St Mark's International Students

At St Mark’s we offer support services for our International students and their families, under the guidance of Mrs Eleanor Harkness, Director of Admissions/Director of International Students.

Haoran Hu

(International Student at St Mark’s 2016-2018)

Hi Everyone, my name is Haoran Hu. As a previous international student at St Mark’s, I would like to talk about the time I have spent at this school and why I love it.

12 February 2016, was the day that I landed in New Zealand, back then I did not know how to speak English, I was ten thousand kilometres from my home country and I knew I was going to be alone. But the first day I arrived at St Mark’s, I realised I was so warmly welcomed and being taken care of. I couldn’t believe that everyone tried so hard to communicate with me, every teacher said hi to me when they saw me in school and helped me to know the place better, even though I had no English.

From there on, I started to have so much confidence and started to speak to everyone in English. I love St Mark’s because it started me off in New Zealand with a warm welcome.

The teachers at St Mark’s knew that I needed extra help with my language – my ESOL teacher spoke to me in a soft voice and helped me to understand – this made me feel safe within the environment.

When I was at St Mark’s I found the thing I will love for my entire life, music. In started learning the drums in May 2016 and practiced hard and joined the rock band and the jazz band as well! The Director of Music, Ms Anya Nazaruk taught me all the way through and the progress I made with her is huge!

Lastl, I want to say thank you to St Mark’s. I have learned so much within the years that I spent at the school, I cannot describe using my words how different I am now to myself back in 2016. I learned every day, I improved every minute, and I changed into a better self within the time at St Mark’s. As a previous international student here at St Mark’s, I welcome every new international student to come and join this wonderful community.

I love St Mark’s and I will love it forever, because this is the place where you will step onto the path of your future.

Mrs Jenny Wu

mother to Tony, Year 2 and Eason, Year 6.

In 2018, we made an important decision that moving to New Zealand to study and live. Although we have travelled around NZ for two times, it was still unpredictable that what would happen in the future.

We chose St Mark’s for our boys for two reasons – our friends recommended it to us and the tuition fee is reasonable and suitable. After a whole year study there, we found that our initial choice was so wonderful.

To be honest, we were worried about our older son, because he is a quiet boy and not easy to make friends with his peers. However, the first term we came NZ (only after two months in the new school), there was a camp in his year 5. Not similar with Chinese spring travelling or autumn travelling, camp here means the kids leave their parents and spend several days with their classmates and teachers outside. We thought it was a big challenge and concerned about everything. But, there was a surprise that he got a prize during the camp period and it was about communication. It was really unexpectable, and we thought it was also because of the encouragement and kindness from his teachers and classmates. Personally, I think the environment in St Mark’s is quite well, the principals and teachers are enthusiasm and supportive, and the parents are also very kind.

Speaking of the little brother, we were not so worried about him, because he is an outgoing boy. But he didn’t know English, he needed the help from other Chinese-kiwi classmates to interpret. However, he didn’t think it was a difficulty because he was so happy at school. Also because there were so many activities at school which need a lot of communication between the kids, his English improved so quickly.

Some parents may have concerns that there will be a lot of difficulties as their children are not good at English. With my experience, you really don’t need worry about this. There are ESOL class, which is extra English lesson, for international students. In addition, all the classes in St Mark’s are so interesting, students can learn with joy and gain the knowledge because of understanding, which is totally different from Chinese teaching style.

The two boys love their school so much, they even didn’t want to go home earlier. Once, the older brother was sick and we had to pick him up earlier. There was only one hour left before school finish, so we picked the younger brother as well. It was unbelievable that he cried all the way
because he didn’t want to go home. The next day, the older brother was better, and he didn’t want to stay at home as well. But when we were in China, they were so happy to escape from school due to the illness.

The support of St Mark’s for international students not only in studying, but also in every aspect of live. For example, the deputy principal visited every international student’s family once per term to know about the environment they live and ask if they have any difficulty. Also, all the international students have lunch together once a week, they can communicate with each other and if they have any question or difficulty, they can ask the teacher who is in the charge of them.

Although they have been in St Mark’s just one year, our children love their school so much. Now, if somebody ask them “Do you want to go back China to study?” Definitely, they will answer you “NO!”.