Student Guide to New Zealand (NZ)
With thousands of international students applying to New Zealand either because of the Green Occupation List or because of the increasing stay-back period after education, the applications have increased multifold. To bridge the employment gap New Zealand has prioritised its partnership with India and hence it is beneficial for students' mobility in turn. This guide includes all possible detail that an international student would need before going to New Zealand, thus, check it out.
New Zealand Country Highlights 2023-24
|Total Indian Students Enrolled in 2022-23||2,664|
|% Increase in Admissions for 2023-24||2-3%|
|Total Universities in New Zealand||08|
|Average Acceptance Rates at New Zealand Universities||Between 45% to 65%|
|Admission Requirements||UG: High school marks / certificates + SAT score (may be optional) + ELP test score
PG: Bachelor's + standardised test scores + interview + ELP test score
|Standardised Tests Accepted||
PG: GRE / GMAT / LSAT
|English Language Proficiency Tests Required||IELTS / PTE / TOEFL|
|Financial Aid Offered||Scholarships|
|Average Scholarship for International Students||NZD 9,000|
|Permitted Part-Time Working Hours||20 hours a week|
|Average Hourly Pay||NZD 22.89|
Reasons to Study in New Zealand
More than 30,000 international students are admitted across various New Zealand universities. Why more and more international students are aiming to study in New Zealand is because of the following reasons:
- The qualifications are recognised and ranked by top agencies like the QS World Rankings, US News & World Report and Times Higher Education (THE) Ranking.
- All courses offered at New Zealand universities are authorised by the NZQA and NZQF which in turn help international students in applying for jobs in other countries globally.
- There is an opening of 21,000 jobs for international students pertaining to the release of the green list of occupations in New Zealand, which lists 85 jobs. Thus, attracting skilled professionals and offering them a PR in New Zealand as well.
- The borders of New Zealand opened for international students on July 31, 2022, and hence, there is no more hybrid mode of classrooms existing for students enrolled across universities or PTEs or ITPs in New Zealand.
- Scholarship in New Zealand for Indian students or international students is available through the respective university of enrollment or government-based scholarships. There are more merit-based scholarships in New Zealand than need-based.
- There is a high demand for Indian students across various job roles in New Zealand, which students can look forward to while studying in New Zealand.
New Zealand Education System
New Zealand’s education system is world-class, modern and responsive. It combines proven, traditional principles with innovation, creativity, and fresh thinking to produce leaders and citizens equipped for the 21st century.
Education in New Zealand is student-centred. It is focused on supporting students to problem-solve, process information, work with others, and create and innovate. Students have the opportunity to develop their potential along a number of possible pathways, academic and/or vocational.
Predict your English proficiency score by sharing few details
In New Zealand, higher education focuses on the individual, challenges to traditional ideas are welcomed, and a climate of healthy, open debate helps you make your own discoveries.
College Fit in New Zealand
At the higher education level, students have a wide range of options when they choose a college or university. Although there are agencies that attempt to rank colleges and universities, the concept of “fit” is also important. The GPA* of admitted students is important, but majors offered, location, the number of students enrolled, and campus culture are all factors in a prospective student’s decision. Some colleges and universities are publicly funded, while others are privately supported.
*GPA means grade point average. It is the average of all grades received.
Top Ranking Universities in New Zealand 2023-24
The top universities in New Zealand which are aimed by the maximum number of international students while applying for admission are as follows:
|Top New Zealand Universities||QS - World University Rankings 2024||THE - World University Rankings 2023|
|University of Auckland||#68||#139|
|University of Otago||#206||301-350|
|Victoria University of Wellington||#241|
|University of Waikato||#250||401-500|
|University of Canterbury||#256||601-800|
|Auckland University of Technolgy||#407||251-300|
Auckland is the centre of all renowned academic institutes. Most of the best colleges in the country are situated in cities like Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, and Napier-Hastings. There was a 63% increase in the number of Indian students admitted across various universities in New Zealand for 2021-2022 in comparison to the previous academic year. Engineering, Business Studies, IT/Computing, Tourism & Hotel Management and Visual Communications are the popular courses Indian students pursue in New Zealand.
