Updated: Sep 30, 2018
The cultural ambassador programme at Te Aroha College is providing students at all levels the opportunity to lead by example when hosting international students at their school. Students are involved in all aspects of the orientation and induction programme, assisting the visitors when they arrive, arranging inclusive activities throughout their time in the country and being models of the culturally intelligent behaviours Te Aroha College is trying to foster throughout the entire student body.
Today, we were able to draw upon the expertise of one of our own long term international students, who demonstrated and explained the cultural differences and expectations of greeting someone from her home country Thailand, in preparation for hosting a large number of Thai students at the beginning of next term. Role play, reenactment and practice of cultural protocol enables students to feel confident in new situations, with their new buddies so that when they arrive next term everyone is prepared to be great hosts.
Students will be involved from the onset teaching our international visitors about New Zealand customs, protocol, arts and sports and about this proud provincial town that sits under the towering Mount Te Aroha. Student led programmes are constantly being adapted and reviewed for each new group that comes to visit Te Aroha College and students are at the heart of the planning and delivery.
Five of the group have been selected to become cultural representatives on a trip to Taiwan later this year. Through this experience students will gain a greater understanding of what it is like for international students coming to New Zealand, and in turn develop empathy and cultural sensitivity from their own experience travelling overseas to bring back to Te Aroha for future cultural encounters.