International Student Wellbeing Strategy 2019/20 funding

Find out about the International Student Wellbeing Strategy and the projects being funded across New Zealand.

2019/20 funding

This funding comes from the Export Education Levy for projects to support the outcomes of the International Student Wellbeing Strategy.

The Ministry of Education has allocated a limited amount of funding to support initiatives that align with its mission and strategic priorities.

Funding is available through small grants and large grants.

ISWS Funding Guidance for applicants

About the Strategy

The International Student Wellbeing Strategy is designed to protect and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as a safe and welcoming study destination.

The strategy’s vision is for all international students to feel welcome, safe and well, enjoy a high quality education and are valued for their contribution to New Zealand.

2019/20 funded initiatives

2020 funding was allocated to 21 projects across New Zealand

We held our third funding round under the Strategy in the second half of 2019. The theme for the funding round was diversity and inclusion chosen in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.

Projects were selected by international education sector representatives including students, communities, education provider and government representatives. This year we created a small (under $15,000) and large funding steam (over $15,000) to ensure a diversity in applicants and scope of initiatives. Seven projects from the small and fourteen from the large funding stream were selected to receive funding in 2020. 





Small fund (under $15k)                  

Eastern Institute of Technology

Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, Gisborne

Peer-mentoring model for international students; using senior international students to guide new international students through the process of settling in and adapting to student life in New Zealand.


University of Canterbury


Many international students come from countries where rivers and coastlines are gentle or not very accessible, where driving can be different and access and use of the great outdoors is much less part of regular life. This initiative offers safety certification courses to engage in New Zealand’s society and environment.




An innovative online game that introduces international students to Māori Tikanga and an understanding of biculturalism in New Zealand.


Westlake Boys High School


Raising student wellbeing through a parenting support project for international student residential caregivers.


Study Northland


Global citizenship ambassador program that will initially work with international and domestic students providing opportunities for them to strongly connect with Northland’s culture, environment and community.


Universal College of Learning

Palmerston North

An evidence-based facilitated, educational, social and peer-to-peer support network (exchange network) for international students to improve health outcomes, and avoid feelings of loneliness and social isolation. A key component of ‘The Exchange Network’ is the monthly facilitated workshops, information sessions and seminars.


Wellington College


Over the last few years the Wellington International Student Association (ISA) has reached out to the wider Wellington region to include and provide activities for international students from other schools. The funding will help the association roll out its organisation to collaborate as a regional high school ISA. The core focus of the association is to support and promote diversity and understanding by making connections throughout the community.


Large fund (over $15k)                                                                                     

ISANA year 3


ISANA assist those directly and professionally engaged in the provision of international education services by providing networking and information exchange, facilitating professional development, building links and connections and recognising the interests and rights of international students.


Canterbury and New Zealand Business Association


International Student Legal Clinic & International Student Experience Programme. The programme will run workshops to support students to gain an overview and understanding on their rights living in New Zealand, covering topics such as immigration; employment; tenancy and general contracts. They are hoping to run the workshops in Hamilton, Dunedin and Wellington also.


The Canterbury Communications Trust Plains FM


Steudaemonia is an international student-led radio show/podcast series involving a wide variety of students across multiple dimensions of diversity. Students will train in broadcasting skills and the design, delivery and production of informative radio shows/podcasts in various languages focussing on topics of inclusion and diversity, and the four pillars of the ISWS.


Asian Family Services


Project Connect is a new initiative led by Asian Family Services which aim at addressing current gaps in supporting Asian international students’ mental wellbeing and social integration into New Zealand society. This will include a number of interactive workshops held to develop international students’ intercultural communication skills, and provide information on health, safety and support services. It also aims to produce a resource pack giving key messages from the workshops, and a mental health brief intervention resource to enhance mental health literacy, promote early help-seeking and provide advice about addressing lifestyle risk factors and self-care.


Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology


Establish series of interactive workshops to empower students to maintain their holistic wellbeing through Te Whare Tapa Whā.


Learning Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay

Create Information seminars, one on one sessions and student ambassadors to support international students in Hawke’s Bay.




This project creates digital resources that tertiary providers can access and use to create a high-quality orientation and induction programme for their international students. It establishes a framework or ‘hub’ providing free short courses, handbooks, videos, web links, questionnaires, discussion boards, commonly asked questions etc., that tertiary providers will be able to access and personalise.


New Zealand International Students’ Association (NZISA) leadership


Workshops for international student leaders across New Zealand, including NZISA executives, local university International Students’ Officers and cultural clubs’ executives.


NZISA female leadership


Promotion of leadership and entrepreneurship amongst female international students. NZISA will host focus groups, deliver a conference, entrepreneurial pitch competition, and support for female entrepreneurs to develop their skills and develop the mindset of these students.


Auckland, Tourism, Events and Economic Development


Mixed groups of international and domestic students from Auckland tertiary institutions specialising in art will enter proposals to create murals around Auckland.


Study Northland


Connecting international and domestic students with the authentic life experiences that we associate with being ‘kiwi’ and growing up in New Zealand.


Silverline Otago


Silverline is a student-led movement creating content and events to creatively get students engaged in mental health and wellbeing. They aim to produce a video series inspired by the ‘The Skin Deep Experience’ to open up conversation and break stigma around mental health and wellbeing. They also plan to run workshops, and a festival with a line-up of speakers that reflect the diversity of international students.


Unitec Institute of Technology


Delivering an on-campus Māori cultural experience for new international students within the first six weeks of arriving. This experience seeks to provide an experience that creates and nurtures a sense of self and belonging and strengthens emotional wellbeing that will support their living and learning experience in New Zealand.


University of Canterbury Muslim Students Association


In the wake of the Christchurch mosque attack, the University of Canterbury Muslim Students Association propose to host events that promote diversity and inclusion for all faiths, races and cultures. Some of these events include orientation, international guest speakers, self-defence lessons, bbqs, and mental health workshops.




Small projects total




Large projects total




Total (over 2 financial years)


Resources from the 2019/20 ISWS funded initiatives:

  • Project Connect is led by Asian Family Services. It includes a series of webinars full of useful information and inspiring stories for/by international students:

Project Connect - International Student online resources – Asian Family Services(external link)

  • STeudaemonia International Students Living Well by Plains FM. A weekly radio programme by international students, talking about mental health and wellbeing, as well as useful tips for study and employment, etc.

STeudaemonia International Students Living Well – Plains FM(external link)

2019 funding

We held our second funding round under the Strategy in the second half of 2018. The theme for the funding round was international student mental health and/or safety. Projects were selected by international education leaders representing students, communities, education providers and government. 10 projects were selected to receive funding in 2019.

International Student Wellbeing Strategy Funding Round 2019 outcomes

2018 funding

Funding for 1-year projects to support the outcomes of the Strategy comes from the Export Education Levy. 11 projects were funded in 2018.

International Student Wellbeing Strategy Funding Round 2017-18 outcomes

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