An Indian Student’s Guide to Studying in New Zealand

New Zealand has one of the top English-speaking study-abroad destinations for Indian students. The country offers access to advanced research expertise through globally acclaimed faculty, labs, and technology, with an investment of NZ$877 million each year. New Zealand provides a safe atmosphere and a future-focused education. Additionally, the country enables international students to pursue a global career on completion of their studies, through an open three-year post-study work visa. In this post, guest writer Andrej Kovacevic along with me write about an Indian student’s guide to study in New Zealand.


An Indian Student’s Guide to Studying in New Zealand


Co-authored by Andrej Kovacevic



There are eight state-funded universities and 600 private universities in New Zealand. People attending public Universities can undertake PhD programs, postgraduate and undergraduate programs. There are 23 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPS) where Indian students can take postgraduate and undergraduate vocational courses. There are also Wananga institutions where you may learn about the Maori people. The education system in New Zealand is rich and offers valuable courses for its attendees.


Why Would an Indian Study in New Zealand?


Employers worldwide will regard a New Zealand institution with respect. They may not be as famous as Ivy League colleges in the USA, or the upper-class universities in the United Kingdom, but they still have a good reputation. Also, unlike studying in the UK, the USA or Europe, your money goes far further in New Zealand. Meals with fresh ingredients in restaurants will cost you less than USD $15. It is only in big cities where things start getting disproportionately expensive.


If you are just as interested in practical work as written work, then that too is a good reason to study in New Zealand since most curriculums favor both in equal measure. Teaching standards are also very good, with a strong focus on smaller class sizes and individual attention. There are also plenty of learning and training courses to choose from.


New Zealand is also a young and independent country, which means there is less snobbery, for want of a better word. To get into the best schools, you simply need to be the best student. It doesn’t matter about your background, who your parents are, or how much your family donates to the university every year.


Find Other Students From India


We are all told to be cosmopolitan and to hold hands across the world, but in real life, it is often better to stick with what you know. You are likely to get along far better with other students who have come over from India simply because you have more in common. They are more likely to have watched the same TV shows as you as a child, they are probably going to have grandparents who are similar to yours, and they are more likely to know what you find funny.


If you can find Indian people who have already been at university for a year or so, then all the better, but it is not essential. Even somebody who has started at the same time as you will be helpful as you both discover new things together. It is less about mining the other person for information, and more about going through the process with somebody who is having a similar experience to you.


Top Universities in New Zealand


New Zealand has several types of higher education institutions: universities, colleges, private institutions, and polytechnics. Although there are only eight universities in New Zealand, four feature in the world’s top 350 (according to Times Higher Education). If you think about it, that’s a pretty impressive proportion.


All eight of these universities are ranked within the QS World University Ranking top 500. The highest-ranked is the University of Auckland, which is in 82nd place, followed by the University of Otago in 151st place.


List of Universities in New Zealand


  1. University of Auckland
  2. University of Otago
  3. University of Canterbury
  4. Victoria University of Wellington
  5. University of Waikato
  6. Massey University
  7. Lincoln University
  8. Auckland University of Technology


All of New Zealand’s universities are publically-funded institutions, offering a wide range of Masters degrees. They are split almost evenly between the two main islands that make up New Zealand:


  • AUT University, University of Auckland, Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington and Waikato University are located on the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui).
  • The University of Canterbury, University of Otago and Lincoln University are located on the South Island (Te Waipounamu).


Other Institutes


New Zealand also has 18 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs). They provide professional and vocational education and training ranging from introductory studies through to full degree programs. Many ITPs also offer English language training and postgraduate study options, including up to Doctoral (PhD) level. Courses are more vocationally oriented, emphasizing practical experience and application to work situations. A degree from one of these institutions has equal status with a university degree.


Tuition Fees and Living Expenses in New Zealand


Approximate Tuition Fees at Universities:


  • Undergraduate – NZD $18000 – $25000 (INR 8 Lacs – 11 Lacs) per year
  • Post Graduate – NZD $25,000 – $40000 (INR 11 Lacs – 18 Lacs) per year


Arts and Humanities subjects will be at the lower end of this scale, while Science and Engineering subjects will be near the top.


Approximate Cost of Living: NZD $ 12,000 – NZD $ 15,000 per annum


I NZD = INR 44 (appx.)


Scholarships for International Students to Study in New Zealand


It is pretty tough to get a scholarship for an international student, especially when you consider that you are competing with a whole world full of students. Yet, here are a few you can apply for if you are looking to study in New Zealand.


Top Government Scholarships in New Zealand for Indian Students


  • New Zealand Development Scholarships
  • New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships
  • New Zealand Excellence Awards
  • New Zealand ASEAN Scholar Awards
  • New Zealand International Undergraduate Fees Scholarship
  • New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS)
  • R.H.T. Bates Postgraduate Scholarship


More details on NZ Govt. Scholarships can be found here.


Top University Scholarships in New Zealand for Indian Students


  • University of Otago International Research Postgraduate (Masters) Scholarships
  • University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship
  • UC international First-Year Scholarships
  • University of Waikato International Scholarships
  • A. C. Rayner Memorial Scholarship
  • The Eamon Molloy Memorial Scholarship
  • University of Waikato Excellence Scholarship for Asia
  • Wellington Doctoral Submission Scholarship
  • AUT Marsden PhD Scholarship in Statistics
  • University Of Waikato Taught Postgraduate Scholarships


If you opt for a scholarship, plus have a part-time job, then you should be able to manage your finances pretty well and leave university without an epic amount of debt. If you are on a study visa, you are able to work 20 hours per week. During university vacation time, you are able to work full-time on a study visa. Just be sure that you know the rules because you do have to pay tax; the rules are different for doctoral students. You cannot be self-employed.


