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International Event Gets Big Numbers

A small orientation for international students ended up with double the expected number of students in attendance.

AUTSA’s International Affairs Officer Divya Kataria felt compelled to hold the event when she learned AUT did not organise an orientation exclusively for international students.

“A lot of students in the past two weeks have been coming to me asking about things and complaining that they’re lost and don’t know anything.” Kataria says she decided it would be nice to hold a small orientation so that some of the international students could have questions answered and meet people from their own country.

It is understood that around 65 students attended the evening, which focused on practical information and Kataria says it also helped students to make connections with one another.

“I think a lot of people became friends and left together. It was nice to get people who are feeling the same thing together.”

Kataria says one of the biggest challenges faced by international students is the difference in education systems between New Zealand and other countries. “People coming from India, for example, are more theoretically based. We don’t do a lot of team projects so when someone from India comes here they do not always know how to approach someone or how to blend in.”

She says it’s important to help these students learn how the New Zealand education system works and what to expect from their chosen industry.

Kataria says she feels she can relate to AUT’s international students on a deeper level, as she felt a similar way to them when she arrived in New Zealand.

“I understand how hard it can be to start from scratch in a new country where you don’t know anyone or have a single friend. You don’t even have your parents.” Kataria says she wants to get more international students involved and out of their shells and help them all to become a part of the community.

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