Best Student Cities in New Zealand 2024
Based on QS's rankings for 'Best Student Cities' of 2024 for New Zealand are tabulated below for reference:
|Cities in New Zealand||QS - Best Student Cities Ranking 2024 (New Zealand)|
Lifestyle Tips for Staying in New Zealand
Working hard and getting ahead is considered a virtue in New Zealand. NZ is a well-developed country which offers all sorts of opportunities to advance and broaden careers. Good life in New Zealand is about balancing a day’s hard work with socialising, spending time with your family and friends, and making the most of all the recreational activities. People enjoy the support of a great range of public services which includes developed transportation that makes getting around easier, and access to welfare support.
Safety in New Zealand
New Zealand has a low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a great healthcare system. It is a safe place for students, however, you should take some care with personal safety and possessions. Take copies of your important documents, like your passport and credit cards, and keep them separate from the originals. In an emergency, dial 111 for help.
Weather in New Zealand
Both the North and South Islands of New Zealand enjoy a moderate, maritime climate and temperatures. The country is located in the southern hemisphere. This means summer starts in December and winter begins in June. New Zealand has moderately high rainfall and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country.
- Auckland –The Auckland region enjoys a warm, coastal climate without any extremes. Summers in Auckland are generally warm with high humidity, while winters are mild and damp as it rains a lot in winter. The average temperature in summers is around 24°C to 15°C; in winters it’s around 14°C to 9°C.
- Wellington – This region has mild weather, a temperate marine climate and is well known for being windy. The best weather in Wellington is from October to April. The average temperature in summers is around 20°C to 13°C; in winters it’s around 12°C to 6°C.
- Christchurch – This region has temperate, bright and sunny days. The climate is relatively dry with lesser rainfall than in other places in the country. Temperatures in summer are often moderated by the cool sea breezes. Snowfall is usually expected once or twice a year. The average temperature in the summer season is around 22°C to 12°C; in the winter season is around 12°C to 3°C.
- Queenstown – During winters, Queenstown has snow-capped mountains and bright, clear days while during the summers, days are warm and the weather is pleasant. Weather is the main reason why Queenstown is a popular holiday destination at any time of the year. The average temperature in summers is around 22°C to 10°C; in winters it’s around 10°C to 1°C.
Indians Living in New Zealand
There were nearly 240,000 Indian immigrants living in New Zealand as per the recent stats of 2021. Almost one-third of all Indian immigrants resided in Auckland, representing the second-largest immigrant group by country of origin, after China. On the whole, there are 1.6 million immigrants residing in New Zealand as of 2021 out of which 80,000 are Indians.
Accommodation in New Zealand
Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to live in university-managed accommodation, or with a private landlord. Choosing university-managed accommodation can also give you a catered or self-catered option. Catered accommodation offers the benefits of your meals being cooked for you and a degree of certainty with meal costs.
If you have an idea about what you prefer, the accommodation office at your university will be able to tell you what accommodation they have available – so that’s the place to start. If you are thinking of renting from a private landlord or if your chosen university can’t offer you anything in its own residential facility, the accommodation office should be able to provide you a list of private properties and landlords in the area.
Wherever you choose to live, you should make sure that you know your contractual rights and responsibilities. In most cases, you will be asked to enter into a tenancy agreement, which you should read thoroughly before you sign.
Orientation for Students in New Zealand
Orientation week is mandatory for international students so ensure that you arrive before it starts. This is the time when you will be introduced to the university and its services, as well as enrol in your classes. It is essential that you read your guidebook, which is provided by the college. The guide explains each part of the admission process.
Activities for Students Studying in New Zealand
Along with sports, colleges offer extra-curricular activities to offer students a wide range of experiences. Music, drama, science and literary societies are offered in all colleges, and there are opportunities for outdoor education and other leisure activities. Visits to theatres and concerts, to places relevant to the courses of study such as art galleries and museums, religious centres or historical sites, scientific companies and projects are all part of college life.
New Zealand Admission Requirements 2023-24
The New Zealand admissions vary for each study program and level. For each course, Indian students will need to meet a minimum English language requirement. Along with that, a minimum academic record of 75% and above in Class XII will be required. Foundations and Diploma programmes are available for students who have secured at least 75%. Students should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree programme.
It is important to note that these numbers are just for reference purposes, the actual numbers may differ from university to university.
The following documents also need to be submitted:
- If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation from the employer/manager who know you well and can comment on your professional abilities
- Statement of Purpose
- Photocopied score reports of GMAT / IELTS / TOEFL
- Portfolio (in case of students applying for art and design courses and architecture programmes)
- Others (Certificates/achievements at the state and national level and extracurricular activities)
Timeline for New Zealand Universities
Most of the colleges in New Zealand accept online applications. You will have to visit each college's website to apply. In most cases, you will have to make an account on the college website to provide your basic information, submit the scanned version of your documents, and pay the application fee. You will be informed about the application process and stages through this account. Please refer to the website of the colleges of your choice to know the process of applying.