Intakes, Deadlines, Eligibility & Application Process


Application Deadlines


Application deadlines for degree programs in New Zealand vary according to the semester in which a course begins:


  • For a Masters beginning in semester one (February-June) you should normally apply by the 31st of October in the preceding year.
  • For a Masters beginning in semester two (July-November) you should normally apply by the 30th of April in the year your course commences.




The requirements vary between study programs and levels. For each course, Indian students will need to meet a minimum English language requirement (IELTS / TOEFL / PTE).


For Bachelors: minimum 6.0 in IELTS / 79 in TOEFL / 50 in PTE

For Postgraduate: minimum 6.5 in IELTS / 88 in TOEFL / 58 in PTE


For Bachelor programs, students need a minimum academic record of 65 – 80% and above in Class XII. For postgraduate programs, students a minimum of 55 – 70% in Bachelors.


2 – 3 years of work experience is required for MBA programs.


GRE / GMAT is not mandatory to study in New Zealand.


Application Process


There are various ways to apply for a Bachelor or Masters in New Zealand as an international student:


  • We recommend you apply directly to universities, most of which will offer application guidelines online; and avoid agents for studying in New Zealand. There have been a few cases of fraud in the recent past. So, be careful of agents.


If needed, you can consult with a Counselor. But, avoid agents, by all means, to study in New Zealand


Application Requirements


The most important part of your application will usually be proof of your existing qualifications or experience (as appropriate). In addition to these, you may need to submit:


  • Academic transcripts – Universities in New Zealand will need to see a certified transcript, detailing the modules you’ve studied and the grades you received for them. Your current or previous university should be able to prepare this for you upon request.
  • References (LOR) – Not all courses will require references. If you are asked to provide some you should probably include statements from tutors, employers or other people with experience of you in an academic or professional context.
  • A personal statement (SOP) – You’re most likely to be asked for a personal statement (SOP) as part of your application to an undergraduate program, a professional development program or a Masters by Research (where it may be associated with your project proposal).
  • Valid IELTS / TOEFL /PTE Scorecard




Interviews aren’t likely to be required for international Masters students in New Zealand (universities will appreciate that it’s rather a long way to travel!). It’s also not needed for a Bachelor’s degree either.


However, if the institution does want to chat with you during your application they might arrange a less formal interview over Skype or telephone.


Visit New Zealand Govt. site to know more about courses and application process.


Best Courses to Study in New Zealand


  • Animation
  • Engineering (Chemical, Geotechnical, Mechanical, Electrical-Electronics, Civil)
  • Medicine
  • Environmental Science & Forestry
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • IT and Computer Science
  • Agriculture
  • Food Science & Technology
  • Art and design
  • Nursing
  • Health care
  • Business studies & management
  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Sports management


Know more about skill shortages in New Zealand.


Accommodation in the Short and Long Term


Many universities have a campus where you may stay for your first year. The idea of only being able to stay on-site for a year may seem worrying but think of it as giving you a full year to find a place to stay. Usually, the place you find will be student accommodation, and you will probably end up staying with the friends you have made. Almost every New Zealand University has a service that helps you find accommodation in your first or subsequent years.


Do not worry too much about long-term housing because you have to remember that hundreds of students go looking for accommodation every year, and hundreds of students find it. There are even universities that offer longer living arrangements, like Massey University where flats are offered to students.


In the short term, you can find student housing before you arrive, which may be handy if you are already going over to New Zealand with a bunch of your Indian friends. Alternatively, you can pay for a room on campus, where you may have your own room or share with another person depending on how much you wish to pay for accommodation. Do not be too quick to jump at having your own place. For example, a studio flat at Lucas Creek Village in the Albany Campus will cost you over US$300 per week with a 38-week contract.


Culture and Food


Where it is probably true that New Zealanders are not as laid back or friendly as the Australians, they are still welcoming and hospitable people. They are not rude to foreigners like the French, or overly snobby to them like the British. Nevertheless, if you are venturing into bigger cities, try to find out where the rough areas are and then avoid them because tourists are often targeted.


Local and seasonal produce seems rather popular in New Zealand, and even if you are not a fish or shellfish type of person, you should try out the many types of fish and shellfish on offer. It is fair to say there are few places on earth with better ocean cuisine. Plus, keep in mind that New Zealand waters are far less polluted than other fishing areas in the world, which probably explains why New Zealanders have fewer heart attacks and strokes than people in Europe, the UK, and the USA. The biggest cause of death in New Zealand is cancer, and it disproportionately affects men for some reason.


Post-Study Work Visa Rules in New Zealand


1-Year Job Search Visa + 2-Year Work permit


Final Thought – The Weather is Shocking


One of the most commented-upon aspects of studying in New Zealand is the weather. It is especially jarring for people from the tropically warm areas of India. In a single day, you can experience blistering heat, chilly winds, and sporadic rain. It is possible to feel all four seasons in a single day. Also, be aware that June and August are the coolest months, which in Australia means it is still surfing weather, but in New Zealand, it can mean icy winds, especially in high altitude areas.




Author Bio: 

Andrej Kovačević is an accomplished digital marketing specialist and an avid internet technologist. He believes that the key to modern marketing excellence is a constant willingness to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital world. Currently, Andrej is the Head of Production at Amebae Online Pty Ltd.



Featured Image Source: 7th Sky


References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.


Note: This is a Sponsored Post.

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