Filipino Student Group formed at CPIT
Moving to a new country can be daunting, but luckily CPIT international students from the Philippines can now take advantage of having a ready-made family when they come to study in Christchurch.
Two CPIT students, Jessica Pelayo and May Garcia, originally from the Philippines, have formed a Filipino Student Group, to support people of their culture who choose to live and study in Christchurch.
"We've been talking about it since the start of the year, because we'd heard that a number of Filipino students needed to make contacts," Garcia said.
"It's hard when you come to a new country. You don't know anyone, communication can be a problem, and it can be very hard for some people," Pelayo added.
Cultural shyness was an issue for some Filipino people, they said.
Pelayo, 20, a CPIT Information Communication Technology degree student, and Garcia, 23, studying to be a laboratory technician in her CPIT Applied Science course, recently decided to register their informal social group, which had grown to 26 members.
"International students can now have an instant family," Pelayo said.
In forming the group, she had drawn on her experience as a newcomer to New Zealand, when she led an overseas students' club while attending Ashburton College.
Garcia also had six years living in New Zealand, which had given her the skills to help support other Filipino students.
"We play, study and eat together and we motivate each other, especially during exam study time," she said.
CPIT Student Voice representative Jo Carter said the group was completely student-initiated and led.
"Jess and May were naturally connecting with fellow Filipino students and began meeting in the library initially. Their group began growing so they decided to formalise the group. They found student groups information online and submitted to register the group. They also asked for a regular room, which we have booked so they can meet."
Their advice to international students or Filipinos coming to CPIT was to go to admissions and find out what they can join, to get a sense of belonging.
"Christchurch is a friendly place, and its also a great place to bump into people," Pelayo said.
To mark their newly-formed status, the group was planning to hold a Filipino language week in August.
International and domestic students wishing to connect with the group should check out the facebook page.