Palmerston North Pop. 86,300
Whanganui Pop. 43,800
Education is prized in the Manawatu-Whanganui region. Whanganui is a leading centre of tertiary education for the creative industries, while 40% of people in Palmerston North either attend or teach at one of its 70 education institutions. Also Palmerston North and Whanganui have been selected as pilot sites for the national Welcoming Communities initiative, ensuring that international students receive a warm welcome in the Manawatu-Whanganui region.
The Manawatu-Whanganui region has a wide range of public and private education providers, from primary schools through to English language schools and tertiary institutions. The region is home to Massey University, UCOL institute of technology and IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute.
Massey University is ranked 287th in the world in the 2020 QS World University Rankings, with its veterinary science programmes ranked 29th. It has a further three subjects ranked in the top 100 in the world.
UCOL, a Government-owned institute of technology, offers a highly-regarded Bachelor of Nursing, with 95% of graduates passing Nursing Council of New Zealand state final exams.
Other outstanding education providers include: Whanganui School of Design, which offers a range of experiential and innovative art and design programmes; IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute, a Japanese-owned institution specialising in international studies; and the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy, which operates from Whanganui airport.
International students can choose from many types of secondary schools, including religion-based schools, single-sex or coeducational schools, and a full boarding school in the tradition of an English public school.
The region’s secondary schools also offer speciality study areas such as sport, music and drama.
YMCA Central in Whanganui runs one to two-week group tours showcasing New Zealand education, adventure activities, the Kiwi lifestyle, and Māori culture.
The tours help students make an informed choice about whether they’d like to return to the region to study full time.
Safe, affordable and culturally diverse, the Manawatu-Whanganui region has spectacular scenery and many opportunities for fun and adventure.
Both Palmerston North and Whanganui are designated World Health Organisation Safe Communities, which means you can feel safer as you enjoy your time as a student.
Palmerston North and Whanganui have been selected as pilot sites for the national Welcoming Communities initiative, ensuring that international students receive a warm welcome in the Manawatu-Whanganui region.
People from more than 100 cultures live in Palmerston North, which celebrates diversity with an annual Festival of Cultures and the Ethkick football tournament for migrant communities.
Accommodation costs in Whanganui and Palmerston North are among the lowest of all New Zealand’s major centres.
Massey, UCOL and IPU students can travel by bus for free in Palmerston North, and UCOL students can also travel free in Whanganui. Students are also entitled to a range of discount and loyalty programmes to reduce their living costs while they study.
Whanganui and Palmerston North are in central New Zealand and have good road, rail and air links with the rest of the country.
The region is a natural playground of walks, hikes, parks, beaches and native forests. The tourist hotspots of Rotorua, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and Wellington are all within half a day’s drive.
Whanganui is a digital leader, and was one of the first places in New Zealand to start developing an ultra-fast broadband network. In 2016, it was ranked in top seven intelligent communities in the world.
Students in the Manawatu-Whanganui area are able to get a head start in the workplace by taking up industry internships. The area is the second-largest region in the North Island, and has job opportunities in industries such as agriculture, horticulture, food technology and tourism.
At UCOL, regional employers offer students interesting project-based work and help shape degree and diploma programmes to ensure students graduate with relevant work-ready and practical skills.
UCOL health and science students work with elite sports teams, its business students take part in start-up competitions, and its student chefs work in training restaurants that are open to the public.
FoodHQ is a collaboration between businesses and more than 2200 scientists working in nine leading agri-science organisations.
Based in Palmerston North, FoodHQ aims to develop innovative food and drink projects to boost New Zealand’s export earnings. One of FoodHQ’s objectives is to support new talent, which is good news for students and graduates.
International students in the region are working part-time in industries such as retail, hospitality, distribution centres and call centres, as well as in the agricultural and horticultural industries.
The region also has strong internship programmes in the business community.
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