International students: The struggle is real

India is New Zealand’s second-largest and fastest-growing source country for international students. The Indian government wants to get as many people ready for the numerous growing industries in their country as possible.

Their government wants the help of international partners to get their people work ready.

Indian students also study overseas to gain internationally approved qualifications so they can work and live in other countries long term, rather than going back to India after their study.

New Zealand’s reputation is growing in India after huge efforts with marketing and promotional campaigns in their education industry.

A flood of positive messages has portrayed New Zealand as a high-quality education destination for international students.

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International student from India, Anusha Gunasekaran has been studying at Wintec for the past four months. Anusha chose to complete her post graduate diploma in communications here and plans on looking for full time work after finishing in July next year.

“I came to New Zealand because it looked so beautiful,” said Anusha.

Anusha is yet to experience the beauty and adventure she had seen “on the postcards” before moving here. She is looking forward to the summer holidays when her friends from Wintec and her hostel can take her out and about.

“I want to go berry picking and to the beach!” said Anusha.

Although moving to a new part of the world and starting a new life should be exciting, Anusha has experienced a few difficulties which have made her very homesick.

She has already had to move hostels in the short time she has been here and she is struggling to find any kind of work to help support herself.

Anusha has found it difficult to settle and has been noticing how people treat her differently.

“People don’t always listen to us or our ideas or take us seriously in class,” said Anusha. “It can be very frustrating.”

In New Zealand, locals do not have much experience with international students until tertiary level, and depending on where, and if they study, there may not be many around at all.

It is quite normal for international students to keep to themselves and the locals do not pay much attention either, meaning they might not mix much outside of the classroom.

The importance of relationships with local people has been a priority for Anusha so far.

“Some of my classmates have been so welcoming and it makes me feel so much better,” said Anusha. “I would go insane without them!”

New Zealand locals should be reaching out to international students to make their stay here a bit easier. These students are just like you and me, and are amazing friends to have around.

International students should also be made to feel comfortable enough to reach out to locals they study or work with. Everyone would benefit from creating these friendships.

As one of our largest source countries for international students, it is important to work together as equals and create good relationships with these people!

Read the experiences of Alicia Main and Garv Malhorta here.