Settlement programme helps international students
International students could take heart over a well-structured settlement programme that takes into their account their initial fears and apprehensions and varied needs and aspirations.
Settling In-International Students Auckland is an offshoot of Settling In, a Government initiative that aims to understand our young international guests better and provide support wherever necessary or possible.
The Project focuses on students in the Auckland City Council region, which has the largest (62%) international student population in the country.
Auckland City District Police Asian Liaison Officer Jessica Phuang is currently on a six-month secondment to the Ministry to promote ‘Settling In-International Students Auckland’ as Project Manager.
As a part of the efforts to make the programme more effective and inclusive, a high-level Steering Group has been established in Wellington.
The Group comprises officials from the Social Development and Education Ministries, New Zealand Police and the Human Rights Commission.
Ms Phuang said among the primary tasks of the Group is establishing regular contacts and dialogue with diplomatic missions and service providers involved with international students to explain the parameters of the Project and its aims and objectives.
“As well as directly interacting with international students, we would also like to collate and compile statistics, research material and other information that would be useful in supporting our work. We propose to publish a Report that would provide relevant information and set appropriate priorities,” she said.
‘Settling In’ was established in 2004 as a community development initiative, the Project has grown to address critical areas involving the international student community. In the wake of problems across the Tasman, the Government and its agencies and departments find the increasing need to foster student welfare.
After all, export education is a multi-billion dollar industry.
The seriousness with which the Government approaches the issue is underscored by the involvement of the Family and Community Services of the Social Development Ministry as the unit responsible for the successful implementation of ‘Settling In.’
While the need for programmes relating to international students has arisen in recent years, the Government has since long been concerned with issues concerning migrants and refugees.
‘Settling In’ is seen as a collaborative Project, accounting for coordinators working nationwide with specific communities to select and develop projects to held migrants and refugees adapt themselves to the New Zealand environment and settle with ease and comfort.
Ms Phuang said local working groups representing a number of government and non-government agencies, community organisations and refugee and migrant communities to pool their resources and expertise to achieve the best results.
“In most instances, a local report is published. Such a Report captures the voices of refugees and migrants in a location and sets out priorities and strategies for addressing the concerns raised.
“Settling In supports communities to deal with these issues and respond to other needs as they arise,” she said.
For further details, contact Jessica Phuang on 027-4782155