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EIT Attracting More International Students

January 26, 2015
Tingting Zhang measures grapevine leaf surface in EIT’s wine laboratory.

Tingting Zhang measures grapevine leaf surface in EIT’s wine laboratory.

Marketing its educational programmes overseas is paying off for EIT, which now boasts more than 400 international students from 45 countries around the world.

In 2014, international equivalent full-time students were up nine percent on the previous year and more students enrolled for longer programmes.

EIT’s International Marketing Centre says applications for this year’s programmes are also tracking strongly but actual figures won’t be available until enrolments are finalised in mid-February.

In particular, there has been a significant increase in applications from India, one of the countries EIT has made a focus for its marketing efforts in recent years. The tertiary educator hopes the applications will convert into enrolments.

“EIT’s German student population has grown to 17 students in 2014 from five in 2013. We have four partnerships with German institutions and two EIT students have gone to Germany as part of an exchange programme,” said Philippa Jones, International Director.

Tingting Zhang came to New Zealand from China to study at EIT, where she now works as a research technician for the Centre of Viticulture and Wine.

From Hubei province, Tingting gained a business degree in Nanjing and then worked in Beijing for three years. She travelled around New Zealand because she wanted to have a look at the country.

“I came to Hawke’s Bay and really liked this region. I looked for a study major and I thought wine science would be interesting and very different from what I had previously done.”

Tingting enrolled for EIT’s two-year Diploma in Wine Science in 2010. Lacking a science background and struggling with spoken and written English, she initially found it hard-going.    It helped, she says, that the study centred on practical learning in the vineyard, laboratory and winery.

“I’d never heard all the wine and viticulture terms before, even in Chinese. It was quite interesting.”

For her first five months she was in homestay accommodation but because she prefers to cook for herself, she decided she wanted to live more independently.

Sometimes she felt lonely, she says, but it helped that she had a Chinese boyfriend, Shawn Liu, who recently also graduated from EIT, in his case with a Diploma in Design Technology. Shawn is now employed by an architectural design company in Ahuriri.

After completing her diploma, Tingting moved to Marlborough for four months to work as a vintage cellarhand at Delegat’s Oyster Bay winery. She was then offered the full-time research position at EIT.

“I feel I was quite lucky. I’m lucky to be back in Hawke’s Bay, I like the weather here, and lucky to have an interesting job.  Having worked in a big city in China, I enjoy what the Hawke’s Bay region offers.”