Links strengthen two years on from earthquake

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

It's now two years since the city of Adelaide bid farewell to New Zealand students affected by the earthquake in Christchurch, and the University of Adelaide and University of Canterbury continue to work together on joint opportunities for students.

Just two weeks after Adelaide's sister city Christchurch was badly damaged by an earthquake on 22 February 2011, the University of Adelaide took in 170 students from the University of Canterbury so they could continue with their studies. The Adelaide community responded, with many families offering homes for the students to stay in, and local businesses and organisations providing a range of support to make the students feel welcome.

Ryan McMahon, 22, from Christchurch, was among the students who lived and studied in Adelaide in 2011 during his second year of a Civil Engineering degree. He's now working as a worksite engineer for the company Fulton Hogan and is studying part-time.

"I loved my experience at the University of Adelaide," Ryan says. "Everyone at the University and in Adelaide generally was so helpful wherever we went - they looked after us really well. I've always thought it would be great to do another study exchange to Adelaide one day. We were fortunate to have that experience."

Since the students left Adelaide in July 2011, the University of Adelaide and University of Canterbury have maintained their relationship.

Next month, senior staff from the University of Adelaide, including Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Warren Bebbington and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Kent Anderson, will visit the University of Canterbury over two days. On 27-28 August they will meet with senior Canterbury staff and discuss opportunities for collaboration.

This follows on from another recent visit to Canterbury by the University of Adelaide's Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, and a recent visit to Adelaide from Canterbury's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Town.

"The University of Adelaide has a student exchange agreement with the University of Canterbury and we will be renewing that agreement," Professor Anderson says. "We're keen to work with Canterbury on exchange programs that are specific to certain discipline areas, such as chemistry and law, where we know there are common interests.

"The home stays offered to Canterbury students in 2011 - by University of Adelaide alumni and other members of the Adelaide community - have partially inspired our call in the new strategic plan, Beacon of Enlightenment, for an International Student Host program. This is not a 'home stay' program but one in which University alumni will engage with our large international student population," he says.

Professor Kirkpatrick, who was a guest at Canterbury's teaching and learning festival last month, says: "It was a very productive visit with extensive sharing of practice and learning from both institutions. There are multiple opportunities for collaboration."


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