The University of Auckland Celebrates Generation Study Abroad Success at the New Zealand AmCham Awards

By Ainslie Moore, Deputy Director, International Operations, University of Auckland

IIE Generation Study Abroad Logo Horizontal

The International Team at the University of Auckland is delighted to be awarded ‘highly commended’ in the bilateral relations category at the AmChamNZ Awards Gala for our work partnering with and advancing our commitment to IIE’s Generation Study Abroad (GSA) initiative. In awarding this honour, the judges acknowledged the commitment to US-NZ bilateral relations inherent in the IIE campaign’s ambition and the University’s work.

New Zealand was the first international commitment partner to join the Generation Study Abroad initiative and in doing so we committed to do our bit to help U.S. partners to double participation in learning abroad. It also enabled us to reach our own ambitious goals for learning abroad. We may be unique among commitment partners in that in joining IIE GSA, we sought to increase students heading out to study as much as supporting US students to come in. It’s been a rewarding strategy of success for us in many levels.

University of Auckland Celebrates Generation Study Abroad Success

Our strategy is built on partnerships.

We established 100 Generation Study Abroad Scholarships and distributed these to U.S. university and college partners who were fellow IIE GSA commitment partners.

We found new ways to work with existing partners like IFSA with whom we partnered to offer Upfront @ Auckland scholarships to support students for whom the upfront costs of learning abroad, things like passport and visa fees, flights and programme deposits, can prove a near insurmountable barrier to study abroad.

We formed new partnerships with organisations like Diversity Abroad and offered scholarships and travel grants to students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to come to Auckland to explore their identity in a super diverse city while studying with us. Our collaboration with Diversity Abroad has allowed us to learn from the work of U.S. universities and colleges to enable our own underrepresented students opportunities to study abroad.We’ve drafted a Māori learning abroad strategy to address this, Ko te pae tata, whakamaua, kia tīnā, Ko te pae tawhiti, whaia, kia tata. “Secure the horizons that are close to hand and pursue the more distant horizons so that they may become close.” The strategy’s ambition mirrors that of Generation Study Abroad in seeking substantial progress by 2020. The goal is that by 2020, Māori student participation in learning abroad is at parity or higher than Māori student representation within the undergraduate cohort.

While it is still early in our work, we’re closing the gap on participation between Māori students and the rest of the undergraduate participation such that 7.2% of students who had a learning abroad experience in 2018 were Māori students, up from 5.6% in 2017. Māori students make up 8% of undergraduate students at the University, indicating we are gaining on parity and on track to make our 2020 goal.

We also made some in-house changes to remove barriers to study. These included guaranteeing accommodation for study abroad students, removing study abroad students from the pre-requisite approval process and really improving our admissions processes to simplify and speed up admission and enrolment.

In this work we partnered with government also. Education New Zealand committed to platinum sponsorship of NAFSA to build profile for New Zealand. They partnered with GoOverseas in a three year project to offer Generation Study Abroad scholarships and travel grants to U.S. students for study in New Zealand.

Our Generation Study Abroad commitment has resulted in hundreds of students coming to know New Zealand and its people. In fact, we enrolled over 650 U.S. students last year in semester study, as well as innovative short programmes like ScreenTools, our practical film making course.

This award acknowledges the work of the University of Auckland, but in doing so, shines a light on the important work of IIE and our partners in the U.S.

We’re not done yet! The University continues to welcome U.S. students to our campus, to deliver innovative programming to support their success, and to help our #GenerationStudyAbroad partners reach their 2020 goals. We’ve recently been ranked number 1 in the world by The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings. These rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We’re developing programming for visiting students to learn about what we do here that makes an impact on the SDG goals and look forward to welcoming US students to join these programmes – either attached to their semester study with us, or as a shorter stand-alone study experience. We’re happy to share more about our participation in Generation Study Abroad as well as our own initiatives to make an impact and encourage learning abroad among our students.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is people, it is people, it is people

Badge Finalist Bilateral Connections

Founded in 1883, The University of Auckland is the New Zealand’s largest university with over 40,000 students, nearly 10,000 of whom graduate annually. To learn more about partnering with the University of Auckland, contact  Auckland has been an IIE Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partner since 2015. Representing an alliance of over 800 U.S. and international colleges and universities, educational associations and organizations, and country partners, these Commitment Partners have pledged strategic actions in support of the Generation Study Abroad initiative’s goal to promote equity and increase access for U.S. student participation in study abroad since 2014.