International students have attended Taruna since its doors opened to tertiary education in the early 1980s. We enjoy the richness and diversity of cultures that are shared with us, and among the students here.
Our Hostel becomes a ‘Home away from Home’ for many single students, while couples or families find rental accommodation in Havelock North or nearby Hastings with the help of our Office Administrator. Taruna is supported by a warm community who also enjoy meeting and getting to know our International students.
Our Holistic Health programme is the only Anthroposophic Nursing programme available outside apprentice-style clinic-based teaching situations and also the only English-language programme in the world. Our Biodynamics/Organics programme is unique in the world, in providing an orientation towards sustainable land practices and towards certification with Demeter or BioGro. Our Education programmes integrate theory, practice and adult learning in a particular New Zealand context. Set in New Zealand, Taruna offers an environment and lifestyle different to anywhere else in the world.
A Students View
Ting and Hao from Singapore
Cheong Yi Teng (Ting) and Chen Zhang Hao (Hao) chanced upon Taruna while visiting Hao’s uncle in Shangai who runs an International School there and is interested in incorporating aspects of Waldorf education. The Taruna teacher-training course was recommended to them, with the vision that they return to Shangai, bringing the appropriate skills and knowledge to help undertake this transition.
It was an adventurous step for the Singaporean couple, with the usual choices for overseas study being Australia and more populous countries. They hadn’t heard much about New Zealand, with the common perception being, “it’s just all rural.” But they found they were well-prepared by Taruna staff as to what to expect, through the website and other helpful links and information they were sent. The courtesy and welcome shown to them upon arrival meant they quickly felt at ease in the local community. Hao observes that “the people in New Zealand are all really friendly” and Ting chimes in, “they smile and say ‘hello’ to you when you pass them in the street.”
Ting has experienced Taruna as being “like a second home….Because it’s such a small class you feel like you make close friends really easily. Everywhere you go you meet people that you know.”
Help and support has been abundant in adjusting to the New Zealand lifestyle. the office assisted Ting and Hao with buying a car, directing them to the local auctions and websites like Trade Me, and when mid-way through the year they wanted to move out of the hostel, staff were especially supportive in helping them to find a place of their own, even down to the details of furnishing it.
Both agree that to come to Taruna you need to be open-minded, or as one of their tutors said, to say “oh” rather than “no” – to “not just reject” when you come up against something different or new. Taruna is a kind of micro-world, and this aspect Ting found especially invigorating: “Because most of us are international students, we bring a lot of different ideas and concepts into one place…it’s like a big melting pot. You hear ideas from other people, not just our classmates but maybe their spouses, their friends, different cultural and spiritual perspectives that you don’t really hear in Singapore.”
Ting and Hao highly recommend Taruna. For its small scale, its intimacy and friendliness, its dynamic multi-cultural concentration of students, and for the diverse and rich learning experiences offered.
Hans Meyer spent his first week at Taruna traversing Hawke’s Bay by bike, visiting different biodynamic farms and properties, getting a feel for the land and salt and waters of where he was, and loved it. During the year-long agricultural course he had time to travel more widely, which extended and enriched his study programme.
“A lot of the reasons I wanted to come to New Zealand was to experience a different place – there are 400, 500 courses in the States so I could have studied there. Now I’ve experienced a place and a culture, and I’ve studied Biodynamics! And also it was helpful being away, cos at home I have truck insurance payments, I have bills, I have work, all these friends knocking on the door. So to drop right out of my life into studying here, that was cool.”
“Hawke’s Bay’s a special place, a lot of great people…. All the farm hosts
“I would thoroughly recommend Taruna to others living overseas. The year is really in-depth and the staff supportive. All the teachers who came in were top-notch, a real high level of knowledge…. Because you’re overseas you’re much more focused, and also being somewhere else in a new environment, it’s just a broadening experience in general. I’m very thankful I had the opportunity.”