Canadians study at AUT to be teachers

09 Aug, 2022
 
International students being welcomed on AUT's marae.
International students being welcomed onto AUT's marae.

Blake Wilson is “ecstatic” to be in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“I’ve been here for 10 days, and it feels like I’ve been here for three months already,” he says.

The 25-year-old is one of 67 initial teacher education students from Canada among the international students who were welcomed onto AUT’s marae for this semester's International Students’ Experience Day.

Organised by the Student Services and Administration division, international students were invited to attend, so they could immerse themselves into study and cultural life in Auckland. Beginning the day with a pōwhiri at Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae, then a BBQ lunch with the AUT Students Association, and learning about safety measures and support services in the afternoon.

About 280 international students from more than 40 countries, lands as distant and different as Oman, Tonga, Cambodia and St Lucia, are expected to start their studies at the University this semester, many of whom have arrived in the country having received a Government exemption while the border was closed.

Blake Wilson’s plan to study in New Zealand at the start of 2021 was delayed due to the pandemic, and he is excited to have finally arrived. To him, the experience learning in a country where the indigenous culture is important would deepen his understanding and help him in his future career, he says.

“I feel like everyone can learn from everyone and that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Standing outside AUT's wharenui: From left: Elberta Chan (Student Hub Practice Manager International), international students Blake Wilson and Tess Messingham, and Kaiwhaikōrero Kururangi Johnston.

FROM LEFT: ELBERTA CHAN (STUDENT HUB PRACTICE MANAGER INTERNATIONAL), INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS BLAKE WILSON AND TESS MESSINGHAM, AND KAIWHAIKŌRERO KURURANGI JOHNSTON.

The arrival of the Canadian education students has been two years in the making for AUT’s School of Education due to Covid-19 restrictions, says Lyn Lewis, Deputy Head of School ( International).

“For AUT it’s wonderful to have new students coming in again. They are choosing to come to AUT and we intend to give them a fabulous student experience,” she says.

“At the same time, as educationalists, we hope they will stay on and teach in Aotearoa New Zealand for a year or two, and many of them want to do that.”

However, the School has a bigger vision, Dr Lewis says.

“We feel that we can have an influence on these students going back to Canada, because what they are going to see here is a country where the indigenous population  voice is being heard. In our classrooms, the Treaty of Waitangi is respected, and  te reo and te ao Māori (the Māori language and world view) is visible in practice.”

International students and staff inside the wharenui.

STAFF AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS INSIDE THE WHARENUI.

The Canadians are studying for either a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching or a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary).

After completing one year of study at Auckland University of Technology, they will be certified to teach at public schools in both countries.

Canadian international student Tess Massingham says learning about how Māori culture is implemented in the classroom and teaching was a “huge pull” in why she chose to study in New Zealand.

She would love to stay and teach in New Zealand if she can get a job.

“It would be a really good experience to compare the classrooms [between the countries] and to get to know students from a different part of the world.”

Times Higher Education has ranked AUT as number 41 in the world among the top universities under 50 years of age, and among the top 1% (201-250) of universities, and equal second in New Zealand.

From 1 August 2022, New Zealand immigration officials will begin processing student visas and international students will be able to enter New Zealand.

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