University of Otago aiding affected students

In the aftermath of last week's earthquake, the University of Otago is taking several measures to support Canterbury and Lincoln University students who have been affected.

Since late last week, Otago University has been helping with the relocation of international students from Christchurch to Dunedin.

A limited number of domestic students had also made inquiries about transferring to Otago and some had already arrived in Dunedin.

Otago University had responded to a request from the University of Canterbury to help with international students, particularly single semester study abroad and exchange students.

The university had agreed to take more than 50 students.

Otago had also liaised with Canterbury about an exchange scheme initiative this semester, under which full degree international students at Canterbury would come to Otago for a single semester of study, and then return to Canterbury.

The papers they passed at Otago would contribute to their Canterbury University qualification.

Otago international pro-vice-chancellor Prof Sarah Todd said many of the international students arriving from Christchurch were "visibly upset" and staff were "very aware they will need additional support well beyond their first few days in Dunedin".

As well as streamlining their admission applications, the university's international office was working closely with university accommodation services and agencies such as Immigration New Zealand to ensure students were resettled as quickly as possible.

Early next week a group of more than 100 students from Lincoln University will be accommodated overnight in Dunedin by Otago University.

The students were touring around the South Island, as their own accommodation was being used by people working in the rescue and recovery operation in Christchurch.

Canterbury University announced yesterday up to 500 undergraduate students would be given the opportunity to spend one semester at the University of Adelaide in Australia, NZPA reported.

The students would not be charged any additional fees but would have to pay for their accommodation.

Canterbury University vice-chancellor Rod Carr said while a semester abroad was a fantastic opportunity for a small number of students, many others also needed support.

"Recognising that some of our buildings may take a little time to access for their structural integrity, and that we already know that some of those spaces will not be available to us, we are today commissioning the build of 8000sq m of single-storey space on the university oval," he said.

The new buildings would be functional in eight weeks, with spaces for lectures, seminars, study groups and staff offices.

Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology (CPIT) chief executive Kay Giles said the organisation's situation was "challenging" as most of the campus was located within the central city cordon.

CPIT students would be given the opportunity to go to other tertiary providers if need be.

Lincoln University is expected to be fully operational by March 14.

 

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