Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 5. May 2, 1957
Asia Comes to V.U.C
Asia Comes to V.U.C.
Our much-bewailed New Zealand insularity and parochialism should crumble a little this year with the presence .in the country of a record number of Colombo Plan trainees—some 210 of them, from all over south and south-east Asia.
Many of them are university students, scattered through the six constituent colleges of the University of New Zealand, and helping to provide that supra-national flavour which has been a characteristic of every good university since the Paris and Boulogne of the middle ages.
We at V.U.C. have our share of this international contingent, with 31 students from Indonesia and Pakistan taking part in our lectures and seminars.
The largest group is made up-of 23 Indonesians, including two girls. Ages range from 19 to 27, courses from medicine to engineering and mining to agriculture. They are all doing their intermediate year at V.U.C. before departing for various specialist colleges we allow to exist in the more backward parts of the country, (It is to be hoped that they will remember Vic as the centre of N.Z.'s intellectual life, and regard their years at Otago, Canterbury, Massey and the rest as an unfortunate though necessary anticlimax to their academic career).
These two students are living at Weir House, and are gradually adjusting themselves to the climate. Since in their own country they live less than 10 degrees from the Equator, they find Wellington breezes a little chilling. Non-Weir men will join us in assuring Fung and Chong that Weir House is of far too dense a nature to be affected by atmospheric currents, whether hot or cold. Weir men will find them a worthwhile and likeable addition to their ranks.
Rather older are the six Pakistanis, all of whom were here last year. One of them, G. Hassan, is studying for a Ph.D. in Chemistry, and the rest (Babar, Khaleque, Haque and Khan) are studying various branches of
These students came from all parts of Indonesia—Sumatra, Bali, Java, and Kelimintan (North Borneo to you). Many of them are multilingual, as there are numerous languages in the country of their origin. They do, however, have a little trouble with English, as it is only since Independence that English has replaced Dutch as Indonesia's second language. They find some lecturers' speech easy to follow, but others they find hard—don't we all?
One can't help being impressed by the intense eagerness of these students to learn, to come to terms with their new environment, and to take back home the knowledge they will gain here.
North Borneo has provided us with Fung Cheong Ming and Chong Thain Vun, taking Arts and Law respectively. (Many students will remember their compatriot Peter Lo who returned home last year after being the first Colombo Plan student to accountancy.
East Pakistan is more heavily represented than West, and if anyone wants to learn Bengali and read Rabindranath Tagore in the original, here is your chance. All these men have Indian or Pakistani qualifications already, and will be going home to Government posts or university lectureships.
Next time you hear the latest news from the North-West Frontier Province, Jesselton, or South Sumatra, being discussed in the cafeteria, you will know what is going on. Join in, and you will meet a grand bunch of students from whom you can learn a lot. It is not easy to live and study in a country very different from your own. And don't be fooled by the strange accents. I will always remember the sheck I got one clay while talking to an overseas student whose English was grammatically perfect but whose accent I could not always follow. Out of the blue came his puzzled comment: "You know, I find it rather difficult to understand this New Zealand dialect."
Which got me thinking, a habit I have tried to keep up.
It is not true that the association is running a sweepstake for the coming Annual Exec, elections, to be held on Friday. 21st, Monday. 24th. and Tuesday, 25th June. Hut if you are in the running, please note that nominations close at 12 noon on Saturday, 15th June. There has been no official announcement as to whether as last year this in fact means midnight of the 12th.