10 reasons to study in New Zealand

1. Kia Ora! (Hello!)

A remote southern land

Known as Aotearoa by the Māori, which translates as the “Land of the Long White Cloud”, New Zealand is a remote, island country in the southwest Pacific. It consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. More than 1600kms southeast of Australia, its nearest neighbor, each year New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to welcome in the New Year. With a land mass of more than 270,000 square kilometers, it is larger than the United Kingdom and smaller than Japan, but much more sparsely populated with only 4.7 million inhabitants.

A natural paradise in Middle Earth

New Zealand possesses a natural environment of great variety. You will find diverse terrain, including fjords, deep glacier lakes, snow-capped peaks, mountains, active volcanoes, geysers, natural hot springs, caves, rainforests, fertile plains, sandy beaches, and an incredible coastline. No wonder it is so popular for film sets; following the success of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, New Zealand is affectionately known as Middle Earth.

The purity of the air and the abundant green spaces strike many international students who move to New Zealand. It enjoys a mild Mediterranean microclimate. However, the weather can change quickly, so don’t forget appropriate warm and weatherproof clothing.

2. A relaxed student lifestyle

Comfortable student environment

New Zealand cities and towns might well be on a smaller scale than you are used to back home. Many foreign students find they enjoy the cozy vibe and being able to walk or cycle safely and easily from their place of residence to their school or university. There are still plenty of options, however, for going out and listening to live music, particularly in Auckland and Wellington.

Sports and outdoor pursuits

Beyond your studies, New Zealand offers an abundance of incredible outdoor options from hiking, cycling, mountain biking, bungy jumping, sky diving, four-wheel driving, kayaking, rafting, jet-boating, caving, climbing, canyoning, zip lining, and skiing. Rugby is truly like a religion to the Kiwis, so why not play a game or watch a match? With nearly 16,000 kilometers of stunning coastline, sailing and water sports are popular pursuits. With more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world, Auckland is known as the “city of sails”. If you love the outdoors, New Zealand is the place to be.

Fantastic food and wonderful wines

The fertile plains, clean air and cold, pristine waters of New Zealand mean that the produce is second to none. The seafood is particularly good, with plentiful crayfish, oysters, mussels and other fish, and a world-leading quota management system to avoid overfishing. The Marlborough region, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand also produces fine Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Bordeaux blends, including Syrah (Shiraz). Or if a beer is more your thing, try one of the plentiful craft brews.

3. Friendly locals

Modern-day Kiwis

The Māori arrived in New Zealand from Polynesia in the 1300s. Much later, in 1642, the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, discovered New Zealand. The country was annexed by Great Britain in 1840 and is, to this day, a member of the Commonwealth. Modern day New Zealand is made up of a mix of peoples of predominantly European descent, as well as Māori, Asian and non-Māori Pacific Islanders. The Kiwis are friendly, down-to-earth and hardy people, whose culture is in part shaped by their rugged, exposed and wildly beautiful country. You’ll find it easy to make friends in NZ!

Proud Māori culture

New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Māori, represent more than 14% of New Zealand’s population. Māori culture is a key element of modern-day New Zealand, and interest in learning the language is increasing. One of the most well-known exponents of Māori culture is the Haka, the traditional dance performed by the All Blacks, the most successful international men’s rugby team of all time. You will experience Māori hospitality, customs and strong sense of community first-hand when you study in New Zealand.

4. Quality education

#1 Ranking

New Zealand was awarded 1st place in 2017 by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Educating for the Future Index, scoring well on a curriculum framework for future skills, government spending on expenditure, university and industry collaboration, and cultural diversity and tolerance, amongst other attributes. The New Zealand government’s commitment to education is evidenced by its investment of more than 4% of its GDP in education, which exceeds some other developed nations. You can be confident that your decision to study in New Zealand will afford you a world-class education, as well as an enviable lifestyle.

