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Official information for international students

Students on Wellington waterfront

Where in New Zealand Can You Study?

Find out more about study options and lifestyles in different cities and towns around New Zealand.

Whether you’d like to live in a big city, a vibrant regional centre or a close-knit rural community, New Zealand has a study destination to suit you. 

Each region has its own distinctive character, with many institutions and courses to choose from. 

All eight of our state-funded universities are ranked in the top 3% in the world. There are main campuses in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and smaller campuses in other parts of the country. 

You’ll also find institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), private training establishments (PTEs) and English language schools throughout New Zealand.

Our network of high quality primary, intermediate and secondary schools covers the whole country, so you can have your choice of lifestyle. 

Not sure where to start? Think about what kind of lifestyle you want, and hear what other international students have to say about the study destinations they chose. 

You can also search for courses and institutions in New Zealand based on your study plans and preferred lifestyle with our free, easy-to-use My StudyNZ online tool.

Auckland city skyline from Mt Eden

No matter where you choose to study, you’ll find friendly people, culturally diverse communities, a high quality of life and an incredible natural landscape to explore.

Thriving regions

Learning doesn’t always take place in the classroom – especially when you’re studying in regions that specialise in the subjects you’re studying. 

Anna Underhill, from the United States, gained practical experience in orchards while studying in Palmerston North, one of the country’s horticultural hubs. 

“Studying horticulture in New Zealand was very hands-on. We worked in an apple orchard each week, which gave me a new interest in fruit production,” says Anna.

Famous for its Māori culture, natural hot springs and bubbling mud pools, Rotorua is a top tourist destination. It’s an ideal place to study tourism and hospitality, as Indian student Deepak Nair found out when he enrolled to study hotel management in Rotorua. 

Deepak’s polytechnic arranged for him to have a part-time job at a four-star hotel during his studies. After graduating, he went on to work for the same hotel group. 

“I was able to interact with students who represent different countries, cultures and customs, make good friends and interact with staff as I grew skills for my career,” says Deepak. 

An international student experiencing a hongi greeting inside a marae in New Zealand

The Māori concept of Manaakitanga – welcoming and looking after guests, with generosity and mutual respect – runs so deep in New Zealand that it’s enshrined in our education system.

Cafe culture 

“You can enjoy something a little bit marvellous every weekend in this city.”

That’s Yuko Shimada’s view of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

There’s the night market, festivals and galleries that change exhibitions often and that are mostly free of charge. Everybody treats us like locals, which is really great,” says Yuko, an English language student from Japan. 

US Study Abroad student Christina Elder loves the cafe culture in Dunedin

“Dunedin is a beautiful city filled with some of the quirkiest and most lovely coffee shops, “ she says. 

“Coffee shops are a social place to gather, take a break from studying and catch up with your good mates.”

City + nature

Even New Zealand’s bigger cities often have easy access to nature.

Brazilian computer science student Lucas gets the best of both worlds – a fun social life in the vibrant university city of Hamilton, and time to explore the nearby rivers and mountains with his hiking buddies on the weekend. 

“You get such a great balance between study and life. No way I could get this back home,” he says. 

 “Kiwis love getting outside because there’s so much to do. I can go to the beach, the mountains or skiing – all in one day.”

Students in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, can go sailing, horseriding, hiking, surfing or mountain biking within an hour of the city centre. 

Indian sports student Ketaki Khare, a former member of India’s women’s rugby team, has been amazed by the range of sports and outdoor activities to choose from in Auckland. 

“Apart from following my rugby dream, I have been able to compete at CrossFit, get back into judo training, pick up surfing, travel the city on my bicycle with my mates, swim in the ocean and join a dance crew, all whilst being able to study and pass my courses,” she says.  

A group of international students walk along a beach in New Zealand

You’ll never be far from a beach or an area of native bush, so you’ll be able to balance your studies with exploring the outdoors.

Caring communities 

The relaxed pace of life in Southland gave Thai secondary school student Chonlada Damrongkitkanwong time to develop new interests, including snowboarding and baking.  

She found her experience of studying in Invercargill so valuable that she convinced her parents to send her younger sister, Bam, to live with the same host family and attend the same school.

“I recommended New Zealand to Bam because it is safe and because I knew she would do well here,” says Chonlada, who went on to study in Wellington, Boston, Shanghai and London before launching her own business. 

Working after study?

Did you know that choosing to study outside Auckland might enable you to work in New Zealand for longer after you graduate? 

A post-study work visa could allow you to stay on in New Zealand to work for between one and three years, depending on your qualification and where you study.

Explore your options

  • Use the Study in New Zealand interactive map to discover more about the different regions, cities and towns across the country.
  • Use My StudyNZ to find a course or school. My StudyNZ makes it easier to find the best study options in New Zealand for you, by ranking them according to your study and lifestyle preferences.
Start your education journey today
Find your study match
Linley

By Linley Boniface

Updated 1 year ago

Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student. 

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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