First International Students Conference At Weekend
16th August 2004
Lincoln University Students’ Association hosted the first ever NZUSA ‘International Students Conference’ in the weekend. The conference was a first for NZUSA and reflects considerable changes in the demographic of tertiary students in New Zealand. The conference was also UNESCO affiliated with an opening address from the Chancellor of Lincoln University, Margaret Austin.
‘The conference was a huge success, with international student representatives from around the country able to get together and network and discuss issues of importance on national and local levels for international students in New Zealand’, said Josephine Newman the President of the Lincoln University Students’ Association.
The ‘Grandparenting’ of International student fees was among the issues tackled at the international student conference. Grandparenting refers to a provision for international student fees whereby they contract to pay a fixed amount for their entire course of study. This enables international students to be certain of the cost of their degree.
NZUSA is mounting a nationwide campaign for ‘Grandparenting’ and currently Lincoln University is running a petition for ‘Grandparenting’, which so far has achieved 500 signatures.
Miss Newman stated that, ‘this means that international students’ will be given security from the excessive fee rises within institutions that have been occurring all over the country. It means they will know what the total cost of their course will be, as opposed to having to guess what the course costs will be, and will help prevent the unfortunate experience of being forced to leave university, due to not being able to afford the fee hikes.
The international students’ conference also dealt with issues such as racism within New Zealand society, integration of international students into New Zealand culture and issues created by compulsory insurance regulations.
‘There was a real action focus of the conference, with a lot of positive momentum for the New Zealand students’ movement towards incorporating international student issues further into its priorities,’ said Miss Newman.
‘We are positive that this will be a first in a long line of in-depth conferences centred around REAL international student issues in New Zealand, aimed at making New Zealand an equitable place for ALL tertiary students to study and have a positive experience,’ Josephine Newman stated.
‘Our aim is to ensure that the tertiary sector treats international students with respect and not merely as income generation for the tertiary sector,’ The President of Lincoln University Students’ Association asserted.