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Top 5 reasons to study in New Zealand


New Zealand is an increasingly popular destination for international students who want an education that will prepare them for the future.

Students who study in New Zealand gain an education that is practical as well as academic, giving them the skills they’ll need to succeed in work and in life.

125,392 international students studied in New Zealand in 2017, benefitting from its high-quality education system, distinctive style of learning and exceptional lifestyle.

Here are just five of the reasons why New Zealand has gained its reputation as a top student destination.

1. Educating for the future

Looking for an education system that will equip you for the demands of a rapidly-changing world?

Then there’s no better country to study in than New Zealand.

New Zealand is ranked first in the world at educating students for the future, according to a 2017 report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

That’s because New Zealand’s inquiry-led style of learning encourages students to think for themselves, rather than memorising information from textbooks.

They learn to solve problems, think creatively and critically, and work collaboratively – skills in high demand by employers.

Students gain an excellent academic education as well as practical, hands-on skills. They’re taught to apply their knowledge outside as well as inside the classroom, giving them real-world experience to bring to their future careers.

New Zealand’s future-focused style of learning helped Colombian student Adriana Christie to achieve her goal of becoming a social entrepreneur.

Adriana gained a Bachelor of Business (Honours) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). She went on to launch Pallet Kingdom, a social enterprise that turns timber waste into furniture and art.

“I loved the Kiwi style of learning straight away because it focuses on teaching you skills that have an impact on what your life will be like in the future,” says Adriana.

“Schools in South America are high-intensity and more about memorising information. In New Zealand, education is about critical thinking and teamwork.”

2. World-leading education system

New Zealand has a world-leading, world-ranked education system.

All eight of New Zealand’s publicly-funded universities are ranked in the top 3% in the world by the QS World University Rankings.

A 2016 OECD report ranked New Zealand as having the seventh highest-performing graduates in the world – ahead of the US, Canada and England.

New Zealand excels at programmes that combine technology and creativity, such as sciences, building and architecture, engineering, filmmaking, animation and design.

Government agencies monitor all areas of the education system, making sure students develop the skills they need and gain relevant, good-value qualifications that are recognised and respected around the world.

Leading Chinese entrepreneur Kevin Gang Wang says studying in New Zealand laid the foundations for a career that has included winning Forbes China’s ‘Best Venture Capitalist’ title for 10 consecutive years.

After gaining an MBA at Massey University in New Zealand, Kevin went on to become founder and managing partner of Envision Capital in Shanghai.

“Studying entrepreneurship in New Zealand built my business mind,” he says.

“The quality of education in New Zealand is excellent. It gave me knowledge, but it also gave me a very important skill set that I still use in my work today.”

3. A fair, open and free society

New Zealand is known for its openness – its wide open spaces, and its openness to new people and new ideas.

New Zealand is growing in cultural diversity with 25% of the population born overseas and over 200 different ethnicities living in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city.

Cultural events such as Diwali, Chinese New Zealand and the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Day Festival are celebrated throughout New Zealand, by Kiwis as well as the international community.

New Zealand gets top marks for cultural diversity and tolerance in a 2017 report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The report says societies like New Zealand’s produce students who are responsible, self-reliant and better able to make good decisions. It’s a combination that gives New Zealand’s graduates a head start in the global workplace.

Students in New Zealand meet people from all around the world, making lifelong friendships and valuable professional connections.

For US student Brook Thompson, learning about Māori culture helped her explore her own culture.

Brook, who is from the Yurok and Karuk tribes of northern California, says the semester she spent studying abroad with IFSA-Butler at the University of Auckland gave her greater confidence in her cultural identity.

“Being in New Zealand was one of the happiest times in my entire life. It not only helped me grow as a person, but reassured me of who I am,” says Brook.

“Studying in New Zealand was one of the best choices I ever made, and it continues to shape me as a person.”

4. Excellent teaching and student support

New Zealand has an international reputation for high-quality teaching.

As well as teaching academic and practical skills, New Zealand teachers give students the personal support they need to develop as individuals.

Wellbeing and personal growth are important parts of studying in New Zealand, which was the first country to adopt a strict code of practice for the care of international students.

The code requires education providers to make sure all international students are safe, properly cared for and well informed.

Education institutions provide a wide range of support for international students, from courses in academic writing to careers advice.

Studying computer design in New Zealand won Filipino student Ryan Serrano his dream job with the design and special effects facility that helped make the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Ryan went straight from gaining a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Graphic Design at Whanganui UCOL to Weta Workshop in Wellington.

He used the same technology studying at UCOL that he now uses at Weta Workshop.

“I believe it was this experience and the guidance of my lecturers that gave me the edge I needed to secure my dream job,” says Ryan.

5. Unbeatable student lifestyle

Friendly people, a relaxed pace of life and an amazing outdoor environment make New Zealand a great place to be a student.

New Zealand was ranked the world’s second most peaceful country in the 2018 Global Peace Index, and the world’s least corrupt country in 2017 by Transparency International.

Kiwis believe in balancing a day’s work or study with time off to catch up with friends and family, explore nature and follow their interests.

With nearly one-third of its land area in national parks or other protected areas,[a]students have unlimited opportunities to hike, mountain bike, ski, swim and find other ways to enjoy the incredible natural landscape.

New Zealand’s modern, dynamic cities are relatively compact, making it easy to get around. Commutes are far shorter than in many other parts of the world, leaving more time for fun.

Chinese mother Huang Jing says studying at a New Zealand primary school has given her son a chance to enjoy a more relaxed style of living.

Yang Fengting, seven, is studying at Kelburn Normal School in Wellington.

“My son is very creative and has his own ideas. In New Zealand, he can be himself. I can see the real him here,” says Jing.

“He has made lots of friends, plays sport, walks to school by himself and is very proud of being able to speak English. Both of us look healthier in New Zealand because of the food and the clean air and the happiness.”

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