Study at CPIT for Saudi scholarship winner
Saudi student Mazen Al-Najmi, who won a social media scholarship to attend CPIT, likes it here so much that he's keen to continue his electrical engineering studies at the institute.
Based in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, Al-Najmi, 23, won a social media competition #WhyNewZealand, which was organised by the Saudi Arabia and New Zealand governments in a joint initiative to promote study links between the two countries.
Scholarships were awarded to eight recipients to attend various institutes around the country. Students received full academic support to study in New Zealand for up to four months, including return flights to New Zealand sponsored by Singapore Airlines.
Al-Najmi is taking a four week break from his Saudi engineering studies to do a CPIT English course to improve his language skills.
"I'm getting much better at understanding kiwis. At first I was understanding about 50 per cent of what people say, because kiwi's speak fast, but everyone has been so friendly and nice. I'd really like to come back when I finish my electrical engineers studies, in about one year."
The Saudi Gazette reported that New Zealand Ambassador Hamish MacMaster presented the awards at a recent ceremony in Riyadh.
McMaster said the competition had been a great success, with more than 2,400 entrants promoting New Zealand on the dedicated Arabic-language Twitter and Facebook channels – @nzeducationsa. These social media pages now had more than 21,000 followers, where students could "find out how great it is to study in New Zealand", he said.
The gazette also reported that more than 3,500 Saudi students travel to study at New Zealand's universities and institutions each year, and that they were studying toward a wide range of qualifications including engineering, business administration, and information technology and air-traffic control.
Saudi citizens do not need a visa to visit New Zealand for up to 12 weeks.