Spoilt for choice

New Zealand has eight universities, all of which feature in the QS World University Rankings 2018. The University of Auckland, located in New Zealand’s most populous city, is consistently ranked at the top of the NZ league tables. The University of Otago in Dunedin is regularly rated as one of the world’s most beautiful universities. The University of Canterbury in Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city, is one of the oldest universities in New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern, the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, is a famous alumnus from the University of Waikato in Hamilton, and Victoria University of Wellington, located in the nation’s capital, is particularly well regarded for law, the humanities and social sciences.

Whether you choose a campus based in the city or in the countryside, you’ll enjoy the scale of New Zealand universities, the accessibility of the outdoors, and will be made to feel welcome.

5. Creative Kiwis

The coolest little capital

Wellington has been dubbed “the coolest little capital” by Lonely Planet. It has a strong creative and digital sector specializing in film, content and entertainment production, post-production, visual effects, animation, application development, and (mobile) gaming. The Miramar Creative Centre, opened in 2017, nurtures pathways into careers in film-making, game design, visual effects, and multimedia design. Xero, the leading, cloud-based accounting software firm, is an international success story from Wellington.

6. Value for money

Consider all costs

Compared to colleges and universities in the United States, for example, New Zealand represents a more affordable option, without compromising on quality. If you are an international Ph.D. student, you’ll be pleased to know that the New Zealand government has a scheme whereby you pay the same annual tuition fees as domestic students. There are also various scholarship options available for eligible students. Your study visa enables you to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during semester breaks, and there is no limit to the number of working hours allowed for students pursuing a Master’s by Research or a Ph.D. That said, it’s advisable not to count on working too many hours while dedicating sufficient time to your studies. Be aware also that a current scarcity of housing in Auckland and Wellington is causing rents to rise. As always, consider carefully your total costs, in addition to your tuition fees, to determine if you can afford it.

7. Learn new languages

Master English

Official languages in New Zealand include English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language. If English is not your mother tongue, you will need to get your English up-to-scratch to study at New Zealand universities. Fortunately, New Zealand offers plenty of opportunities to learn English, helping you to prepare your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. In addition to the obvious necessity for your studies, mastery of English will also boost your career prospects.

Kōrero Māori (Give it a go!)

Learning some words of Māori will enrich your integration and experience in New Zealand. What better way to learn Māori than over some delicious fish and chips (sounds like “fush and chups”, the way the Kiwis say it) with friends at Fush, the café located in Wigram, Christchurch, which proudly helps its patrons to learn some words of Māori.

8. An open and free society

New Zealand is a safe and secure country with strong democratic traditions. The proximity of the nation’s parliament and Victoria University of Wellington stimulates a fertile intermingling of ideas between government representatives, educators and business people. Did you know that New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world and New Zealanders have the most freedom in the world? Apart from the obvious lifestyle benefits, open and free societies encourage debate and utilize innovations, important features of quality schools.

9. New Zealand inventions and discoveries

New Zealand has produced 3 Nobel prize laureates, all of which were awarded in the fields of chemistry and physiology or medicine. Some other famous Kiwi inventions include frozen meat, the bungee jump, electric fences, the electronic petrol pump and the fastest motorbike in the world. On a lighter note, debate rages across the Tasman over the origins of the pavlova, the lamington and flat white coffees, but New Zealand claims them as their own! What will your legacy be?

10. Famous Kiwis

Some famous Kiwis include the renowned Wellingtonian film-maker, Sir Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; the pop group, Lorde; the opera singer, Kiri Te Kanawa; the Hollywood star, Russell Crowe; the late, great sports icon, Jonah Lomu; and the talented All Blacks star, Dan Carter. Last, but not least, Sir Edmund Hillary, the Kiwi mountaineer, conquered Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, with Tenzing Norgay in 1953. “In some ways,” Hillary suggested, “I believe I epitomize the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed.” Come join the next crop of talented Kiwis during your studies in NZ!

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