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How to study abroad - Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions here.

  • Study in New Zealand for a high quality education and an unbeatable lifestyle.

    Our practical, hands-on style of learning can give you the skills and experience to help you succeed anywhere in the world. New Zealand qualifications are globally recognised and you’ll learn to solve problems, think creatively and work in teams.

    All eight of our universities are ranked in the top 3% in the world, and you’ll be learning in an immersive English language environment. You may be able to work here while you study and after you graduate.

    Safe, welcoming and culturally diverse, New Zealand has one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments as well as endless opportunities for fun and adventure. You’ll broaden your horizons and make lifelong friendships.

    With New Zealand’s flexible education system, you’ll have a wide range of institutions to choose from in every part of the country.

    Check out your study options, or start exploring our schools, universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, private training establishments or English language schools.

    Choose to study in New Zealand and you’ll have an amazing range of locations to choose from. Whether you like a big city lifestyle, smaller cities or friendly rural towns, you’ll find somewhere to suit you.

    Our eight universities are situated throughout New Zealand, and there are schools, institutes of technology and polytechnics, private training establishments and English language schools throughout the country.

    Use our easy interactive tool to discover what it would be like to study, live and work in different parts of New Zealand.

    Study for your PhD in New Zealand and you’ll be learning in a university that is rated among the top 3% in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings.

    New Zealand offers an incredible study package to PhD students: you’ll pay the same fees as domestic students and you may be able to work while you study.

    We make it easy to bring your family with you. You’ll be able to enrol your children as domestic students in New Zealand’s free state schools, and your partner or spouse can apply for an open work visa.

    Explore New Zealand’s PhD package for international students and find out how to apply. You can also check out top tips for PhD students and discover the five reasons why one international student chose to study for his PhD in New Zealand.

    New Zealand qualifications are recognised and respected around the world.

    Our government agencies monitor the quality of all areas of the education system to make sure students learn the skills they need and gain qualifications that are relevant and good value for money.

    The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) has 10 levels and covers a range of qualifications, from certificates to doctoral degrees.  

    Any programme you’re considering studying in New Zealand should tell you which level of the NZQF you’d achieve when you graduated, as well as which qualification you’d obtain.

    A school day normally starts at 9am and runs to 3:30pm (primary schools finish at 3pm). Most schools operate from Monday to Friday.

    The secondary school year starts in early February and runs to mid-December. It’s divided into four terms, with two weeks' break between each term and a six-week break at the end of the year.

    • Term 1: February to mid- April - two-week break

    • Term 2: Late April to early July - two-week break

    • Term 3: Mid-July to late September - two-week break

    • Term 4: Mid-October to mid-December - six-week summer break

    Why study overseas? Because it’s an incredible opportunity to discover a new style of education while you explore the world.

    By studying abroad, you can:

    • increase your job prospects and gain long-lasting career benefits

    • improve your English language abilities

    • gain valuable employability skills, such as creative thinking, problem-solving and teamwork

    • gain work experience in another country

    • broaden your horizons and discover unique cultures, such as New Zealand’s Māori culture

    • take up opportunities for personal growth and development.

    For even more reasons why you should study overseas, check out TopUniversities.com’s 25 reasons to study abroad.

  • New Zealand’s flexible education system makes it easier to find a programme and course to fit your budget, from diplomas to postgraduate study. Tuition fees for international students depend on what you study, where you study and how long you study for.

    At schools level, annual fees for state schools start at about $11,000 for primary schools and $13,000 for secondary schools. Annual fees for private primary and secondary schools start at about $25,000.

    For information on tertiary fees and English language course fees, see our Cost of living page.

    Your living costs will depend on your lifestyle and which part of New Zealand you choose to live in, as accommodation and living costs vary between regions.

    If you will be studying in New Zealand for more than one year, you’ll need to be able to show you have at least $15,000 to support yourself each year.

    As an example of how much to budget for, Victoria University of Wellington recommends students allow $18,000-$27,000 each year, the University of Auckland recommends $20,000-$25,000, the University of Otago recommends $15,000-$17,000 and Massey University recommends $15,000-$18,000.

    For more information on how much you’ll need to budget to live in New Zealand – including the costs of accommodation, food, transport, power, phone and internet, and entertainment – see our Cost of living page.

