New Zealand International Students of the Year
Education New Zealand names first New Zealand International Students of the Year
Education New Zealand: Media Release 05/05/11
Almost 100,000 students come from overseas to study in New Zealand every year, but a few seem to embrace the experience both inside and outside of the classroom with exceptional enthusiasm.
This year, Education New Zealand ran a competition for the first time to find New Zealand’s top international students from all educational sectors. These students have highlighted the contribution that international students make to the cities and towns in New Zealand where they study, and to their fellow students both Kiwi and international.
Nominees were judged on their academic achievements, their participation in institutional and community activities, and how they have thrown themselves into Kiwi culture and experiences. Institutions were encouraged to nominate the best of the best, and a judging panel has selected these winners to represent each sector.
Schools Sector and Grand Prize Winner:
Ryo Hosoma – Burnside High School, Christchurch
Ryo came from Japan to study at Burnside in January 2009, speaking very little English and feeling extremely shy and nervous. He has since come out of his cocoon so much that the school staff refer to him as their butterfly!
Despite having to catch up on his English, Ryo has achieved extremely well academically. He is also involved in the school orchestra and concert band. He recently appeared in a promotional video for Study Christchurch.
Ryo is the international department’s Japanese representative – taking new students and families around the school, and also providing tours for education agents. He mentors new international students, spending time with them when they are feeling homesick or confused. Ryo always has time for others, and never expects anything special in return.
On the day of the February earthquake, Ryo helped the school staff to look after international students and keep everyone calm until their host parents could collect them. He organised groups of students to help with the quake clean up, and he also help support the Chinese families who came to New Zealand to claim their lost family members. He even helped organise a barbeque for the families to add a small positive experience to their very difficult time in New Zealand.
“It was great to have the barbeque even though they were here for a sad reason and I was sad because of the Japanese earthquake, we could do something together which made us all feel positive about life and we could laugh together in spite of all the tragedy,” says Ryo.
The international director at Ryo’s school says of him, “His is genuinely compassionate and caring and wants the best for everyone. Many of our international students get great marks, play music, and do things for the school. There are very few that actually make a connection with other people in school and the community in a selfless way. That is a very special gift.” Private Training Establishments Sector Winner:
Karen Ishikawa – Quantum Education Group (The Culinary Institute of New Zealand), Kerikeri Karen left her home in Japan at the age of 13 to begin her studies at Kerikeri High School in Northland.
It has been Karen’s dream to become a chef since the she was just seven, and she believes that going to Kerikeri High School opened a lot of doors for her chosen career path. During her time at the school she became heavily involved in the Regional & National Culinary Fairs as well as extra-curricular sports and musical activities.
In 2009 Karen was chosen as the Northland Representative for the New Zealand Hospitality Challenge to compete against other regions in NZ and she was awarded a gold medal, winning the competition. Things only got better as she was awarded the Top Hospitality Student award at Kerikeri High School as well as a student academic excellence award. She also won the Northland Chefs Scholarship.
In 2010 Karen enrolled at Quantum Education Group - The Culinary Institute of New Zealand. Her work ethic was second to none and she went on win the award for Top Level 3 Student. This year Karen has returned to complete her Professional Chef Training and has stood out as one of the schools best students. She was chosen to represent The Culinary Institute as part of their Toque d’Or team. This is the most prestigious competition for hospitality training in NZ and Karen’s skills and application earned her a spot on the team. Karen plans to get some overseas experience as a chef “then come back to NZ to open my own three Michelin star restaurant.” She sounds like the type of chef who might just achieve that!
