Wednesday 2 March 2011 1:53pm
In the aftermath of last week’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch, the University of Otago is taking a number of measures to support Canterbury and Lincoln University students who have been affected.
A particular focus since late last week has been assisting with the relocation of international students from Christchurch to Dunedin. Otago has responded to a request from Canterbury to assist, particularly with single semester study abroad and exchange students.
At this point, the University of Otago has committed to taking more than 50 students and a number of them are already settling in and starting classes in Dunedin. Enquiries are continuing to come in, both from individual students and from overseas partner institutions seeking alternative programmes.
Otago is also one of three universities liaising with Canterbury about an exchange scheme initiative for other full-degree international students for this semester. This scheme will see Canterbury students come to Otago for a single semester of study, after which they will return to Canterbury. The papers they pass at Otago will contribute to their University of Canterbury qualification.
Professor Sarah Todd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) says the University of Otago is providing assistance and support in several ways for international students.
“Many of those arriving are visibly upset and we are very aware that they will need additional support well beyond their first few days in Dunedin,” says Professor Todd.
“We are doing everything possible to support the students and make sure they have a settled and positive experience at Otago, and in New Zealand. As well as streamlining their admission applications, we are working closely with Accommodation Services and agencies such as Immigration New Zealand to ensure that students are resettled as quickly as possible,” says Professor Todd.
Also, orientation sessions are being run daily by staff in the International Office and advisers will be following up with each student on an ongoing basis.
On Tuesday 8 March a group of over 100 students from Lincoln University will be accommodated overnight in Dunedin by the University of Otago. The group of students is touring around the South Island, as their own accommodation is currently being used by people working in the rescue and recovery operation in Christchurch.
A limited number of domestic students have made enquiries about transferring to Otago and some have already arrived in Dunedin. The expectation is that students will be coming here on an interim basis, though it is not yet clear at what point in time a return to Canterbury or Lincoln will be possible.
All students coming to Otago, whether international or domestic, are receiving assistance with finding accommodation, and enhanced student support appropriate to their circumstances.
For updated information about the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which is currently closed because of the earthquake, please refer to our website at:
The Dunedin and Wellington campuses of the University of Otago are not affected.