New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan

Education in New Zealand

Join the New World Class
By Rob Stevens, the Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, an independent, industry owned body that advocates on behalf of New Zealand’s education export industry.

Studying in New Zealand offers the opportunity for students to gain a quality international education in one of the world’s best places to live and study

New Zealand has an international reputation as a provider of quality education and demand for study in New Zealand is growing rapidly. New Zealand’s pride of position as one of the best education locations is reflected by the fact that its education export industry is one of the country’s top five export industries.

Round the world, students graduating from New Zealand’s education environment are earning a reputation as a new breed of innovative thinkers and are enjoying career success.

While enjoying the benefits of a British-based and internationally recognised and accredited education system, students choosing New Zealand also stumble across one of the world’s best kept secrets – easy, affordable access to superb sporting and recreational facilities and a unique natural environment.


  • Institutions and Qualifications

New Zealand offers a broad range of courses for academic, professional and vocational studies at universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, secondary schools and private training establishments.

Secondary School Education
New Zealand has over 400 secondary schools offering a wide range of subjects for Year 9 – 13 students (aged 13 to 18 years). Many international students enroll for senior studies in Years 11 – 13 in preparation for tertiary studies in New Zealand or other English speaking countries. Most secondary schools are state-funded and co-educational, preparing students for the same national qualifications and fitting in well with secondary programmes throughout the world.

The secondary school academic year is a four-term system, running from late January to mid-December with holidays in April, July and September.

English Language Schools
English language training is offered in a variety of settings with 27 English language schools affiliated to New Zealand universities or polytechnics and over 100 private language schools. Most private institutions are registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, ensuring high standards of tuition are maintained and courses meet internationally recognised standards.

International students enroll in English language study courses to improve their language before commencing study at a secondary school or tertiary institution or to develop English skills for business to further their career opportunities.

There are many courses to choose from at this level, ranging in length from 1 – 48 weeks and courses exist for both individuals and groups. A number of programmes offer the chance to experience the unique features of New Zealand, while still enjoying a superior level of education. From white water rafting and horse riding to mountain biking and rugby, there are hundreds of activities available in New Zealand which can make learning English fun and exciting.

Tertiary Studies
The tertiary academic year extends from late February to November with a number of study breaks in-between. Some institutions operate a semester system with two intakes each year (the second in July) for some of their programmes.

New Zealand has eight state owned universities, offering Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral degrees along with a range of undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas and honour programmes. Academic standards are rigorous and New Zealand degree qualifications have credibility worldwide. All universities offer a broad range of subjects for degrees in Commerce, Science and the Arts. In addition each university has also developed its own specialist subjects, such as Medicine, Engineering, Law, Computer Studies, Agriculture, Technology and Environmental Studies.

In some disciplines New Zealand is regarded as a world leader. With more than 70 percent of the country’s export earnings derived from biology-based industries, New Zealand has developed a world class bioscience industry in human and animal health, agriculture and horticulture and a range of other natural products. Biotechnology is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sectors with a wave of research initiatives underway at universities. Other areas in which New Zealand is known for leading edge academic thinking and research include Resource Management and indigenous issues. North American First Nations students in particular come to New Zealand to study in an environment where indigenous perspectives are respected and incorporated into the education environment.

New Zealand also has 21 state-funded Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology spread around the country and providing both academic and applied skills. Hundreds of courses are offered in disciplines ranging from Art and Design to Fishing and Marine Studies, Tourism and Hospitality. The aim is for students to be ready for work the day they graduate.

Students interested in teaching can undertake specialised training at colleges of education around New Zealand.


  • Great Value

International students in New Zealand often comment that New Zealand’s goods and services are not only high quality, but also represent great value for money. In general New Zealand and Australia have a similar cost of living, which is less than both the United Kingdom and the United States. For example it costs US$0.25 to post a letter, local telephone calls are free and a Big Mac at McDonald’s costs around $US2.50. National telecommunications provider Telecom also has very attractive rates for overseas telephone calls, meaning you can talk for up to two hours some weeknights and weekends for as little as $US5.00. There are student discounts at the movies and for some travel, entertainment and recreational activities.


  • Student Safety

There is a mandatory Code of Practice that puts New Zealand at the forefront of best practice in the care and well being of international students. The code has recently been strengthened to further improve pastoral care provisions for all international students, whether they are studying short or long term courses.

The Code requires:
- The provision of accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information
- Ethical and responsible recruitment
- Special requirements for the accommodation and welfare of students under 18
- The provision of support services
- Access to grievance procedures
- Minimum standards for the conduct of recruitment and homestay agents

Living Conditions

New Zealand’s track record as a clean, green food producer means students can enjoy the freshest food, both at home and when eating out. New Zealand is a major producer of grass-fed lamb, venison, beef and dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant and inexpensive. There is a wide range of restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets – and meeting friends at cafes is an everyday part of New Zealand’s culture, reflecting the relaxed lifestyle ‘Kiwis’ enjoy.

A wide choice of accommodation options is available in New Zealand. Many international students choose homestays, where they live with a New Zealand family in a house with their own room, and are provided with breakfast and dinner. Some institutions have boarding hostels on campus or nearby, with students living in single rooms or dormitories and meals provided in cafeterias. Renting flats, or a room in a shared flat with others, is another popular option for students over 18.


  • Recreation in Paradise

New Zealand offers a huge range of things to see and do, meaning students can gain top quality qualifications while also having a lot of fun. Within only several hours of travel there is rolling green farmland, volcanic desert areas, golden beaches and snow covered mountains to visit - as well as all the sophisticated facilities one expects to find in modern, technologically advanced cities.

A wide range of inexpensive and easily accessible outdoor experiences is available in New Zealand. Skiing, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, golfing, hang gliding, bush walking and mountaineering are just some of the activities on offer, all to be enjoyed in a breathtakingly beautiful and pristine environment. In addition to adventures on the water and the slopes, it’s easy to play team sports such as rugby, soccer and cricket and there is ready access to gymnasiums and health training venues. Cities have cinemas, night-clubs, art galleries and museums, seven professional theatre companies operate throughout the country and rock concerts feature regularly, regularly attracting high profile overseas artists.


  • Entry Requirements

Anyone travelling to New Zealand as a visitor may study for less than three months without needing a student permit. However full time study for a longer period normally requires a student visa and student permit, unless the applicant is from a country that has a special arrangement with New Zealand.

Application forms are available from the New Zealand Immigration Service offices or can be downloaded from .


  • Find Out More

One of the best ways to find out more about studying in New Zealand is by visiting the New Zealand Educated website, which has a wealth of information including a database of institutions and courses, and a wide range of Alumni (graduate) profiles to give a first hand picture of what others are experiencing. Alternatively, contact your nearest New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) office, New Zealand Embassy or Consulate office.

* Rob Stevens is the Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, an independent, industry owned body that advocates on behalf of New Zealand’s education export industry.


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