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The chance to express their opinions and interact more with lecturers and fellow students is one of the key points of difference in learning styles in New Zealand, according to a group of Korean students.
The group of 15, from Daedong University in Busan (South Korea’s second largest city), spent a month at Massey’s Albany campus studying English. They are one of the first groups hosted by the University’s PaCE (Professional and Continuing Education), at Albany for a number of years. PaCE is currently boosting its short-term Study Tour Programme.
PaCE programme manager Michelle Daly says the students enjoyed learning inside and outside the classroom.
“It was great to see the students’ confidence grow as they started to make friends with students from other cultures and adjust to living in a different culture with a New Zealand family,” she says.
Min Jeong Park, a second-year nursing student, says she loved her time at Massey, and is considering returning to the University for further postgraduate study. “It’s my first time abroad and I’ve loved my time here. Massey has a high quality language programme, and the staff are very helpful to students from other countries.”
“In Korea, the learning environment is very strict, very dry. Here, we can share our opinions in class, and have discussions,” she says.
The students, aged 18 to 23 years, are studying a range of subjects in Korea, including hospitality, hospital management, cookery and tourism.
Their English language classes included a tailored, final week programme focusing on New Zealand culture. PaCE organised accommodation with local homestay families and a raft of activities, such as a potluck dinner for students and families, Korean food tasting at a Clubs and Cultural Day on campus, a welcome party for international students, a sports competition with other English language students and visit to SheepWorld. Other activities included visits to Awataha Marae, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Museum, a badminton club and pub quiz on campus.
“Many of them felt that their homestay experience was a highlight of their trip,” says Ms Daly. “They also enjoyed the Måori culture experiences in class, trying out poi and playing stick games. Those who visited the marae particularly enjoyed the beautiful singing and learning about Måori culture and traditions”.
PaCE at Albany also recently hosted a group of Japanese high school students from the small village of Katsurao, just outside the 20-kilometre exclusion zone of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster triggered by last year’s catastrophic quake and tsunami.
The students, forced to leave their school and homes to live in temporary accommodation, were keen to visit New Zealand to learn about our nuclear-free status as well as agricultural and environmental practices that could help in the rebuild of their village.
PaCE plans to make the most of Massey’s unique multi-campus status by offering customised tours to more overseas student groups, says Ms Daly.
“Massey can offer a truly New Zealand experience to overseas participants,” she says. “We plan to develop our programme by offering New Zealand Study Tours to international groups, and tours that showcase the university’s key education platforms and expertise.”