    Our Cost of living page has information on costs in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand. You can also check out one international student’s tips on how much you’d need to live in Auckland.

    If you’ve chosen an education provider in Auckland, contact your provider for details of course fees. Some education providers also offer information on the cost of living for students, including the University of Auckland and AUT.

    New Zealand’s flexible education system has study options to suit a wide range of budgets, from one-year diplomas to three-year Bachelor’s degrees.

    Visit our Scholarships page to see if a scholarship might be available to help you pay your study and living expenses, or you may be able to get a part-time job – check out our Working while you study page.

    The cost of living is similar to other OECD countries. For information about fees and the cost of living in New Zealand, see our Cost of living page.

    There is no restriction on how much foreign currency you can bring into or take out of New Zealand, but if you arrive at an airport carrying more than NZ$10,000 in cash you will have to declare it to the New Zealand Customs Service.

    Immigration New Zealand has more information on transferring money to New Zealand, banking and exchange rates.

    Many scholarships for international students – including PhD scholarships and scholarships for Masters’ degrees – are offered by the New Zealand Government, other governments, educational institutions and philanthropists.

    Search for a scholarship on this site.

    All New Zealand cities and most towns have buses, and Auckland and Wellington have train services to outer suburbs. Prices vary depending on where you live.

    For more information on costs, visit our Cost of living page or check out transport costs in different parts of New Zealand using the interactive tool on our Explore NZ page.

    There are many ways to save money while studying abroad in New Zealand, from gaining a scholarship to working part time to living in a region with lower living costs than the main centres.  

    You can also reduce your expenses by shopping at local markets, shopping around for the best deal on power and using your Student ID card to get discounts. Check out these five ways to cut your living costs while you study in New Zealand or find out how much money you’ll need to live in Auckland.

    From basking in natural thermal springs in Rotorua to stargazing up at one of the world’s most spectacular night skies, New Zealand is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are cheap or free.

    Explore our awe-inspiring beaches, mountains, forests and lakes for free. Other free or cheap entertainment options include live music, outdoor movies, parks, gardens, museums and galleries.

    For tips on cutting the cost of food, accommodation and transport while you travel around New Zealand, check out our blog posts on how to save money on travel in New Zealand and travelling light on a budget. Or see this list of top 10 free things to do in New Zealand.

  • Whether you’re looking for a caring school that encourages creative thinking and personalised learning, high-quality vocational training or degree-level study at one of our world-ranked universities, studying in New Zealand can help you achieve your goals.  

    New Zealand’s flexible education system gives you a huge range of institutions to choose from in every part of the country. Start exploring our schools, universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, private training establishments or English language schools.

    Alternatively, you can start your journey to studying abroad in New Zealand by exploring your study options.

    Different institutions and courses will have different English language requirements, so check with the institution you’re considering applying to.

    The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) sets English language entry requirements for international students. Read its questions and answers on English language requirements, or see Universities New Zealand’s information about English language requirements for university students.

    You can also learn English in New Zealand as a starting point before moving on to further levels of study.

    If you’re planning to study in New Zealand for more than three months, you may need to apply for a student visa. The application process will be cheaper, faster and easier if you apply online.

    If you plan to study more than one course in New Zealand, the Pathway Student Visa may be the only visa you need. It covers up to three consecutive programmes of study over five years with one or more qualifying education providers.

    Our How to apply page has everything you need to start your journey towards studying abroad in New Zealand, from a study checklist to resources on visas, agents and scholarships.

    If you would like assistance to plan your study experience in New Zealand, visit our Agents page to find an ENZ Recognised Agent.

  • What you should pack will depend on where you’ll be living in New Zealand and how long you’re here for, but these tips from an international student should give you a good idea of the type of things to consider bringing.

    If you forget anything, you should be able to buy whatever you need in New Zealand.

    Immigration New Zealand gives advice on the official documents you’re most likely to need here, and your education institution may also give you packing advice.

    The amount of luggage you bring to New Zealand will be limited by your airline’s weight policy, so be sure to check the luggage limit before you leave.

    New Zealand has strict laws about what you can bring into the country. Before you fly, check our biosecurity requirements to make sure you don’t bring in anything that could be considered a potential risk.  

    When it comes to staying in touch with family and friends while you’re studying abroad in New Zealand, you have lots of options.

