education.govt.nz

Shared role expected to bring benefits

Issue: Volume 94, Number 5

Posted: 23 March 2015
Reference #: 1H9cqi

2 international students and a teacher

“We have been in the international student market for over 23 years. What we find works well for us is having a full time international director – that one port of call helps agents, students and parents,” says Yvonne Browning, principal of Southland Girls’ High School.

“Southland Girls High School and Southland Boys High School are not in competition with each other and we see major benefits in sharing an international director. There may be economies of scale to be achieved through joint promotions and marketing material, and by sharing systems and processes we will create better practice for both schools.”

Ian Baldwin, rector of Southland Boys’ High School, says their more than 20 years of experience in international education has taught them that it is important to develop mutually beneficial relationships with students and parents.

“We’ve had to become much more professional in our approach and commit real resource to building these relationships. I realised that we needed a person dedicated to the necessary 24/7 pastoral care of students along with agent-school and parent-school relationships,” says Ian.

Carolyn Davies is that person and she agrees with Ian about the dedication required to be a successful international director.

“International education is more than a job; it is part of your life – a passion. Many of the agents and school staff are like family and my parents now have many international ‘children’ and ‘grandchildren’. I often have agents asking, ‘can I stay at mum and dads?’ If they don’t stay there, the first thing they do when they arrive is ring up and book in for a roast lamb dinner.

“When the opportunity arose for me to take up the DIS role at Southland Boys High School it was a natural fit. If you are going to talk to an agent about an opportunity you know the agent represent girls as well as boys – so it makes sense,” says Carolyn.

Carolyn says feedback from agents supports the decision by Ian and Yvonne to follow this path.

“The role will include agent liaison, coordination of accommodation placements for the students, marketing, holiday and weekend programmes and some new things like setting up an international Facebook page for Southland Boys High School,” says Carolyn.

Southland Girls High School currently has over 25 international students from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Germany and Yvonne is excited to soon see some students coming from Chile and Korea.

Southland Boys High School has fewer students but is looking for growth.

“While our numbers are relatively low at 12 students, Carolyn and I fully expect a 50 per cent increase within a year, just through the obvious synergies,” says Ian.

Carolyn will continue to be based at Southland Girls’ but will now be the first point of contact for both schools.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 4:12 pm, 23 March 2015

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