Why study in New Zealand? If you’re wondering whether New Zealand is the right place to study for you, we outline some of the main reasons why the international student population in New Zealand has grown rapidly in recent years.
Broad range of study and research opportunities
The eight institutions that make up the New Zealand university system are located in cities across the country’s two main islands, the North and the South.
This distribution gives students the chance to pursue a wide range of opportunities in study, work, recreation and culture.
The proximity of all eight universities to New Zealand’s diverse natural environment offers students the chance to research anything from endangered marine mammals to earthquake engineering.
Although all the universities offer core degrees in the arts, business and science, each also has its own distinctive profile.
For example, Auckland and Otago have the country’s two medical schools, featuring hospital-based learning, whereas Canterbury and Auckland have an international profile for their engineering courses.
You can read more about the universities in New Zealand in our choosing a university section.
A high quality learning experience
The New Zealand university system is research-based, as it is historically based on the British higher education model. This means there are a number of similarities between the 2 systems, such as the names of qualifications, teaching methods, and the look and feel of the university campuses.
All academic staff are expected to be active researchers as well as teachers. This insistence on research-informed teaching ensures a high quality learning experience.
The universities’ representative body, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, has legal responsibility for university course approval and moderation procedures.
The New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit supports this quality assurance method. These systems certify that university education in New Zealand is of a consistently excellent standard.
A degree recognised and valued by UK employers
Students applying for jobs in the UK with a degree from New Zealand are highly sought after by UK employers. Employers are seeking out graduates with a global perspective and completing your degree overseas is a great way of achieving this.
Moderate entry requirements
Unlike the situation in the UK and many other countries, New Zealand does not have massive competition to enter the first year of a university degree. This is because the New Zealand government has invested heavily in university education over the years.
As a result New Zealand has more capacity than it has students. Good students with moderate grades can gain entry to most Bachelor degree programmes without any problems. Therefore, entry requirements are moderate compared with most of the top universities in the UK.
A welcoming destination
International students are welcomed by New Zealand society, both for the cultural diversity they bring and their contribution to the economy.
They are gladly received into New Zealand homes and student social networks. New Zealanders are well travelled, with a great interest in people from other cultures, so visitors and international students soon feel more than welcome.
Campuses are highly international, with students from all corners of the globe studying and socialising together. Students come from Europe, South East Asia, the UK, North Asia, Japan, South America, India, and Australia, amongst many others.
New Zealand also has a well-developed system of pastoral care for international students, backed by a government-monitored Code of Practice. This means you will be well looked after during your time studying there.
The country has a comparatively low cost of living, abundant fresh food at reasonable prices and a wide variety of student accommodation options.
Transport is also moderately priced, affording easy access to rivers, mountains, lakes, forests and beaches and the recreational opportunities they provide.
New Zealand is renowned for its natural beauty and its adventure activities, and all this is readily accessible from all eight universities in the country.
Education in New Zealand
New Zealand has a reputation as a provider of quality education offering excellent study opportunities and support services in a safe learning environment. It is fast becoming a popular choice for international students seeking high quality education away from home.
Academic, profession and vocation studies are offered at universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, secondary schools and private training establishments. A number of English Language Institutes and private English Language Schools are also throughout the country.
New Zealand’s national education system is based on the British system. Research indicates New Zealand students are ranked amongst the top in the world academically.
All New Zealand’s international student education providers are required to be signatories to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. The code is a document introduced in 2002 designed to ensure all signatories provide a high standard of pastoral care to meet the needs of international students studying in New Zealand. See the Ministry of Education Web site to view more information on the code.
English Language Schools
A number of English Language Institutes and private English Language Schools are located throughout the country.
International students in New Zealand are taught in an English speaking environment, where they are required to actively participate in class discussions and activities, with the aim to become fluent and comfortable with the use of everyday English.
View more information on education for international students in New Zealand.
High School/Secondary School
High school in New Zealand usually begins at 13 years of age beginning at the year nine level. Core subjects are offered during year nine and 10 – English or Maori, Science, Mathematics, Social Studies and Physical Education. Generally a couple of elective subjects are also taken.
To understand the schooling system in New Zealand, the Ministry of Education has published a guide to schooling which looks at what schools teach and how schools are run.
Students begin the National Certificate of Achievement (NCEA) in Year 11, working towards a qualification to gain entry into their tertiary institution of choice.
NCEA is a new national qualification for New Zealand secondary school students. Implemented throughout New Zealand schools in 2002, NCEA is the current path to tertiary education.
Many schools in New Zealand have been experiencing an increase in the number of students that come from a non English speaking background. These students help bring diversity to a school, and add awareness to a school learning environment.
New Zealand has a selection of 8 national universities with a great range of subjects in commerce, science and arts. Specialist subjects are offered at each university.
Most universities offer a foundation year programme to international students designed to provide the necessary preparation before beginning undergraduate study.
- Auckland University
- Auckland University of Technology
- Waikato Univeristy
- Massey University
- Victoria University
- Canterbury University
- Lincoln University
- Otago University
New Zealand Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology give a more hands on approach to learning providing degrees, diplomas and certificate level qualifications.
View more information on New Zealand’s Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology:
- The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
- Universal College of Learning
- Northland Polytechnic
- Waiariki Institute of Technology
- Manukau Institute of Technology
- Tai Poutini Polytechnic
- Tairawhiti Polytech
- Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
- Waikato Institute of Technology
- Western Institute of Technology
- Whitireia Community Polytechnic
- Wellington Institute of Technology
- Eastern Institute of Technology
- Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
- Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
- Otago Polytechnic
- Southern Institute of Technology
New Zealand is continually seeking to improve the quality of education and opportunities offered to international students studying here. Besides education, New Zealand offers a lifestyle second to none. So why not develop new skills while exploring new cultures and entertainment opportunities?
What’s it like in New Zealand?
New Zealand Culture
New Zealand culture is unique and dynamic. The culture of its indigenous Maori people affects the language, the arts, and even the accents of all New Zealanders. Their place in the South Pacific, and their love of the outdoors, sport, and the arts make New Zealanders and their culture unique in the world. A walk around any New Zealand city today shows what a culturally diverse and fascinating country we have become. View more information on New Zealand culture.
New Zealand History
New Zealand history although relatively young, is both rich and fascinating, reflecting both our Maori and European heritage. Amazing Maori historic sites and taonga (treasures), some dating back almost a thousand years, are a contrast to many beautiful colonial buildings. View more information on New Zealand history.
New Zealand Weather
New Zealand weather lacks the extremes one finds in most continental climates. Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC and in winter between 10-15ºC. View more information on New Zealand weather.
View more key facts and information about New Zealand.