The Abuse Of International Students

“International students are worth $2 billion annually to the economy. “If you want to put it crudely, they are seen only as cash cows,” said Professor Manying Ip, a professor of Asian studies at Auckland University.” (source)

Dr Ip is a respected advocate for Chinese communities living in New Zealand. She was awarded a Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993 and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996.

In 2004 she co-directed New Faces Old Fears, a television documentary exploring racism, multiculturalism and social cohesion in New Zealand. In late 2008, she was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of Humanities (FNZAH) in recognition of her distinction in research and the advancement of the humanities.” (source)

“International students are vital to the NZ economy. They support 45,000 jobs, pay more than $600 million in direct fees and the travel and tourism industry further benefits from their visiting friends and families.

Professor Ip says the value of international students are being equated by schools to getting a new IT room or a swimming pool, rather than any of the non-monetary benefits they bring.

Even local students feel uncomfortable in the presence of too many international students, another academic says…” (source)

So with students being worth so much you’d think they’d be well looked after in New Zealand wouldn’t you and that they’d return home with glowing accounts of their wonderful sojourn, encouraging family and friends to emigrate or holiday in New Zealand. You may be disturbed to hear that for many students the reality is very different.

The message was left by Annie who responded to our blog post “New Zealand is turning into a really racist country.” She worked with international students in New Zealand and was deeply ashamed by the treatment they received:

I worked with international students a few years ago and some of the experiences of my students really opened my eyes to an underbelly of New Zealand society I had never encountered.

Quite frankly, it made me deeply ashamed.

There were the stories of random attacks on teenage boys for no other reason than they were Asian, or on teenage girls being elbowed, bullied, shouted out, sexually assaulted and told to go home, get off the bus, there’s the airport etc and those were just some of them.

And then there were the stories of students fainting in class because they were being starved by their host “families” or living in rooms with mould that I wouldn’t put a pet in and not allowed to turn the heater on to keep them warm.

Over the years I would have taught about 300 students and all of them had had racist experiences here and some that should have been criminalised.

International students pay good money for their education, board etc and when they get here their treatment is appalling. Telling people to leave or get over it ignores and minimises the truly bad behaviour and attitudes that occur in NZ by NZers to people from overseas.

The flip side is people should act decently toward other human beings and then people will want to stay – not leave. People take their experiences of a country wherever they go and I can only imagine some of the stories that they told their parents, grand parents, relations, friends, family friends etc when they got back. Where did our tolerance, values and sense of decency go in just making an effort with guests to our countries?”

Interested in reading for this subject? then study:

1. All posts tagged International Students

2. Our Education and Children facts and stats page, which includes information such as:

  • New Zealand universities have slipped in the latest international rankings. Only the University of Auckland has made it onto the top 100 list for this year’s QS World University Rankings this week (8 Sept 2010) It came in at 68th, way ahead of the University of Otago at 135th and the distant last, the University of Waikato at 316th. All the universities have slid over the year, except Wellington’s Victoria University.” Read more on Stuff
  • The education ministry is one of the worst-performing government departments, according to a report card ranking state agencies and bosses. The report found excessive red tape, bureaucratic systems and ineffective consultation are hampering government departments. The Education Ministry came bottom of the rankings for overall performance, chief executive performance, and quality of service. It was called “ineffective and too politically correct“, as it played a “piggy in the middle” role in the introduction of national standards.

3 thoughts on “The Abuse Of International Students

  1. I know how homesick I was just going from my hometown, Timaru, to attend university in Hamilton at Waikato University. I can only imagine how these international students must feel coming from another country only to be treated in this negative way when they are trying to come to grips with leaving home, studying in a foreign land where the expectations are probably vastly different to their homelands and making new friends.
    New Zealander’s of a few generations ago would not have behaved in this way. Our culture has become too imbued with the Maori warrior ethos, something that should have died when this race laid down their green stone mere and admitted defeat to the European in the 1800’s.
    Unfortunately the half caste Maori descendents have inherited the worst features of both the European and Maori cultures and they hate any one they consider is a different race to them. Unfortunately the white trash descendents of the early European settlers think and act in the same way.
    If I was an Asian parent, I would never send my child to be educated in New Zealand, especially if they were students at tertiary level. As this article indicates, they are just being ripped off financially and treated abominably when they get here. It’s actually an international disgrace that needs to be addressed at government level. However, the political arena being what it is I don’t see that happening when one considers that the political parties here are pandering for votes, thus at this level it is not what is just and fair but what secures votes from the populace which is important. This is the dilemma of all democracies and more so in New Zealand where the voting public is small.
    New Zealand needs to be held answerable for its treatment of international students in front of the entire world, in fact I think the country needs to be reported to the United Nations and held accountable for this disgrace!

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