They are the first large group to arrive since the COVID-19 pandemic began and Will Tregidga, Head of International Development at NMIT says it has been a long two and half years.
“With many of the students already having studied online with NMIT while overseas, the excitement and anticipation amongst the cohort for studying in New Zealand is incredibly high,” he says.
“Twenty-three students are from a Japanese partner university and were able to travel to New Zealand on visitor visas for short-term study here, but the majority of the other 38 students secured student visas as a part of a border exception cohort prior to student visa processing resuming on the 1 August.”
Rinko Shinkai (18) and Miyabi Kido (20) from Fukuoka, Japan are enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) pathway programme with NMIT.
Both women intend to continue studying next year for a Bachelor of Information Technology and Diploma, respectively.
It’s purely coincidental they both chose to come to NMIT for their undergraduate studies. They admit they only knew a few things about New Zealand before they came— sheep, nature, kiwifruit, safety, and kind, friendly people.
Since she has been at NMIT, Rinko has been amazed at the assistance available for learners, including the three Japanese support staff and the range of great events for students.
She wants to improve her English as her focus is a career as an information technology professional.
“In the future I want to work for an international company, so the Bachelor of Information Technology at NMIT will set me up for this through the skills I will develop in the industry-focussed, small class sizes,” says Rinko.
COVID-19 restrictions meant Miyabi had to wait patiently for over a year to enrol with NMIT.
She too cites the friendly Nelson community as a major attraction, as well as the good level of safety in the Nelson community.
“I was looking for a place similar to the environment where I studied in middle and high school in Japan, and I found Nelson,” she says. “Also, I like the name of the city, Sunny Nelson!”
Rinko and Miyabi keep up with family and friends via facetime, but both admit to missing Japanese food. However, their kiwi cuisine favourites so far are hokey pokey ice cream and sausage rolls.