Otago International Students' Association

Otago International Students' Association



Formerly known as International Committee (ICOM). Established in 2020, Otago International Students' Association (OISA) serves to represent international students and domestic students with international background. We work with the OUSA International Students' Representative to advocate for international student issues as far as nationally. OISA is the umbrella body for all OUSA cultural clubs to relay the issues and concerns of international students and collaborating on huge events, such as International Food Festival and International Cultural Expo. 


We listen to the voices and opinions of international students, ensure that they are supported and looked after during their time in Dunedin, celebrate the cultural diversity present in the university and share the different cultural backgrounds and experiences with the whole university population. 


We work hard and play hard in university, and it applies the same for OISA. Our social events are primarily aimed for students to make new connections and listen to new stories from many different people. Our workshops are targeted for students who want to have a further discussion and understanding of international student issues. Check out our (events) to stay updated - we also put-up events from other cultural clubs, you may also want to join them. 

We want you to be a part of the OISA family - whether you are an international student, domestic student with international background or someone who is passionate about cultural diversity. Everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender, level of study, sexuality, religious affiliation. Also, there's no membership free. Fill up the membership form and that's all you need to get updated with us and be a part of our family. Stay tuned. 


If you have any concerns, you'd like to us to know or have an event idea that you wish to see us do - fill out this form or e-mail: oisanz2021@gmail.com  


Otherwise, follow our Facebook Page, join our Facebook Group and our Instagram Account to be updated with OISA. 


OISA Committee 

Geraldi Ryan - Co-President 

Indonesian International Student 

Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Education)  

Hello everyone, I'm Geraldi - the OUSA International Students' Representative 2021 and Co-President of OISA 2021. My goals in OISA are to create opportunities and safe spaces for students to take on mingling and support within the university and the local community, facilitating with cultural clubs on getting the ball rolling on huge events and advocating for international student issues in the university and/or nationally. Other than doing my job in OUSA and OISA, I like to dance to contemporary (being my favorite), lyrical, jazz and hip hop. I also like to work out, get out and about or when I'm at home it's Arts & Crafts or playing Mario games at Nintendo Switch. Take care all of you and see you when I see you. 


Jehoon Mun - Co-President 

Korean Kiwi Domestic Student 

Bachelor of Laws // Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Politics)  

Kia ora everyone and 안녕 여러분! Ko Jehoon ahau and I'm proud to be one of OISA's Co-Presidents this year! I'm Korean, born and raised right here in Dunedin, and in my final year of Law and Politics. I'mhere with OISA because I wanted to help nurture a diverse, wholesome, global community that can come together to celebrate and share different perspectives and cultures with everyone on campus. This year is going to be a blast and I hope I can share some of those memories with you all this year! <3 


Sophearith Dareth - Vice President 

Cambodian International Student 

Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Communication Studies, minoring in Writing)  

ជំរាបសួរ! Kia Ora! Hello! My name is Sophearith (សុភាឫទ្ធិ). I am an international student from Cambodia studying Communication Studies minoring in Writing. I am currently in my third and final year of study for my BA. I am also currently interning at Blue Oyster Art Project Space as part of my degree. I’m your current Vice-President of OISA. I joined OISA because I wanted to finally use my voice and ideas to promote and celebrate the diversity of University of Otago’s communities. This will be my last year at Otago and I am finally involved in something that I am truly passionate about—helping my fellow international students. I hope to have a blast during my time as an exec and meet new peeps. Please never hesitate to approach me if you have any questions. 


Carmen Mah - Secretary 

Malaysian Chinese International Student 

Bachelor of (majoring in Psychology, minoring in Biochemistry) 


Hellooo, I’m Carmen, your secretary for 2021. I’m Malaysian Chinese. I’m currently a 3rd year Psychology student and I’m also minoring in Biochemistry. So, my DMs are open if you wanna have a wee chat about any of those subjects. Anyway, my goal of joining OISA is to give back to the community and to bring international students together, which is especially important this year. I hope that we'll build an environment comfortable enough for you to express yourselves while also acing exams. Keep in mind that there is always someone you can turn to for help, don't be afraid to seek it. Looking forward to meet yall! 


Chloe Leong - Treasurer 

Macau International Student 

Bachelor of Science (majoring in Forensic Science)  

Hi guys! I am Chloe, your treasurer for 2021. It’s a brand new year, hope everyone are enjoying your holiday. Incase if anyone wanna know, I am on my third and also my last year in Otago. I am majoring in Forensic science and I am from Macau (Wondering if anyone know this small place) Anyway, the reason why I joined OISA is I would like to make more friends, give myself a challenge for my last year to try something that I had never done and most importantly is to support and help anyone that are struggling in their life, no matter in school, relationship or mental health. So please feel free to approach me if you need our help! Thank you for your time. 