All colleges require that you pay an application fee while applying. The fee amount will differ depending on the college and course being applied to, so check with individual colleges about their application fee.
How to Apply for Admission to New Zealand?
The common steps to applying for admission are given below for reference:
- Search for colleges and courses
- Contact schools and visit websites for information
- Narrow down your list of schools
- Take the entrance exams like GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS
- Write SOPs and ask for LORs
- Apply to the colleges which fit your interests
- Appear for interviews for the colleges that shortlisted you
- If accepted, apply for a student visa
SOP: A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in the first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well. Read more about: Common Mistakes to Avoid in SOP
Essay: Essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school. Read: Admission Essays - What are they?
LOR: A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter written by a third party describing the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the prospective student to recommend him to the college in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. The third party could be a professor, direct manager etc. Check out: Sample LOR
Intakes in New Zealand for International Students
New Zealand intake for international students is in January and July, with a few universities offering multiple intakes in September and November. You should start your admission process around six months before the application deadline. Typically, most universities have three deadlines during one intake. It is up to the convenience of the students which deadline to aim for. You should be done with your language and aptitude tests by three months before the deadline. The last three months should be dedicated to filling out the application form properly.
It is essential to ensure that the ‘complete application process along with appearing for interviews and visa application process should be complete by Oct-Nov for the February intake. Check out New Zealand February 2024 Intake for international students.
If you are looking to get admission into vocational courses, then some courses may have admissions open even in March, April, May or July.
Language Exams in New Zealand
International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are all standardised language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission to colleges. These follow different formats, structures and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways but many colleges ask for any one of the results. So it's up to the student to decide which exam to appear for.
Repetition of exams
IELTS can be taken an unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as wished but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. It’s the same with PTE; it can be taken as many times as one wishes. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test.
Exam Fee 2023-24
The exam fee for various exams is as follows:
|ELP & Standardised Exams Accepted in New Zealand||Exam Fee for Indian Students 2023-24|
|GRE||INR 22,500 | Subject Test Fee: INR 14,500|
Time to apply to New Zealand Universities
Ideally, if you are aiming at the January intake you should appear for these exams by June so that you can apply before the first deadline. The universities you will be applying to will mention which exam results they will accept. But if they give you a choice to go for either of these, then the choice depends on you. The time required to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL/PTE would depend on the existing English language proficiency. You may require two to four months of preparation before the exam date.
Cost of Living in New Zealand
The cost of living depends heavily on what part of New Zealand will you be living in, along with how much you will socialise. Some of the basic elements for living as an international student in New Zealand are:
- Accommodation rent (on-campus or off-campus)
- Groceries and food
- Utilities like power, water, gas, internet
- Phone bills
- Text and reference books
- Airfare for travelling back to India
Other elements which may differ from person to person would be:
- Dining out
- Travel and vacation
- Car rental and car insurance
- Cable TV connection
Living Expenses in New Zealand
With your application for a student visa, you must provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself throughout your stay in New Zealand. If your programme of study is longer than 36 weeks, you require NZ$ 15,000 for each year (40 weeks) of study. For a single student, this would translate to approximately NZ$ 300-350 per week for general living expenses.
Milk (two litres)
Lunch from campus café
Meal at a restaurant
Cell phone plan (per month)
One-way bus fare (depends on the distance)
Monthly bus pass
Doctor’s consultation fee
You are required to hold appropriate and current medical and travel insurance as a condition of your visa regardless of the length of your stay in New Zealand. The New Zealand government’s “Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students” requires all international students to have health and travel insurance during their period of study. It is the university’s responsibility under the Code to ensure all enrolled international students have proper health and travel insurance policies for the duration of their student visa. Most of the time universities provide health insurance to students and the cost is included in the first-semester fee. Studentsafe is the most popular insurance provider in New Zealand.
Check out: Cost of Living in New Zealand
Cost of Studying in New Zealand
The tuition fee varies according to different universities, courses and the city in New Zealand. The tuition expenses in New Zealand might be up to 10.78 Lacs per annum for an undergraduate course. And if you are thinking of applying for a post-graduate course, the cost would be approximately 11.5 Lacs per year.
