Strong leadership skills are particularly poignant at a time of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has proven to be one of the most efficient and capable leaders as she announced New Zealand has won the battle against COVID-19 while many other countries, with bigger and better resources, flounder.
As of May 5, New Zealand has reported zero confirmed cases and 26 recoverees of Covid-19. The country has also recently eased movement restrictions from level four to level three.
This is not the 39-year-old Prime Minister’s first master class in how leaders should respond to crises.
She first showed her tenacity when she showed sincere compassion in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019 and took swift action to ban mass killing weapons within days of the brutal terrorist attack.
When a volcano eruption devastated White Island last December, killing 27, Ardern was seen hugging first responders and gave a compassionate speech that also addressed the country on the situation, resources and plans. Again, the praises came in for her the world over.
How a leader responds to such horrors is a sign that international students should not ignore.
A leader as good as Ardern at the helm solidifies the country’s reputation as a safe, stable and welcoming country — making it a top choice for international students looking to study abroad in New Zealand when the COVID-19 storm has blown past.
A woman waits for her order outside a small shop on the first day of the easing of restrictions in Wellington on April 28, 2020, following the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. New Zealanders satisfied their cravings for hamburgers and coffee as a five-week lockdown eased on April 28, amid hopes the South Pacific nation has the coronavirus under control. Source: Marty Melville/AFP
When it comes to helping international students impacted by COVID-19, New Zealand’s leadership and policies stand in stark contrast to its neighbour Australia.
International students in New Zealand who have lost jobs due to the pandemic are included in the Wage Subsidy Scheme, a federal programme to ensure workers continue to receive an income, and stay connected to their employer, even if they are unable to work.
Although universities and states in Australia are offering emergency support for international students, they were largely left out of federal packages — made worse by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s message to tell them to go back home if they can’t afford to stay.
Phil Honeywood, who heads the International Education Association of Australia, recently told THE that Morrison’s comments were “interpreted in the worst possible way by international students and their families and agents” and that Australia should look to New Zealand and Canada “which are providing much more support to overseas students”.
New Zealand: A winning combo of picturesque, welcoming & inspiring
Representatives of the Niue Aotearoa Community wait for the arrival of Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Mt Roskill War Memorial in Auckland on November 18, 2019. New Zealand still holds true to its roots and the unique indigenous Maori culture is still celebrated today. Source: Michael Bradley/AFP
While sometimes overshadowed by Australia, New Zealand should not be overlooked as a potential study abroad destination.
Besides being a safe and welcoming country with friendly locals, it’s a place where natural “beauty doesn’t stop” — and Ardern is fighting to keep it that way.
Last year, she made headlines for passing landmark legislation with regards to climate change in a bit to make New Zealand mostly carbon-neutral.
The Zero Carbon Bill set a “net-zero target for almost all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and creates an independent Climate Change Commission to steer government policy,” according to The Diplomat.
Additionally, Ardern’s liberal government has made a promise to plant at least one billion trees over the next decade and that the electricity grid will run entirely on renewable energy by 2035.
Kiwis love sports and the outdoors. You’ll be able to enjoy leisurely bike rides and take in gorgeous sights when you study abroad in New Zealand. Source: Shutterstock
High-quality academics when you study abroad in New Zealand
Study abroad in New Zealand and you’ll not only enjoy clean air and lush greenery, but also receive your education at a top-notch institution.
All eight universities in New Zealand are featured in the QS World University Rankings 2019, noted as “a particularly impressive feat when you consider the country’s population is only around 4.7 million.”
Looking to study abroad when lockdown measures are eased and you can travel safely again? New Zealand should be on your list — especially with Ardern leading its way.
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