Violina Gunawan - Academic Representative 

Indonesian International Student 

Bachelor of Dental Surgery 


Hey everyone! I’m Violina and I’m your Academic Rep for 2021. A little about me, I’m on my third year of study and is currently enjoying baking a little bit too much. The reason I joined OISA is that I love doing community volunteering and OISA is the perfect outlet for me to give back to the people that has been my source of comfort, if you have any concerns or just wanting to have a chat, please reach out to me. There is no problem too big or too small, we will find a way together. See you guys around. 


Lydia Li - Residential Officer 

Chinese International Student 

Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Education) 


I am Lydia and I am first year student major in education. I am from Beijing China. I like travelling and catching up with friends. I will be the 2021 residential officer. I am willing to help with residential concerns and contribute to our international community. See you around! 


Tithi Gandhi - Welfare & Equity Officer 

Indian International Student 

Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences 
Hey everyone! I'm Tithi, your Welfare & Equity Officer for 2021. I'm from India (and for those of you who recognise the language of the signature- a Gujarati) & currently doing my final year of Biomed. I joined OISA because I love that it represents a global community of people from different parts of the world & takes into consideration the wellbeing of everyone hailing from unique backgrounds! A little bit about me- I love all things sciencey, watching psycho-thriller/disney tv shows/movies (recommendations are always welcome!), going on walks, camping, hanging out with friends and experimenting with cooking! Anywayyy, really looking forward to getting to know all of you this year! 



Souhei Chan - Social Media Officer 

Japanese, Chinese, Kiwi Domestic Student 

Bachelor of Dental Surgery 

Hey guys! My name is Souhei Chan and I’m half Japanese and Chinese. I will be the 2021 Social Media Officer, so you’ll see me posting stuff on Facebook and Instagram a lot! I wanted to join OISA because I know that through this role, I will meet so many people with amazing backgrounds. In my free time, I usually enjoy indoor activities such as building Lego Star Wars, watching TV series or anime with my friends (Have you guys watched Jojo’s bizarre Adventures before?) BUT I also enjoy going outside and taking long walks and taking photos with my film camera. See you around~ 



There are many challenges that international students are facing when studying in New Zealand or maybe even coming to New Zealand, such as home sickness, culture shock, finding friends, safety and many more. It may feel overwhelming to be here alone or feeling that there is no support around. Well, fear not. As this section will talk about every support available to international students. Not all will be listed here, but feel free to check out this link for more resources - (insert link) 



International Office - They facilitate everything and anything to do with international students starting from visa renewal and insurance until having a yarn with the international student advisors on any difficulties you are facing while in New Zealand. It is important to note all appointments are confidential. They host events during the summer period too with the focus of having positive wellbeing in the international community. 


OUSA Student Support - Somewhat similar to International Office, they are another way to support you academically, financially, welfare and equity, flatting and many more. All appointments are confidential and available to all students enrolled in University of Otago. 


Disability Information and Support - A University service offering to students with any form of disability to give academic support to students, such as bridging on communication with staff on educating about disability issues, advocacy, note-taking and special consideration examinations. 



1737 - A free service that anyone in NZ can use for anyone who is feeling down, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. Trained and registered counsellors answers your call or text 24/7. The service is confidential and they can remain anonymous if they wish to. 


111 - A police emergency phone number if there's a fire of any sort, immediate police and ambulance response, if you are in a dangerous location (safety and car accident), current house break-in. 


105 - A police non-emergency phone number if there are any stolen vehicles, vandalization, lost items, shoplifting, scam, drug dealing or burglary. 



Student Learning Development - A university service offering academic support and advices from course advice to study techniques (time management, essay writing). They organise extra tutoring sessions (PASS), additional English language support and workshops for academic writing. 


Career Development Centre - A university service offering career advice to develop you after university to land a job and skills needed for jobs. They help in reviewing CVs, excelling in job interviews and generally, developing yourself to be prepared to get a job. 



Te Whare Tawharau - A survivor led sexual violence support and prevention centre. They are there to providing you with free confidential and trained support (walk-ins and appointment), advocacy and workshops to raise awareness on reducing impact of sexual violence (Flip the Script and Bringing in the Bystander). 


Chaplaincy - A university service supporting students with faith (or no faith) spiritually and pastoral care. They provide prayer rooms, spiritual direction, worship opportunities and religious services. Most importantly, they help in giving you access to the university prayer room and meditation room. 


Student Health - A university health center for students who are feeling unwell and needing wellbeing support. They provide services from different departments such as mental health, physiotherapy clinic, medical clinic and many more. 


Queer Support - Alongside with OUSA Student Support, they are there to support queer students or any students discovering their sexuality. They provide peer support, groups, advocacy, events and a confidential chat with the Queer Support Co-Ordinator.