Read more at: Cost of Studying in New Zealand
Scholarships in New Zealand
Merit-based and need-based fee waivers in the form of scholarships in New Zealand are awarded to international students. Candidates with strong academics, good performance on standardised exams and extracurricular achievements would be eligible for scholarship awards and financial assistance. To benefit from these opportunities, one has to make sure to send all the required documents by particular deadlines. In addition to this, the presentation of the application is also important because one is judged by the image one projects.
Documents required: Here is a list of the documents usually needed for a scholarship application, although the requirements may differ:
- Academic records and photocopies
- A recent CV
- A letter of intent, which acts as a cover page
- Certificate of language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS scores)
- Letters of Reference (LOR)
Loans in New Zealand
Student eligibility criteria: The first thing is to be aware of whether you are eligible to apply for the loan or not. The general eligibility criteria that are followed by all the banks are:
- You should be an Indian national
- You must have a strong academic record
- You must be seeking admission to a professional, technical or another course of study. Most banks maintain that the selected course should be job oriented
- You must have secured admission to a foreign university institution
- You must be above the age of 18 years or else your parents can avail of the loan
Eligibility of course: You may not get a loan on every course. Here are the kinds of courses that qualify for the education loan.
- For Graduation: Job-oriented professional or technical courses offered by reputed universities
- For Post Graduation: MCA, MBA, MS or even diplomas
- These courses could be from foreign universities or institutes approved by the state and central government
Loan amount: If your total fee is Rs 10 lakh, the bank may offer to give a loan of 80% of the amount and you will have to put in the balance of 20%. This is called the margin amount. The maximum loan amount banks offer for studies abroad is generally around Rs 20 lakh. If your tuition fee amount is Rs 30 lakh, you’ll have to manage the rest of the funds by yourself. Some banks charge a processing fee, while others don’t. It may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the total loan amount. So if the bank charges you 1% as a processing fee, that will be an additional cost you’ll have to cover.
Documentation required: You will have to provide the acceptance letter sent by the university reflecting that you have been selected for the course and the schedule of fees. You will also need to show the mark sheet of the last qualifying examination to show your academic record.
All banks have different requirements for documentation, so you need to confirm with the bank first.
Repayment: Repayment starts only after the course period. If the student gets employed within one year after completion of the course, the repayment should start immediately after the expiry of one month from the date of employment.
If you do not secure a job within a year of completing the course, then repayment starts irrespective of whether or not you are employed. The loan is generally to be repaid in 5-7 years after the commencement of repayment. If the student is not able to complete the course within the scheduled time, an extension of time for completion, of course, he may be permitted for a maximum period of two years. Generally, you will get up to a maximum number of 10 years to repay the loan.
Apart from the loans, scholarships and grants for supporting study in New Zealand, international students can also check our page on funding sources to support education in New Zealand
Student Visa in New Zealand
If you want to attend a university or college in New Zealand you will need a student visa. The following documents will be required for New Zealand student visa application purposes:
- Valid passport – Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your period of stay in New Zealand
- Completed Student Visa Application Form (INZ 1012)
- Application fee payment receipt, as you are required to pay Rs 5,194 or 100 NZD before your interview
- An offer of place – You need to have an offer of place from a New Zealand institute/university. The forms are usually issued after the tuition fees have been received
- Letter from your current institution confirming your status as a study abroad student
- Health insurance receipt
- You may be required to show Health and Character certificates, to prove that your intention of staying in New Zealand is genuine
- Two passport-sized photographs
Note: Additional documentation may be required. During the personal interview, additional documents may be requested by the interviewer. These may be documents to prove evidence of academic or financial status.
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
- Scores from tests that your college required, such as TOEFL, GRE, or GMAT
- How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs
Student Visa Application Process in New Zealand
The average time taken by the New Zealand High Commission for the visa procedure is anywhere between 8 to 12 weeks depending on the individual’s background. So the students need to apply for their visas at least three months prior to their course commencement.
As an international student, you must complete your course within the minimum course duration listed on your acceptance letter. If you do not yet have a job offer, you may apply for a Post-study work visa. Visas granted are valid for up to 12 months and allow you to work in a temporary job while you look for a job in your field.
New Zealand Work Permit
You can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week if your programme of study meets one of these criteria:
- It is at least two years in duration
- It leads to a New Zealand qualification that qualifies for points towards an application for a Skilled Migrant visa.
