April 12, 2012
While catching up on my backlog of newspaper and magazine articles, my eyes caught sight of this headline in this piece from April 2, 2012 in the NYT: ”New Zealand Casts Itself as Destination for International Students.”.
It seems that our friends in the island country in the south Pacific have a great plan to attract and retain international students. While we here in the U.S. tighten our borders, implement stringent visa requirements for international students, increase tuition fees, and put more pressure on our college administrators to become part of the bureaucracy known as SEVIS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), our counterparts in New Zealand are doing the exact opposite.
In fact, the government in New Zealand has embarked on a strategy of reducing tuition fees for international students, and making it easier for students from countries like India and China to apply for visas. Their immigration department has opened offices in India, China and Hong Kong that serve as application centers to help students applying for visas. They are even, as stated in the NYT article “enticing students to stay on after they graduate by offering a one-year graduate job search visa. If the student finds a job relevant to their qualification, they are then eligible to apply for a graduate work experience visa for up to three years.” Given these perks, why would anyone in their right mind turn down an offer for a hassle-free student visa application, lower tuition and the prospect of employment after graduation? Not to mention, with a population of about 4.4 million, and blessed with spectacular natural beauty, New Zealand is an ideal place to seek serenity and a peace of mind.
Just this morning, on my way to work, I heard on the radio news of two international students from China who were shot dead in their car while parked outside the campus of a well-known private university here in Los Angeles. This is, according to LAPD, the fourth such shooting in this particular area.
In the words of a second year international student from Vietnam studying for her bachelor’s degree in commerce and administration at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand is not only cheaper “than Switzerland” but the country has “less people…it’s quiet and peaceful…its affordable.” Heck, if I were an international student, I’d pick New Zealand over Britain, Australia and the U.S. in a heart-beat.
The Frustrated Evaluator