Studying in New Zealand

1. What types of tertiary institutions are available in New Zealand?

There are universities and polytechnics. Many of the polytechnics have now become institutes of technology. While the universities focus extensively on academic knowledge and skills, the polytechnics offer more practical training and skills. Both types of tertiary institutions offer a variety of programmes in fields like science, commerce, engineering and arts.

2. What kind of qualifications can I earn?

Traditionally, the programmes offered at tertiary institutions in New Zealand lead to a degree. The main options include programmes leading to a bachelor's degree, programmes leading to master's degree and programmes leading to a doctoral degree. If you earn a bachelor's degree in the country, you will have the opportunity to complete a programme leading to a higher degree afterwards. There are also postgraduate certificate and diploma programmes.

3. How long does it take to complete a degree programme?

Most bachelor's degree programmes take 3 years to complete, but there are some which last for 4. Most master's degree programmes take 1 or 2 years to complete. Most programmes leading to a doctoral degree take 3 or 4 years to complete.

4. Can I study part-time?

No, this is not an option for international students coming to study in New Zealand. You can sign up only for a full-time programme of study. In general, the part-time mode of study is designed for people who have to work in order to support themselves. International students, on the other hand, are required to have the funds necessary for studying and living in the country in order to be granted a visa.

5. Is it hard to study in New Zealand?

You will certainly not be overwhelmed with lectures and classes as this is a country which offers excellent balance between studying and leisure. This, however, does not mean that you should not put time and effort in your studies. With good grades, you will have higher chances of securing a well-paid job and starting a successful career. You will have access to excellent study facilities. You will have teachers who will help you to do your best in every subject.

Applying for Admission

6. Is there a general system for applying to tertiary institutions in New Zealand?

No, applications are made to each institution individually. There are variations in the entry requirements from one education provider to another and from one programme to another as well.

7. What kinds of requirements do tertiary institutions have?

You must have educational qualification which enables you to enrol in the programme which you want to complete. For instance, if you want to enrol in an undergraduate programme, you must have completed secondary school or equivalent. Some programmes have specific requirements such as a set level of achievement in a certain subject. All tertiary education providers in New Zealand have English language requirements as well.

8. How long does it take for an application to be processed?

The processing of an application made by an international student can take between 2 and 6 weeks. The processing time is the longest during the peak application periods from October to February and from June to July. It pays off to plan things in advance.

9. Can I get accepted even if I do not meet the English language requirements?

Yes, this may be possible. In such cases, the international student is usually required to take up an English language course during their first year of study and to complete it with a satisfactory grade.

Student Visa

10. Is it mandatory to obtain a student visa?

Yes it is, if your programme of study is longer than 12 weeks. If it is shorter, you will need a visitor visa.

11. Can I stay in New Zealand after my student visa expires?

Yes you can, as long as you apply for a work visa. In general, international students are expected to leave the country after completing their programme of study. That is why you should make provisions for remaining in the country in advance.

12. It is possible to extend my student visa?

Yes, this is possible. If you decide to continue to study in New Zealand after the completion of the programme which you have got your original student visa for, you must apply for extension. The process does not differ considerably from the initial one.

13. Can my student visa get cancelled?

Yes, it can. If you do not meet the student visa requirements, it can get cancelled and you may be forced to leave the country. Some of the reasons for student visa cancelling include missing classes, failing on exams and committing criminal offences. Most international students in New Zealand are well behaved and hard working and this results in an extremely low rate of student visa cancellation.

Financial Matters

14. What types of costs will I have in New Zealand?

You will have to pay tuition fees and cover your other study expenses plus your living expenses. The main study expenses include ones on books and other study materials and equipment like a personal computer. The living expenses include those on accommodation, food, toiletries and clothing, entertainment and medical and dental services.

15. Is financial assistance available to international students?

Typically, eligible international students can receive grants, loans and scholarships via institutions and organisations in their home country. They may be eligible for financial support provided via joint schemes of New Zealand institutions and institutions in their home country. There are also scholarships provided to gifted international students by New Zealand institutions and organisations.

16. Is it easy to manage your finances as a student?

You have to be disciplined for sure as there are many temptations for young people in New Zealand. It pays off to prepare a budget and to stick to it strictly. There are student support services designed to help you with this aspect of living in New Zealand.

Living and Working in New Zealand

18. It is easy for an international student to fit in?

Most international students love their life in New Zealand. The tertiary institutions have culturally and ethnically diverse student communities. The people are friendly and outgoing. Furthermore, there are all sorts of social events and clubs which are especially organised for students.

19. Can I work while studying in the country?

This depends on the terms and conditions of your student visa. Most international students are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during the breaks scheduled by their tertiary institution.

20. How easy is it to find a job in New Zealand after graduating?

There are several factors which will boost your chances of getting employed in the country after obtaining your qualification. These are good grades, excellent English language skills and the possession of skills which are in shortage in the country. You should make full use of the career and employment services offered by your tertiary institution. This will give you the best chances of finding a job, which will help you to stay in the country permanently.

21. How much can I earn in New Zealand after I graduate?

This depends on your qualification and skills, on the place where you will work and on the employer that you will work for. The average annual salary in the country was NZ$ 44,426 in 2013. Workers with tertiary qualifications usually earn more. Additionally, you can expect salary increases as you gain work experience.

22. Will I be able to become a resident of New Zealand?

Yes, you will have the opportunity to apply for a resident visa if you find a permanent full-time job which matches your field of study.