- It is a tertiary institution, and the main purpose is to develop English language skills – you must also have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall band score of 5.0 or above in the general or academic modules.
You may work full-time during all vacations if you are enrolled in a full-time programme of study of at least one academic year’s duration. If your full-time programme of study has a duration of at least eight months, and is a minimum of two semesters, but is less than 120 credits, you can work full-time over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Visa for Spouse in New Zealand
In most cases, the spouse and dependent children of a student will be granted a visa for the same duration as their partner or parents' stay. Spouses of students on Work Visa can work full time in NZ. However, the dependents of students on visas have no work rights.
Get more info at: Student's Spouse Visa in New Zealand
Pre-departure List for New Zealand
- Book airline tickets
- Arrange accommodation in New Zealand
- Arrange transportation to/from the airport to home in New Zealand
- Arrange your banking requirements – consider buying traveller’s cheques
- Check baggage and customs limitations
- Clear all paperwork with your home educational institution
Get your documents in order and make photocopies to store in your baggage and keep at home, including:
- Airline tickets
- Travel insurance certificate
- Letter of Acceptance (LOR) by the educational institution
- Important addresses and phone numbers
- A bank statement showing proof of funds
- Prescriptions for any medication you are carrying
- Traveller’s cheques—if applicable
- Medical and immunisation records
- Academic history and university transcripts
After Arriving in New Zealand
After arriving in New Zealand the students will have the opportunity to explore the multi-faceted adventure, scenic beauty and cleanliness in abundance. Other than this the students may also experience the following in New Zealand:
Homesickness is a predictable problem faced by most students at one point or another. It may occur at the beginning or even later during the year. Homesickness will pass. Be patient. Give it at least two weeks. If you are feeling sad, explain what is happening to your friends. Do not hide in your room; if you do, the homesickness will only worsen. Find your counsellor staff with whom you can talk about homesickness or other problems. Homesickness might be made worse by frequent, long telephone calls home. Most homesick students feel more homesick after a call home than they did before they picked up the phone. Try to limit yourself to one call home every week. The sooner you integrate into the university experience, the sooner your homesickness will pass.
Shopping in New Zealand
Large shopping malls like The Base, Sylvia Park and Westfield Albany in New Zealand are one-stop shops for all of your daily needs. Be vigilant to ensure that all of your shopping is properly billed and that you retain the bills with you.
Learning Basic Cooking
Cooking for yourself will save you money. Indian food is expensive in New Zealand. It will also satisfy your urge to eat ‘your food’ during moments of homesickness. Indian spices are not commonly available in smaller cities, but you may find shops on campus where you can get ingredients used in most Indian food.
Each large city has and provides different methods of public transportation, such as buses, taxis or trains. You might wish to rely on a private car for transportation. Even with the rising cost of petrol, private cars are the most economical and convenient mode of transportation because you get a lot of flexibility and freedom with your car. You can travel wherever and whenever you want, and don't have to depend on the schedule of public transport. However, before you buy your own car, you will have to use public transportation or ask friends for rides.
Stay on Student Visa
When you enter New Zealand, you may remain there as long as you are enrolled in the school to complete your academic programme. After the programme ends you may apply for a temporary Post-study work visa (open) for a maximum of 12 months. If you are a student with an offer of employment, you may be eligible for a Post-study work visa (employer assisted) for a maximum period of two years. Check How to Get Work Permit in New Zealand?
Placements in New Zealand
Indian students are used to the concept of campus placements and on-campus recruitment for getting jobs. There is no concept of placements in New Zealand, like most other foreign countries. Most New Zealand universities have a cell called a Career Services Center, which helps you get jobs and helps you prepare for interviews. The on-campus recruitment is always driven by student interest these are also referred to as part-time work options in New Zealand. Companies that recruit through the university do not offer a job directly. What they offer is an internship. Companies like to see your work for a few months before they hire you full-time.
Get more info about Popular Job Sectors in New Zealand
Work Visa in New Zealand for Students
If you are a student with an offer of employment relevant to your qualification, you may be eligible for a work visa for a maximum period of two years. You will need to provide evidence of the relevance of your job offer to your qualification, and the proof of successful completion of a qualification in New Zealand that meets the Study to Work qualification requirements.
If you have queries related to New Zealand's admission process, application filing and other course-specific details, you can sign up for free counselling at - https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/apply. Or get in touch with us in the comments below.