Outstanding international students make a difference

International students really do make a difference, including contributing to the future of our city when they visit UC.

Students from three elite international universities – Oxford, Peking and Beihang – have visited UC in recent months to develop and present ideas on the future of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The University’s International Relationships Office is working to further strengthen connections between the city and these prestigious learning centres. Re-imagining the City of Christchurch was the challenge put to 18 students from Oxford University and 27 students from Beijing’s Peking and Beihang Universities during respective UC-hosted visits here in September 2017 and January/February 2018.

Supported through lectures, discussions and field trips, the students were encouraged to develop ideas on the city’s future. Their final presentations, attended by representatives of city agencies including Christchurch City Council, were well-received.

International Partnerships Coordinator William Shannon says the students used every minute of their short time in Ōtautahi Christchurch to engage with the city and the content of their respective courses.

“Without exception, their final proposals were outstanding.”

Emeritus Professor Eric Pawson, who helped design the students’ programmes, says their research projects were of real value, producing valuable ideas across a range of disciplines.

“One of the Oxford groups created a wonderful portfolio for a cultural trail through the residential red zone, which was subsequently incorporated into a report for Regenerate Christchurch. These things do have an impact and all the students involved benefit enormously from the experience.”

This September, the University will again host students from Oxford, reflecting the deepening bonds between the two universities. After the 2011 earthquakes, Oxford offered dozens of places to our senior scholars to spend a term studying there.

Our University has also sent groups of students to Peking University, most recently in November/December 2017. While there, students conducted research on behalf of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum and ChristchurchNZ to examine how to boost migration to Canterbury for study and work. Their final reports were well received, paving the way for future research and collaboration.