Study in New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand (‘Aotearoa’ in Māori) is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is a remote island regarded as one of the last territories sizable enough for habitation. Its nearest neighbour is Australia.

The country is made up of two main islands: the North and South. It also has several islands that may be at least a hundred miles away from the main island groups. New Zealand follows a British model of parliamentary government, wherein the Parliament (House of Representatives) has the power.

  • Capital City: Wellington
  • Largest City by Area and Population: Auckland
  • Official Languages: English and Māori

In the 2021 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation, New Zealand is regarded as the 2nd freest in the world, with an overall economic freedom score of 83.9, higher than regional and world average scores.

Why Study in New Zealand

In the past years, New Zealand has evolved tremendously, gaining an international reputation as a strong proponent of quality education. The higher education institutions (HEIs) have adapted a progressive education system by hiring top educators, offering state-of-the-art facilities, and providing a safe learning community.

New Zealand has a total of 117,276 international students in 2018, with the university sector posting the highest enrolments in six years, according to the ICEF Monitor. Here are some of the reasons why students choose to study in New Zealand:

Globally Recognised Education

Through these concerted efforts of different ministries, the country has been recognised around the world as the leading destination that cultivates top-tier talents. In fact, it has held the third spot of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Educating for the Future Index 2019 for two consecutive years.

Many of the institutions in New Zealand have also made it to global education rankings.

  • Based on the QS World University Rankings 2021, all of the eight universities in New Zealand made it to the top 500. The University of Auckland holds the top ranking in the country.
  • World Ranking University
    81 University of Auckland
    184 University of Otago
    223 Victoria University of Wellington
    270 University of Canterbury
    272 Massey University
    375 University of Waikato
    387 Lincoln University
    437 Auckland University of Technology
  • Similarly, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 also included all New Zealand universities in its top 800 list.
  • According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), New Zealand is one of the top 20 countries notable for its commitment to providing the highest quality of education. In the OECD report, New Zealand students posted an average score of506 in maths, reading literacy, and science, above the OECD average of 486.
  • The U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Countries for Education ranked New Zealand as the 14th top destination country for international education.
  • The Round University Ranking recognised seven New Zealand universities, with the University of Auckland and University of Canterbury belonging to the Silver League (Rank 201-300).

All these numbers support that New Zealand was able to establish its name in the international education scene by offering top-quality education excellence recognised by institutions and employers all over the world.

Affordable Tuition Fees

While the tuition fees for international students are much higher than those of domestic students, the rates are still reasonable considering the level of academic excellence that students receive. International students, such as those taking PhD programmes, may be exempted from shouldering foreign student fees.

All of the universities in New Zealand are given the freedom to set their own fees, depending on the subject and the study level. In general, students can expect to pay from NZ$22,000 to NZ$32,000.

Postgraduate degrees will have fees ranging from NZ$26,000 to NZ$37,000 annually. Specialty courses, such as veterinary science and medicine, have much higher costs. Compared with Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, New Zealand has one of the most affordable tuition fees.

The country also offers scholarships for international students. A New Zealand Scholarship covers a student’s full cost of tuition fees, living allowance (NZ$491 per week), establishment allowance (NZ$3,000), tutoring costs (NZ$1,000) medical insurance during the entire duration of the study, travel insurance, research and thesis cost, and airfare tickets to and from New Zealand at the start and end of the program.

The scholarship also allows travel costs during the course of the scholarship, with the frequency depending on the length of study.

Multicultural Environment

New Zealand is one of the most diverse countries in the world. As an inclusive country, international students will have no problem assimilating.

In 2019 alone, roughly 114,000 migrants were accepted in the country, with most of them hailing from Asia. The schools have also become more multicultural over the years. Based on the data from the Education Review Office, New Zealand has an ethnically diverse roster of students.

The country has attracted a wide range of students with different backgrounds. Most of its international students are from China, the United States, India, and Malaysia.

Best Quality of Life

New Zealand is also regarded as one of the countries with the highest life satisfaction.

  • According to the Best Countries Overall Rankings of the U.S. News & World Report, New Zealand is the 11th best country, notable for its quality of life index.
  • Numbeo also listed New Zealand as the top nine country in terms of quality of life.
  • OECD also noted that citizens of New Zealand gave the country a 7.3 average rating in terms of life satisfaction, higher than the OECD average of 6.5.

Government Support for Research Excellence

Another major reason why students flock to New Zealand is because of the government’s strong support for research. In addition, most learning institutions have more than 21,000 full-time teaching staff, and a majority of them have received the National Tertiary Teaching Excellence awards.

  • The country has 10 Centres of Research Excellence (COrE) through the Tertiary Education Commission.
  • SCIMAGO Institutions Ranking ranked the University of Auckland, University of Otago, Massey University, University of Canterbury, and Riddet Institute as the top educational institutions that have excellent research opportunities.
  • Round University Ranking also included seven academic institutions that have notable numbers of citations per academic and research staff.

All these factors contribute to making New Zealand a top destination for international students all over the world. With the nation’s strong economic resilience and policies on top of academic excellence, students have much to get when they choose to study in New Zealand.

