By Hope Burmeister
International students on Massey’s Manawatu campus are being encouraged to immerse themselves in campus culture.
University statistics from 2016 show that more than half of the student population at Massey University is New Zealand European, and only a quarter of Massey students are from overseas.
This means international students from non-English speaking countries can often find it hard to adjust to Massey’s predominantly English-speaking environment.
A Chinese international student at the Manawatu campus, Zhirui Wang, said that the language barrier can make it difficult to connect with kiwi students.
“I can’t understand [them] so it makes me feel it’s hard to interact or be a member of this group,” Wang says.
The university has a support system for international students that helps integrate them into the student community.
The main support on the Manawatu campus is the International Student Support centre (ISS).
ISS team leader, Sylvia Hooker says its role is to help students maintain their wellbeing, both in their studies, their health and in their interactions with others.
“We’re always looking at ways to develop the campus culture and trying to get the international students to develop their own culture,” she says.
Hooke says although there is always room for improvement to help international students, the ISS staff are always researching New Zealand and international cultures to gain a better understanding.
One of the ways the ISS enforces this is by promoting an event hosted by the Marton Rotary Club. It is where a small number of international students each stay overnight with a New Zealand family.
ISS staff member, Dianne Riley, who helped organise the event, says the family will often ask the student all about what their home country is like.
“[The family has] a friendly, personal sort of interest [in them],” she says.