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Why study in New Zealand

Why study in New Zealand

Study in New Zealand

For students looking at study abroad options, New Zealand ranks among the top few countries. This island country in the south-west Pacific Ocean has been gaining popularity among students mainly due to its high-quality education, good quality of life, breathtaking landscape, and a safe student-friendly environment for international students.

International students going to New Zealand for tertiary study (education beyond high school) has increased in the recent years. The percentage almost doubled from 2007 to 2017, up from 8.3 percent to 15 percent.

According to the official ‘Education Counts’ website, following are the tuition fees paid to universities by international fee-paying students and foreign research-based post-graduate students:

2015 2016 2017 2018
NZ$371,787,900 NZ$404,197,458 NZ$454,669,393 NZ$513,376,356


Why study in New Zealand?


Welcoming culture

New Zealanders (also known as kiwis) are very warm and friendly by nature. New Zealand has a diverse mix of cultures, so international students would always feel welcome.

Living in New Zealand

The weather is pleasant with mild winters and warm summers. New Zealand offers an excellent mix of stunning landscape with long coastline, sandy beaches, pasture lands, majestic fiords and snow-capped mountains. Students can get plenty of opportunities to explore the scenic beauty or plan adventure trips.

New Zealand ranks second in the 2019 Global Peace Index, so you can be assured of a safe stay.

Work while studying

Students on a student visa pursuing full-time programs are usually allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week when the course is in session and up to 40 hours a week during breaks. Research master’s and PhD students are able to work 40 hours a week throughout the year. The minimum wage is NZ$17.70 an hour.

Caring for international students

For international students coming to study in New Zealand, the New Zealand government has developed the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, which was amended in 2019.

According to this, it’s the responsibility of the education providers to make sure that international students are safe, well-informed and properly taken care of.

Post-study visa

You can be eligible for a post-study work visa after you graduate, which would allow you to take up any work for 1-3 years depending on what and where you studied.

Work-life balance

New Zealanders have a relaxed lifestyle. Working in New Zealand can offer a good balance of work and leisure, with several options for outdoor and recreational activities.

New Zealand is not too crowded; has modern infrastructure; cities are smaller making travelling around much easier.

Internationally recognised universities

New Zealand’s eight universities feature in the QS and Times Higher Education rankings.

Here’s the list of New Zealand universities

University name Location
University of Auckland Auckland
University of Otago Dunedin
Massey University Palmerston North
University of Canterbury Christchurch
Victoria University of Wellington Wellington
Lincoln University Canterbury
University of Waikato Hamilton
Auckland University of Technology Auckland


Employment and salary in New Zealand

The unemployment rate in New Zealand is quite low at around 4%. According to trademe, the national median pay for the year 2018 for different fields was as follows

Professional area Median pay
1. IT NZ$100,000
2. Executive and general management NZ $85,0000
3. Architecture NZ $75,000
4. Engineering NZ $70,000
5. Marketing, media and communications NZ $65,000
6. Legal NZ $65,000
7. HR & recruitment NZ $65,000
8. Banking, finance & insurance NZ $65,000
9. Sales NZ $60,000
10. Education NZ $55,000


Studying in New Zealand


College intake

Universities in New Zealand have two major intakes with the start dates in February and July, while some programs may have intakes in September, November as well.

Student visa requirement

For a full-time program with duration of over three months, you’d need to apply for a student visa, the duration of which can be up to four years, depending upon the duration of your study.

Your children and spouses are also eligible to apply for visas. As discussed earlier, this visa allows you to work while studying.

Cost of study in New Zealand

According to the official New Zealand Education website, the cost of undergraduate education ranges from NZ$22,000 to NZ$32,000 per year for a bachelor’s degree. The duration of many bachelor’s degree is three years.

For post-graduate education, the cost would range from about NZ$26,000 to NZ$37,000 per year. The cost would be higher for medicine and veterinary science for both undergraduate and post-graduate programs.

For example, for bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery, the fees can go higher than NZ$75,000 from second year onwards.

Since these are the fees per year, you’d need to calculate the total expenses for the number of years you’d be studying.

For PhD study, the fee for international students would be same as New Zealand students and would be NZ$6,500 to NZ$9,000 per year for most of the fields.

If you choose to pursue a diploma or certificate courses, the cost would be lower and vary greatly depending upon the course chosen.

Student accommodation



Hall of residence or hostels are usually conveniently located either on university campus or very close to it. Rooms may have single or double occupancy. The costs would vary depending on whether these are self-catered or fully-catered.

The cost for self-catered halls would roughly vary from NZ$160 TO NZ$288 per week.

Following are the accommodation costs involved per week for fully-catered residences. These fees include utility costs such as water, electricity and WiFi.

University name Accommodation Cost per week
University of Auckland University Hall NZ$387
University of Otago University College NZ$405
Victoria University Te Puni Village NZ$392
University of Canterbury University Hall NZ$399

Data source: The University of Auckland


The other option would be private accommodation – to rent out a flat. The flat could be a one bedroom apartment or have more bedrooms and you would be sharing the utility costs and rent with your flatmates.

According to the official New Zealand Education website, the national median rent for a three bedroom house was NZ$555 per week in 2018, or NZ$215 a room per week.

Living costs in New Zealand

Those going to New Zealand on a student visa need to provide evidence that you’ve enough funds to meet the expenses during the course of your study.

For a period less than a year, you’ll need to show that you have at least NZ$1250 per month for the duration of your study.

If you’re living for more than a year, you’d need to prove that you have at least NZ$15,000 towards living expenses for the first year of study.

The basic food expense would be approximately NZ$70 per week. Prices would vary depending upon your location and your lifestyle.

Following is the cost of living provided by universities on the official ‘Study in New Zealand’ website:

University name Recommended annual cost of living
Victoria University NZ$18,000-$27,000
University of Auckland NZ$20,000-$25,000
University of Otago NZ$15,000-$17,000
Massey University NZ$15,000-$18,000


University and program short listing

Be sure to spend enough time on research and gather facts related to the university / institution and the program you’re targeting.

Try connecting with students and alumni to get some genuine feedback. Look out for the placement records of the program.

All this will give you clarity and some perspective on whether the program is well-suited to meet your career goals or not.

Check out for the various funding options available.

If you’re convinced that the program and the school would indeed be the right fit for you, go ahead and apply!
Also read:
Why study in Australia
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