During New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown, we knew it was important to stay connected to students. While we weren’t together on campus, UCOL had extensive student support services in place working long distance. Cam Lock, our Senior Student Success Advisor, produced a video to keep students informed, and encourage them to get in touch with us.
UCOL takes its responsibilities to the NZQA Educational Code of Practice very seriously – it’s about us making sure that our international students are safe and well-informed.
The first action that our international team took was to get in touch with each student for a welfare check. This occurred through phone, and was followed up by text and email messages. We checked in on students’ wellbeing, if they were feeling anxious, if the lockdown had affected their income/work/accommodation, and if they needed consulate support.
Based on our discussions, we identified which students needed to be checked in on repeatedly (those isolating alone) and gathered common questions. These were turned into our International Frequently Asked Questions document.
For ongoing communication, we’ve used Facebook, WhatsApp and WeChat to connect with students, and help them connect with each other. We are also working with our international student mentors (an ongoing programme) to create positive, student-led initiatives.
We made sure that students knew about the UCOL’s Student Success team, who continued to offer learning assistance, employment and financial advice, and counselling services.
Cam Lock is also a member of the International Education Association, and helped lead sessions where organisations around the country shared the solutions they were developing, and brainstorming best practice options.
International Student Coordinator
Phone: +64 6 952 7001 extn 70213
Mobile: +64 21 324 826