More Vietnamese students coming
International student numbers from Vietnam have burgeoned in recent years.
In 2007, 218 young Vietnamese chose to study in Wellington and that grew to 381 in 2010.
Economic development agency Grow Wellington has promoted the city in Ho Chi Minh City.
Grow Wellington chief executive Nigel Kirkpatrick said Wellington’s growth rate in students from Vietnam was the highest in New Zealand.
‘‘Some of it we can put down to our recruiting efforts.’’
Duy Dinh was studying economics at Victoria University and English at Wellington High School and his friend Tuan Tran also studied English, food technology and physics at the high school.
Duy said he pays $27,000 a year in fees and lived in a homestay in Island Bay, and Tuan lives in student accommodation in Petone.
Duy is from Hanoi and Tuan is from nearby Hai Duong and neither spoke English when they arrived.
Tuan said he chose to study in Wellington because his aunt has lived in Lower Hutt for more than 12 years.
New Zealand provides a better study environment than his home country, he said.
‘‘In Vietnam we have to study very hard but in New Zealand I have more time to relax so I find I can study better.’’
He said he has many friends at the school and plays football for the school. Tuan intends to return to Vietnam to work when he finishes his education.
Duy said he initially tried studying in the Czech Republic but did not find the locals friendly.
His sister had lived in Wellington for the past eight years and his family wanted him to come here to study.
He would like to find work in economics in New Zealand when he graduates.
The school’s dean of international students, Julia Beresford, said most Vietnamese students there were from the north, as were most Vietnamese students in Wellington.
‘‘There is that sort of network and there is also a solid migrant community here.’’
Duy and Tuan would have initiated coming to New Zealand by contacting an education agent in Hanoi to take care of the paperwork.
‘‘There were huge numbers of students coming out from Vietnam about three years ago but numbers seem to have stabilised now,’’ Ms Beresford said. ‘‘I think that is because the New Zealand dollar is very high.’’
Cong Luong is also from Hanoi originally, but his family moved to Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam when he was young.
After beginning studying economics in Ho Chi Minh City, he moved to Victoria University after 18 months.
Victoria and Ho Chi Minh have a partnership arrangement.
Last year, Cong graduated with a BCA/BSC and this year he is studying towards honours in finance.
‘‘My first choice was Switzerland but I changed my mind because it is cheaper in New Zealand,’’ he said.
‘‘New Zealand is a good country to study. It is quiet. It has a nice environment, nice people.’’
Language was initially a barrier to study, but he records lectures.
‘‘I went home and listened to them again, and repeated and repeated,’’ he said.
‘‘The more I read the material, the more I listen to the material, the more I understand it.’’
Vietnamese students also cooperate, studying together in groups.
Outside the library and the lecture theatre, Cong is president of Victoria’s Vietnamese Association, plays badminton and works parttime.
Group learning: Duy Dinh from Vietnam, Feng Zhihui from China and Sowiabh Sajwan from India.
Many heads: Shiho Kono from Japan, Tuan Tran from Vietnam and Linh Trinh, also from Vietnam, join in at an English study group at Wellington High School.