New Zealand is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for students from all around the world, and for good reason.
Between the beautiful 'Middle Earth' scenery, friendly Kiwis (the people, not the flightless birds), thrilling extreme sports, and rich culture, it's hard to think of a better place to spend a semester. Plus, all the classes are in English -- unless you're feeling extra ambitious and want to learn some Māori as well!
Whether you decide to immerse yourself in the diverse, energetic city of Auckland, explore the stunning northern Coromandel Peninsula, or use the laid-back South Island cities of Dunedin or Christchurch as your base for weekend excursions, you'll never run out of ways to fill your time between classes.
How to Enroll
Direct enrollment is exactly what you think: you sign up for classes directly through the Kiwi university, like any other local student. This gives you the most flexibility in course offerings (and usually saves you some money, too), but you should make sure you'll get credit for the courses before you start buying any of the textbooks.
Many of New Zealand's top universities -- including the University of Auckland, AUT, University of Otago, University of Waikato and others -- offer an option for international students to enroll directly in their courses.
Direct exchange means you're technically studying abroad through your home university, so you continue paying your normal tuitions fees and automatically credit your classes taken abroad to your degree at home. This is a convenient option if you don't want to go through the headache of figuring out how to register (and pay) for classes abroad, or making sure your course credits will transfer back home.
Most major Kiwi universities have direct exchange agreements with universities in other countries. To find out if this is an option for you, talk to your study abroad office or see if the host university has a public list of partner institutions, like this one for the University of Otago.
Studying abroad through a third-party provider -- either a company or another university's study abroad program -- can save you a lot of stress and confusion. These organizations already have years of experience helping students adjust to their host universities and cities, and can provide an extra layer of security and support, especially when it comes to logistics like visas, housing, and registration.
Tuition varies by university or program provider. If you're enrolling directly in a local university, you'll be paying their tuition fees, which run about NZ$12,000-13,000 per study abroad semester, or NZ$23,000-$40,000 annually for a full-time student, depending on your program of study.
Program providers set their own fees, but you can generally expect they'll be about equivalent to what you'd pay for a semester at your home university.
Cost of Living
Cost of living will vary somewhat depending on where you are in the country, though it's worth remembering that New Zealand, like most island nations that have to import the majority of their goods, isn't cheap. In general, prices will be highest in major cities like Auckland or Christchurch.
Most universities offer student residential housing, which costs between NZ$200-400 per week, depending whether meals are also included. You can also look into apartments or even homestays, if your provider offers that as an option. Costs for these will vary based on local housing prices.
You should also factor in costs for textbooks, meals, transportation, cell phone bills and, of course, all the activities the adventure capital of the world has to offer! These costs will depend on your lifestyle and spending habits, but plan to budget anywhere from NZ$400-1,000 per month for these personal expenses.
You'll need a student visa to study in New Zealand. You can apply for the visa online, as long as you have all your documents. The fee for the student visa varies slightly based on your country of citizenship, but usually runs about NZ$250.
All of New Zealand's most popular study abroad host universities offer some type of scholarship or other financial aid -- yes, even for international students! The University of Canterbury offers funding for everyone from theology students to women enrolled in engineering degrees.
Your home university may also have funding available to support overseas study or research, so be sure to ask your study abroad office about scholarships or other financial aid opportunities.
Oldest University in New Zealand
New Zealand's oldest university is the University of Otago, a public university founded in 1869 in the city of Dunedin, on the South Island. It is one of the country's top universities, and has more than 21,000 enrolled students. The university's architectural design and nearby gardens have given it a reputation as one of the world's most beautiful universities.
Biggest University in New Zealand
Fittingly, New Zealand's biggest university is found in the country's biggest city. The University of Auckland serves about 42,000 students across six campuses, including the tranquil, tree-lined City campus in the middle of Auckland. It's also the highest-ranked university in New Zealand, coming in at 81st on the 2016/17 QS World University Rankings.
Quirkiest Degree You Can Earn in New Zealand
New Zealand's amazing location and biodiversity mean it has tons of interesting degrees and courses of study based in the great outdoors. The University of Canterbury offers a Masters in Antarctic Studies, while the University of Auckland goes straight for the oenophiles with a full Wine Science program.