1. Plan your research in advance
Make a timeline for your research to help you work towards completing your degree within 3 years (you can submit your thesis in 3 years if everything works out fine). This can help avoid unnecessary tensions and stress at the end of your research.
2. Bring your family
This was particularly important to me as I am deeply attached to my family. I brought my family over to New Zealand 6 months after I arrived. You’ll feel happier and more settled when your family is with you and it will make a huge difference to your PhD life here in New Zealand. New Zealand is a country where you can enjoy life along whilst doing your research. So why not enjoy it with your family?
3. Network to help find work after your PhD
This is particularly relevant to those who are in their 30s or 40s. Since a PhD is a level 10 (the highest qualification level) course in New Zealand the jobs that need such highly qualified people are less common. But this doesn’t mean that all students are jobless after completing their PhD and networking can help to solve this problem. There are many opportunities to network with people belonging to your field or different fields. But be warned, if you are too reserved, you may find it difficult to find a job in New Zealand after your PhD!
New Zealand PhD students are able to apply for a 12-month post-study work visa to find a job. If you find work in your field of study you can apply for a further two-year post-study work visa.
4. Publish your work
If you know how to write technically about your research works and findings, then half the job is done. Publication of your work at good conferences and in journals can help you to conduct your research smoothly at New Zealand universities.
5. Watch out for provisional status
Most of New Zealand’s universities have a provisional status. You will be enrolled provisionally for the first year after your admission and your research performance will be evaluated by a committee from the university at the end of the year before your PhD candidature is made permanent. So, the first year of your PhD study is really important. If you are able to publish your work during this first year it will help towards this end of year review.