homestay families for going above and beyond to make sure our international students are well-cared for, happy and healthy- THANK YOU HOMESTAY FAMILIES, you have really made a huge difference to our students’ lives during this very challenging time!!