International prefects make coming to a new school easier

Kurtis, Resa and Anne

International Prefects make coming to a new school easier
Kurtis (18) is in his final year at Spotswood College in New Plymouth. The year has been a good one and he’s embraced his role as one of the school’s three international prefects. He enjoys learning about other cultures and has been learning Japanese at school for five years. Working with Japanese students has been really helpful for improving his Japanese. “New Zealand is a long way from the rest of the world. But by engaging with students from around the world we can open our eyes to other cultures and the opportunities “, says Kurtis.

Kurtis and his fellow international prefects organise social events for international students, ensure that the student knows how to get home from school and meet all new students when they arrive at the airport. “My flight was cancelled due to bad weather and I had to bus down from Auckland. We got in late at night. But Kurtis was there waiting for the bus ready to welcome us”, says German student Anne Lesniak (18).

“Our international prefects are really wonderful”, says Spotswood College International Director, Gloria Holland. “They are really good at recognising when a student needs extra support”.  Indonesian student Reza Fahlevy (15) agrees, “My English was poor and I was shy when I arrived. Kurtis was friendly and welcoming and showed me around the school. This helped me settle in”. 

Both Anne and Reza say that having a local student as a resource to help international student settle in is a great thing for Spotswood College to be doing. Anne notes that one of her reasons for choosing the school was that it was friendly and welcoming and she knew that she would be well cared for.  The international prefect scheme was something that Spotswood College has won an ENZ pastoral care award for, and next year there will be new group of local students ready to help international students settle in.

Kurtis will continue to interact with international students after leaving school. He is off to International Pacific College in Palmerston North in 2018, where he will focus on teaching English as a second language.  After that Kurtis wants to travel and visit the friends he’s made throughout the world in their home countries. Best of luck for the future Kurtis!