Dunedin study is 'worth it'

Otago Girls' High School international prefect Pear Sae-Lee waves the flag of her home country, Thailand. Photo: linda Robertson
Otago Girls' High School international prefect Pear Sae-Lee waves the flag of her home country, Thailand. Photo: linda Robertson
For Pear Sae-Lee, studying in Dunedin costs thousands of dollars each year, but the international pupil says it is worth every cent.

The 18-year-old Thai national has been studying at Otago Girls' High School since she was 14 and is now the school's international prefect.

She is one of the school's longest-standing international pupils, paying $14,500 each year to study.

''I came here because Otago Girls' has lots of opportunity here - lots of different subjects at different levels, and a lot of extra-curricular activities.

''In Thailand we have to do everything. We don't get to pick the subjects we like, which means we don't get to specialise in certain subjects.''

She said her parents chose to send her to New Zealand for her secondary education to improve her English, develop her leadership skills and make her more independent.

''Studying here helped me a lot. It's definitely been worth it.''

Pear is now finishing year 13 and feels sad she will be returning to Thailand.

''It's really sad because I've been here for four years and I won't be coming back to my life here.''

She now plans to study health science, medicine and biomedical engineering - not surprisingly at an overseas university.

''I'm thinking of studying in China, the United Kingdom or Thailand.''

Pear is one of the school's about 50 international pupils from countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia and Argentina.

Principal Linda Miller said their presence encouraged pupils to experience other cultures first hand and equipped them for life in the 21st century workforce.

''The international programme gives our local students the opportunity to develop tolerance, empathy and critical thinking skills required to be global citizens, which is important given our relative isolation as a country.

''Visiting students spend between three weeks and four years with us and contribute a lot while they are here.

''Our Global Leadership Programme often sees our international students speaking and presenting to local students, which can be an eye-opener for those that haven't yet had the opportunity to travel.''

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