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By Emily Belton
Oxford has offered temporary places to 42 students from Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand in the wake of the earthquake that devastated the city on 22 February.
32 undergraduates and 10 postgraduates will attend Oxford for all of Trinity term. The University and colleges are waiving all tuition fees and accommodation costs, and each student will receive a scholarship to cover international travel, taxes and insurance.
Professor Ian Town, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, said that Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton “immediately” contacted him to offer assistance when news broke of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake.
Professor Hamilton said: “I am immensely proud of the response from the collegiate University”. His feelings were echoed by Chairman of the Conference of Colleges Dr Frances Lannon, who said: “We look forward to welcoming the students from Canterbury University as temporary members of our colleges in what is a difficult time for the people of Christchurch.“
Following the earthquake, Canterbury University was completely closed until 14th March. After reopening, many lectures and classes had to be taken in tents erected in car parks and other areas around the campus, and it is thought that some university buildings will not be available for use for at least a few months.
Sam Stranks, President of the Oxford University Australia and New Zealand Society, said: “we are very pleased with the University’s decision to offer a number of places to students from the University of Canterbury and we have already been in touch with those students arriving to organise an OUANZ welcome in the first week of Trinity.”
In addition to the places offered by Oxford, the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington and University of Otago in New Zealand, along with the University of Adelaide in Australia, have also offered exchange places to students from Canterbury.