International students embrace the West Coast

20 March 2023
Development West Coast
Being an international student can be a life-changing experience. It offers an opportunity to explore a different country, culture, and language. For Marlene, Johanna and Julia, the decision to become international students brought them from Germany to Westland High School in Hokitika.

Marlene and Johanna, from Lörrach in southern Germany, and Julia from the east near Dresden, had never met before arriving in Hokitika, but they were all excited to start their new adventure on the West Coast.

One of the things the girls enjoy the most about studying in Hokitika is the chance to engage in outdoor education. According to Marlene, "the best part is probably that we have so many opportunities with school and also with outdoor activities because we don't really have anything like that in Germany."

"And I also really like the atmosphere at school because it's way more relaxed and chilled than back in Germany," Johanna added.

The girls were impressed with the variety of outdoor activities they have been able to try in New Zealand. Julia was particularly grateful for these opportunities, saying she was so happy to go skiing and surfing.

“I know from other exchange students that they don't have those opportunities because all the other countries are so much more spread out. We have everything so close to each other, which is really nice."

One of the things that surprised the girls the most about their experience in Hokitika was the weather. Before coming, Julia was warned that the West Coast was often rainy. However, she discovered the opposite was true.

"It turns out to be the best place to be in summer because you have the best weather in the summer and it’s sunny the whole day which is perfect," she said.

The Westland High School international programme has been running since 1995 and is fielding a lot of enquiries post-Covid. The programme offers benefits for both our domestic and international students.

“Our domestic students are proud to show off their homes to visitors and our international students learn about life in a completely different culture and improve their English. We have hosted students from Japan, Germany, Finland, Thailand, Austria, France and many other countries,” says Jane Brownie, International Director, Westland High School International Programme.

“We offer home-stay placements to our international students and this offers a deeper level of cultural exchange. Our host families often host more than once as it is such a rewarding experience.”

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