Export Commendation: International Student Service
Hon Jim Sutton
International Student Services (NZ) Ltd
Ladies and Gentlemen: I am delighted to be here today to present Richard and Patricia Howard with an export commendation for their work as International Student Services.
ISSL was set up in 1991 to provide international student placement and administration services in the Waikato region.
Since 1997, following a change in Government policy to allow Chinese students to study in New Zealand, ISSL has successfully repositioned itself as a national provider of specialised services in the Chinese education market.
In the past three years, the number of Chinese students studying in New Zealand has grown from none to about 2000 – almost 40 per cent of the international student body.
ISSL now generates $2.7 million in foreign exchange annually – more than 85 per cent of that is generated by the China market.
ISSL's competitive advantages include a reputation in China as New Zealand's foremost Chinese student agency representing schools throughout New Zealand.
It has an excellent understanding of the student visa process, it has excellent staff with Chinese language skills and local knowledge, it has a thorough understanding of Chinese business and cultural practices, as well as expert knowledge of the New Zealand education system.
On top of that, ISSL has a very high level of client service during the application process and for students and their families.
ISSL has worked hard to establish its brand and to stand out from its competitors. Using a personal approach, it has relied on networks, student referrals, and referrals from Chinese education agents to attract new business.
It has developed promotional material in English and Chinese, and later this year, intends to host a Chinese journalist in New Zealand – an excellent way to make sure ISSL can get its message across!
As well, ISSL is developing its business electronically, using a website specifically designed for the Chinese market.
Using this website, it's expected that during the next year, 500 Chinese students' applications to study in New Zealand schools will be processed. As well, up to 400 extra applications from Chinese students who want to study at New Zealand tertiary institutions can be processed as well.
The internet could prove to be an effective client filtering system as well. After all, if a student has the knowledge and the means to access the Internet, they are likely to have the financial capability and other visa requirements to live and study in New Zealand.
As an added incentive, and as a way to grow its share of the tertiary market, ISSL is to offer $50,000 worth of scholarships to Chinese students for their first year of tertiary education.
This kind of investment in the market is part of what makes ISSL stand out.
I personally believe that New Zealand's future as a trading nation is tied with that of China and North Asia. The personal links that build up between nations when students study in different countries can be vital in future years. When I travelled to Shanghai earlier this year, I met many students who were keen to come to New Zealand to study because of the value their professor put on his time studying at Victoria University in Wellington.
I commend ISSL and all of you who have worked so hard to achieve such success. I thank Richard and Patricia Howard and invite them to receive this export commendation.
Thank you and