“Study Dunedin” enforces image that no one does anything but study here

New brand to entice foreign students to bring the monies here

The Dunedin City Council is launching a new brand in the hopes of combating decreasing international enrolment numbers. Study Dunedin, or Project Export Education Uplift, is one of six projects launched within Dunedin City Council’s Economic Development Strategy, designed to re-brand the region in the hopes of attracting more international students.

The Otago region’s international student numbers record a 4.2 per cent decline from 2013. The decline comes despite a national eight per cent increase in student enrolments.

Pro-Vice Chancellor International Helen Nicholson lists several reasons for the current decline in international numbers, including “the strong NZ dollar,” “the reduction of international students at Dunedin high schools,” and “the loss of contracts with some overseas governments.” In addition, Nicholson states “countries that historically sent their students overseas are now becoming credible providers of international education.”

DCC’S Export Education Co-ordinator Sarah Gauthier agrees there are “multi-faceted reasons” why Dunedin’s international student numbers have remained at “low to nil growth.” Loss of numbers from “traditional source markets” like Malaysia, due to a decrease in the availability of government scholarships, are partly to blame. In reaction, Gauthier claims the strategy aims to “engage more deeply” with alternative overseas markets such as China and Thailand.

Gauthier asserts the re-branding strategy is “about telling the world why and how Dunedin is New Zealand’s First City for Education.”

“Aimed at international students and their advisers,” states Gauthier, “Study Dunedin will help to tell Dunedin’s story as a fantastic study destination and source of expertise to the world.”

Nicholson, who also sits on the Study Dunedin advisory board, states the University is “actively working” with the DCC on promotion of Study Dunedin, and believes the re-branding “can only be positive” for the University. Nicholson further applauds Study Dunedin’s emphasis on the close “town and gown relationship.”

“We are working with Sarah [Gauthier] to promote pathways for international students from high school through to degrees and employment.”

Study Dunedin was launched in conjunction with five other projects, including Project Offshore, a programme designed to “demonstrate, extend and augment Dunedin’s global recognition” with prospective international students in Thailand, China, and South America.

Earlier last week, Gauthier and Immigration NZ held a two-hour information session for international students, providing guidance on becoming “Job Ready,” and opportunities for employment in New Zealand.

The brand is set to develop over web, print and film – “to present and position Dunedin as New Zealand’s first city for students and education.” Gauthier is hopeful these brand assets will be ready for launch in late November.
This article first appeared in Issue 22, 2014.
Posted 11:52pm Sunday 7th September 2014 by Emily Draper.