Fast Facts

Government-Funded Scholarships for International Students
  1. New Zealand Scholarships for Undergraduates & Postgraduates
  2. New Zealand Short-Term Training Scholarships for Pacific and Timor-Leste Citizens
  3. New Zealand Short-Term Training Scholarships for Southeast Asia and Timor-Leste
  4. New Zealand English Language Training for Officials Scholarships (NZELTS)
Top Diploma Courses in New Zealand
  1. Audio Engineering
  2. Creative Advertising
  3. Business Administration
  4. International Studies
  5. Hairdressing, Barbering, & Beauty Therapy
  6. Software Development
  7. Film Making
  8. Digital Creativity
  9. Graduate Diploma in Business
  10. Graduate Diploma in Hospitality Management
Jobs with Skill Shortages in New Zealand
  1. Construction Project Manager (Foreman)
  2. Project Builder
  3. Surveyor
  4. Civil Engineer
  5. Structural Engineer
  6. Electrical Engineer
  7. Telecoms Engineer
  8. Building Associate
  9. Building Inspector
  10. Surveying Technician
Popular Job Sectors in New Zealand
  1. Agriculture & Forestry
  2. Construction
  3. Education
  4. Engineering
  5. Finance & Business
  6. Health & Social Sciences
  7. ICT and Electronics
  8. Oil & Gas
  9. Recreation, Hospitality, & Tourism
  10. Science
Top-Paying Jobs
  1. Chief Executive – NZ$560,000
  2. Judge – NZ$412,000
  3. Diagnostic Radiologist – NZ$387,500
  4. Radiation Oncologist – NZ$387,500
  5. Fishing Skipper – NZ$205,000
  6. Pathologist – NZ$204,500
  7. Ophthalmologist – NZ$196,000
  8. Ship’s Master – NZ$187,500
  9. Physician – NZ$187,000
  10. Health Services Manager – NZ$185,000

Unique Student Experience in New Zealand

New Zealand is among the most welcoming countries in the world. For several years, the country has been welcoming thousands of immigrants, who did not encounter any major problems assimilating into the cultures and traditions of New Zealand.

Many universities also encourage students to join different organizations that will help them grow and learn beyond the classroom.

International Student Associations

The New Zealand International Students’ Association (NZISA) is the main representative body for all international students in New Zealand. It is responsible for spearheading activities and conferences, such as the Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference.

NZISA also encourages students to join special groups like the Future Female Leadership initiative, which also organises virtual group meetings to help one another cope with difficulties and empower each other.

Some of the international groups under the umbrella organisation include:

  • VUW International Students’ Association, Victoria University of Wellington
  • AUT Student Services, Auckland University of Technology
  • ISANA NZ (ISANA stands for International Student Advisers’ Network of Australia, and its official name is ISANA International Education Association New Zealand Inc.)
  • WESSA (Wellington Singaporean Students’ Association)
  • OMSA (Otago Malaysian Students’ Association)

Application Process

Students interested in studying in New Zealand must be aware of the eligibility requirements that apply to their course or programme of choice. For acceptance to higher education programmes, students must have at least completed Grade 12 or its equivalent. Additionally, prospective students should also submit proof of English literacy, such as IELTs or TOEFL.

Admission Seasons

New Zealand educational institutions have two admission seasons, which occur every January and July. Some universities, however, may offer September and November admissions. It is important to note these schedules because students should ideally start their admission process at least six months before the deadline.

Language Exams

As mentioned, students must pass an English language test before they can be accepted into a programme. Some of the tests accepted by HEIs in New Zealand include:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  • For IELTS, a minimum Overall Band Score of 5.5 is required. For PTE, the minimum score should range from 43 to 50.
Applying for a Student Visa

Before applying for a visa to study in New Zealand, students need to prepare a few things. Here are some of them:

  • Valid acceptance to a course recognised by the Ministry of Education or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)
  • Proof of sufficient funds or valid scholarships to support studies in New Zealand
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support living expenses while in New Zealand
  • A return ticket to their home country or proof of sufficient funds to show they can afford a return ticket.
Student Visa Types

International students can apply for one of these visa types:

Fee Paying Student Visa

This student visa allows students to enrol in a full-time programme at a New Zealand accredited institution for four years.

Exchange Student Visa

The exchange student visa allows students to study in New Zealand under an exchange student programme, and is valid for up to four years.

Foreign Government-Supported Student Visa

Students granted New Zealand funding or loan should get this visa, which allows them to enrol in a short-term course for three months or a full programme lasting for four years.

New Zealand Aid Student Visa

For students financially supported by the New Zealand government, they should apply for this visa, which will allow them to study in the country for up to four years.

Pathway Student Visa

This visa was a pilot programme introduced in 2015 and allows students to study up to three consecutive programmes under one student visa. The visa lasts for five years.

Part-Time Work

The government understands that students need to support themselves and their chosen activities while studying. That’s why the country has allowed international students to work during their stay. Before applying for any part-time work, students must first verify if they are allowed to work under the provisions of their student visas.

Eligibility to Work Under a Student Visa

Full-time international students can have a part-time job while studying, provided that they only do so for 20 hours a week. They must also make sure that their course has a two-year completion date and that their programme qualifies them to secure a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.

Take note that there may be courses in which students will need to have work experience to complete their academic studies. The work hours that fall under this category should be done on top of their 20 hours per week limit.

Students can only work full-time during school breaks and holiday seasons. PhD and master’s students can apply for part-time work or engage in a 40-hour work week.

It is also a requirement for students to secure an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number from the tax department, Inland Revenue, before starting any work.

While students can work while studying in New Zealand, they are prohibited from starting any business or undertaking a self-employed status while in the country.

Download New-Zealand Study Guide