    Your choices include social media, video chat, prepaid phone cards, blogs, letters and postcards, and mobile phones (but check with your provider first, as some phones are region-locked).

    Take a look at these tips to decide how you’ll keep your your family and friends up-to-date with your awesome adventures in New Zealand.

    New Zealand is famous for its relaxed pace of life, outdoor lifestyle and excellent work/life balance. We work and study hard, but make time for family, friends, hobbies and enjoying our beautiful natural environment.

    Ranked as one of the most peaceful and least corrupt countries in the world, New Zealand is safe, politically stable and culturally diverse.

    Your education provider should have signed a government code aimed at making sure you have a care and support you need to thrive in New Zealand.

    Each area in New Zealand has its own unique attractions, from the Northland’s rich Māori heritage to Wellington’s funky cafe scene to the wild Otago coastline – maybe you’ll be the first among your group of friends to spot a penguin or a seal.

    Our easy interactive tool can help you explore what it would be like to study, live and work in different parts of New Zealand, so you can find the lifestyle that’s best for you.

    Visit our Living in New Zealand page to find out more about what life would be like for you in New Zealand.

    New Zealand is friendly, politically stable and multicultural. Our crime rates are lower than in many countries.

    New Zealand is the second most peaceful country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, and the least corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.

    By international standards, New Zealand is a safe and easy country for students wanting to study overseas. You’ll find a warm welcome here.

    Our weather varies from warm and subtropical in the far north to cool and temperate in the far south.

    The New Zealand summer runs from December to February, while winter is from June to August.

    Our weather can change fast, so be prepared when you’re packing for a bush walk, a trip to the mountains, a sea kayak, a walk around the beach or any other adventure in our fabulous outdoors.

    Find out more about our climate, the average temperatures each season, and what the temperature is today in the part of New Zealand where you’re planning to study.

    Most international students are not entitled to publicly funded health services while in New Zealand, so you will need medical insurance to cover the costs of any treatment.

    You’ll need to have approved medical insurance before applying for a student visa. Contact your education provider for help with arranging medical insurance, and to see what medical facilities are available at your institution.

    Visit Immigration New Zealand for information about our healthcare system.

    Yes. By international standards, New Zealand is a diverse, socially progressive and tolerant country. New Zealanders are highly accepting of religious diversity.

    It is illegal in New Zealand to discriminate against somebody because of their ethical belief/religion – or gender, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, colour, nationality or country of origin, race, political opinion, employment status, age or disability.

  • You’ll have lots of accommodation options, from staying in a hall of residence (hostel) to going flatting (sharing an apartment). International school students usually stay in a homestay (private boarding), and are looked after by a friendly Kiwi family.

    Check out our Accommodation page to learn more about where you can stay while you’re studying in New Zealand.

  • Working part-time can help you pay your living expenses while you’re studying abroad in New Zealand. It also expands your circle of friends and enables you to develop valuable employability skills such as independence, communication, teamwork, timekeeping and workplace-relevant English language skills.

    If you have a student visa, you may be able to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during scheduled holidays.

    If you are a Masters by research or PhD student, you may be able to work full-time during term time as well as in scheduled holidays.

    Find out more on our Working while you study page, or visit Immigration New Zealand to read more about the conditions of working on a student visa.

  • A New Zealand education sets you up for success, whether you plan to return home, stay on in New Zealand or see where you could go in the global job marketplace.

    If you want to stay in New Zealand to get some practical work experience after you’ve completed your qualification, you may be able to apply for a post-study work visa. A post-study work visa will allow you to work for up to three years in New Zealand after you graduate, depending on what you study and where you study.

    After that, if you have the skills and qualifications New Zealand needs, you may be able to continue working in New Zealand by applying for a different type of work visa or a skilled migrant visa.

    Find out more on our Work Ready page, or see Immigration New Zealand’s information about staying on to work after study.  

    Take a look at these handy tips on how to get a job after graduation, and see our Graduates page to meet some of our most successful alumni.


    There may be lots of competition for jobs after you graduate, from both international and domestic students. Studying in an area where there are skills shortages may increase your chances of getting a job.

    Use the skills shortage list checker to find out if the job you’re planning to study is currently in demand in New Zealand. Having the right skills, qualifications and experience may make it easier to get a work or residence visa.

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