After a long delay, due to covid, the student international exchange programme is back at Mount Hutt College, welcoming 13 new students for Term 1.
The programme has been a staple part of the school’s culture for over 20 years now and is offered to students from all over the world.
Out of the 13 students visiting, one is from Greenland and another from Hong Kong. The rest all come from Japan.
Mount Hutt College English teacher, Kirsty Saxon said the international programme provides a chance for foreign students to sample the kiwi school experience, along with taking in the kiwi culture, whilst residing with their homestay families.
‘‘In the past the school have hosted students from North and South America, Canada, Europe and Asia.
‘‘In 2024 Mount Hutt College hope to restart their sister school Japanese exchange, with Kiwi students given the chance to go to Japan; and vice versa in 2025, with the hosting families returning to New Zealand.’’
This particular set of students were here for one term but visits are flexible, depending on the students aim of the programme they are participating in and when it’s being organised. This is usually put together by an external organisation, however there are several local families who have already expressed an interest in hosting future students.
Kirsty said some of the advantages to the international programme are to promote rich and diverse learning experiences for the entire community. ‘‘To build intercultural competency, knowledge of the international community and a sense of global citizenship amongst students, homestay families, education professionals and the wider community. It also enables international students to benefit from receiving quality English medium tuition and achievement in academic studies, music, sport and arts.’’
Most of the students who come over, already have a good understanding of English, as they learn it from a young age. she said.
‘‘They come for the ‘Kiwi’ experience and to increase their fluency, grammar and understanding of English. The students also get to choose their subjects, which are most relevant and interesting to them. Students can also take advantage of subjects Mount Hutt College specialise in, such as agriculture and outdoor education. Those who enjoy skiing will also have the opportunity to join ‘Team Hutt’ this winter.’’
One of the students already over in New Zealand is Laarseeraq Thorsteinsen, having made his way here all the way from Greenland. He said it’s really good at Mount Hutt College and really likes the classes. “My host family are really supportive and have been planning experiences for me in New Zealand. In the next holidays I am going on a South Island trip with other exchange students, so I am excited about that”.
Kirsty was delighted to have the programme back up and running again after a long delay due to covid.
“We have easily filled the numbers for the homestay families we have in Methven, with some of our students even coming in by bus from Ashburton and Lake Hood.
“We are always open for new applications to join our homestay waitlist for 2024”.