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Waihī College will roll out the welcome mat for international students next year. Photo: SUPPLIED

International students return to Waihī

After a year without international students, Waihī College is preparing to roll out the welcome mat for overseas pupils, beginning in January, 2023.
But in order to give the students a sought-after Kiwi educational experience, host families are needed to come on board.
The college’s international director Shelley McArthur-Dye has put the word out that the school has reopened its doors to overseas students, and already, nine teenagers are set to arrive from countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and Germany in January, with a further four arriving in June.
Shelley said the outdoors, as well as the college’s good educational reputation, attracted international students to stay in the Hauraki.
“They really love the outdoor experience, and funnily enough, there are a few of them coming through that have connections to New Zealand in some way; either their siblings have been here or a family member has been here,” she said.
“A handful are interested in Māori culture, while some are coming for the Kiwi experience, and a lot like the idea of being close to a beach.”
To complement the incoming arrivals, host families are needed to provide housing for the students while they are in the country.
Shelley said being a host family was “a wonderful opportunity to be a tourist in your own backyard”.
“It’s about building those memories for your family and international students, as well as being introduced to new cultures. It can also build life-long friendships,” she said.
“A lot of host families that I talk to say they still stay in contact with the students.”
Hosts do receive weekly payments, and there are no prerequisites to apply, but family members over the age of 18 must be police vetted.
Host families also receive helpful guidelines about the process.
Shelley said the return of international students to the college marked an exciting chapter following the past two years of Covid-19 restrictions.
“It’s bringing back some normality. New Zealand is open for business again and it’s good for the school to have some diversity back in,” she said.
“The school is looking forward to it and the international students are excited, as well.”
DETAILS: If you’ve ever considered hosting an international student, please contact Shelley at or phone 021 2787 519.