Last Updated: March 08, 2021

Studying Abroad in New Zealand

When searching for the perfect college or university, prospective students may choose to look outside of their comfort zone and explore other countries around the world. Though the more common locations are scattered throughout Europe and the United States, a viable choice for international students who wish to get an excellent education and exceptional quality of life in New Zealand.
Located in the South Pacific to the southeast of Australia, New Zealand is composed of two main islands, with several hundred smaller surrounding islands. The two largest islands are known as the North Island and the South Island. Before choosing to study, students should be aware of the foreign climate and landscape. At the moment, most people around the world may recognize New Zealand's beautiful landscapes and varied vistas from the Lord of the Rings movies in the early 2000s (some believe this caused the push to study abroad in the country for younger generations, similar to how it boosted tourism in the country in the same manner).

The climate of the country is extremely diverse and varied throughout; northern areas are typically mild, and have sub-tropical climates through the year, while the southern end of the country remains cooler overall. Students looking to study in New Zealand should be aware that most of the country has a somewhat "wet climate" from constant changes in the weather. When looking to study internationally, students should always be aware and be prepared both mentally and physically for the climate of the region, making sure that any health conditions do not impede their plans and equipping themselves appropriately to adapt to the same, if necessary. Another major issue that prospective students should be aware of is the change of currency. In the present time, the U.S. dollar is equal to 1.37 of New Zealand currency.

Take a more detailed look at Living in New Zealand

Tuition and Fees for Higher Education in New Zealand

International tuition and scholarship opportunities can vary for each university; each school states their total costs on admissions pages on their websites and, if scholarships are not offered, typically provide links to outside scholarship pages. Depending on each university, housing can be provided, or assistance is provided to find places of residence for the prospective students. Typically, the average cost of living in New Zealand can vary from NZ$12,000 (about US $8,400) to NZ$15,000 (about US $10,500) per year; the cost includes housing, food, and travel. For international students, there is an international studying fee added to the total tuition; this fee changes per each university and should be checked on each site. Students should be prepared to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 per year for most courses, depending on the university and the requisite number of credits for their respective courses.

Popular Universities in New Zealand

Between the two major islands, there is a total of eight state-funded university options, all offering admission to international students for both short-term and full college experiences. Seven of these universities were in the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings, at least in one subject. The courses offered by them will be more academic rather than vocational. Most programs of study are provided in New Zealand, though they may not be available in all universities; larger schools obviously have more options, while smaller universities offer a more focused education in specialties and specific areas of study. To determine if certain desired programs are offered for study, students should check with university websites to guarantee that their program is available.

All eight universities offer online application submissions. However, unlike the general application for schools in the U.S., each university has an individual application that needs to be filled out. Each application requires transcripts from previous educational experiences, resumes, and proof to meet the English language requirement. International students can prove their language requirement through the International English Language Test System (IELTS) or other equivalent English proficiency tests by meeting the required score for each university. A few of the more popular universities are:

University of Auckland

University of Canterbury

Otago University


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Popular Cities in New Zealand

  1. Auckland: The City of Sails, as it is known, counts more boats per capita than any other place in the world. From hosting America's Cup to the hundreds of sailing ships, water taxis, and ferries, Auckland's connection to the water defines the city. Not only is Auckland surrounded on all sides by bays, harbors, and the ocean, but the city also is ringed by seven volcanoes and miles of beaches-- making it a spectacular setting. The Hauraki Gulf, off the coast of Auckland, is dotted with various islands and is home to a large variety of flora and fauna and countless other attractions like adventure sports and even Auckland’s youngest volcano, Rangitoto Island. Some of the educational institutions in the area are the University of Auckland, the Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, Manukau Institute of Technology, and Unitec New Zealand.
  2. Christchurch: Christchurch is the largest city in South Island and second-largest city in New Zealand. The population in Christchurch is very diverse and multicultural, with people from all over the world. It has a great education system and great universities. It is also a very beautiful place to live in, sometimes being called the ‘garden city’ due to its beautiful vistas, parks, and gardens. Those who like outdoor activities and recreation are sure to appreciate the lifestyle in the city. The prominent educational institutions in the city are Ara Institute of Canterbury, Lincoln University, the University of Canterbury, the University of Otago.
  3. Wellington: It is the capital of New Zealand and the third most populated city in the country. It is also a bit of a melting pot of cultures with over 80 nationalities represented in the resident population. It is ranked 18th in the world for overall safety, making it an excellent place for international students to reside in. For those who wish to explore the surrounding natural landscape, there are hundreds of nature trails in and around the city. It is also considered to be one of the cheaper international cities to reside in. Some universities in the region include Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, University of Otago (Wellington branch), and Whitireia New Zealand.

Admission and visa Process in New Zealand

Once prospective students choose their university and desired program, they should begin the process of applying for a student visa. To study for longer than three months in New Zealand, students must get an international student visa for studying abroad. To get the student visa, prospective students fill out the applications found on either university website links or their country's immigration department. Once approved, send proof to the university of choice and wait for the final approval.

Some basic requirements for a student visa are: (Note:If you're studying a short course that's less than three months, you don’t need a student visa: just a visitor visa.)


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