University Sector Winner:
Bree Loveridge – University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Bree is a PhD student from the United States who has been in New Zealand for five years. She was granted direct entry to the PhD Programme without needing to complete a masters’ degree. She is also a University of Canterbury Doctoral Scholarship recipient, and is researching curriculum and assessment in New Zealand’s secondary education policies. Bree was one of the top three people nominated by the University of Canterbury Students’ Association for the student who contributed most to improving student life on campus in 2010. Not bad for someone busy with a doctorate! This is thanks to her role as President of the Postgraduate Students' Association. With her enthusiasm and dedication, Bree turned a relatively small and inactive campus club into one with over 500 members and a wide range of activities. These have included sporting events, ski trips and social mixers, mountain biking, and a tramping trip. Bree’s main focus in the event choices is to help international students learn about Kiwi culture and explore the beauty of New Zealand’s natural environment. As an outdoor enthusiast, she is not only involved with Kiwi culture, but is dedicated to getting others involved as well. Bree has gone above and beyond to make this club a success, bringing together postgraduate students from every level of postgraduate study and from every department, developing an ever increasing campus-wide and interdisciplinary postgraduate community. Bree’s work has brought together people from a wide range of backgrounds; including international students, adult students and staff. An enthusiastic, caring and friendly person, Bree’s exceptional leadership qualities, organizational skills, and most of all her endless hard work have made the University of Canterbury a better place for all postgraduate students.
Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics Sector Winner:
Kai Quan – Wintec, Hamilton
Kai is from China, and is a year three Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences, Social Work student.
Kai volunteers for and becomes involved with events on campus and outside. For International Social Work Day 2009, Kai volunteered to help in creating the stand at the library. Kai is active in the Ethnic Social Workers Support Group and takes on responsible roles within the group.
She has been involved in community events such as the Indigo Festival, playing an active part. In 2010 Kai approached Rawiri Waretini – Karena, tutor Te Whiuwhiu o Te Hau to learn the Maori model Paiheretia. The tutor comments that Kai was so engrossed in the process and quick to pick up the concept that as a result of the learnings she did an amazing presentation to her peers in which was very well received.
This year Kai voluntarily coordinated and then participated in a Human Rights Facilitator Trainin g workshop that was run by the Human Rights Commission for a week in February 2011. This impressive young woman works with others in a manner that is integral, approachable and has the best interests of others at heart.
English Language Schools Sector Winner:
Jae-ik Bae - New Horizon College of English, Napier
Jae-ik has been studying English in Napier at New Horizon for five months, but his dedication and hard work have already become clear to staff at the school. After getting a great result in his general English course, he decided to move on to the challenging “First Certificate in English” which is an internationally recognized qualification for people who want to use English for work or study.
In addition to his studies, Jae-ik has leadership qualities and led a team fund raising event to support the Japanese Tsunami victims. Rather than stay isolated from the local community, he became a regular member at the Planetarium in Napier and finds opportunities to make local friends and have contact with others in the community.
Jae-ik studied in Auckland for three months and then travelled around the South Island before taking up his studies once again in Napier last November. He plans to return to Korea in June.
Students’ Choice Award Winner: Ang Ching Ting – Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
(The Students’ Choice Award was selected by popular vote on the New Zealand Educated Facebook page.)
Malaysian scholarship student Ang is completing a double degree at Victoria University in Bachelor of Education - TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Bachelor of Arts - Linguistics. She is excelling academically and began taking third year courses in her second year.
Ang was a finalist for the Young Community Leaders Award for 2011, sponsored by the Wellington Community Trust, for her voluntary work. She will shortly graduate from the Victoria International Leadership Programme and will be receiving a Victoria Plus Award from the University, and the Volunteer Connects Award supported by Wellington City Council.
On top of her demanding studies Ang is a mentor, a “Language Buddy”, a note taker for students with disabilities, and English tutor for migrants and even helps out with Wellington’s Harbour Capital marathon to name just a few of her actitivites. The list of her voluntary work seems endless.
“I am, without a doubt in my mind, a better person because of my involvement in the New Zealand community, and for that I am truly thankful,” says Ang.
The winner from each sector will get a great trip in New Zealand with Flying Kiwi Adventure Tours and a winner’s certificate to hang on his or her wall. The grand prize winner will also have a Kiwi BBQ lunch event hosted at his school.