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  • Invercargill Pop. 55,200



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Southland’s small, close-knit communities provide a warm and caring environment for school students, who are able to immerse themselves in an English language environment and experience Kiwi culture at its best. Students studying at the Southern Institute of Technology are also given the pastoral care and study support they need to succeed.

Where can I study?

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Southland’s education providers include the Southern Institute of Technology and a network of supportive primary and secondary schools.

Why you should study in Southland

Southland is the place to go for students wanting an immersive English language learning environment and an authentic New Zealand study experience.

The region has a very high ratio of native English speakers and its schools have relatively low numbers of international students. Southland students need to speak English in their everyday activities, ensuring they make the most of their time studying in New Zealand.

If you’ve got limited time for your study adventure, Southland schools also offer short-stay cultural studies for students who want to experience living in warm, inclusive Kiwi communities.


Southland is home to the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), one of New Zealand’s most popular tertiary education providers.

As well as offering more than 180 programmes, SIT prides itself on giving international students the support they need to succeed.

SIT’s support package includes a pastoral care team, free counselling, a free health centre, free peer tutoring, native speaker support, and up to three months of free English language classes for international students’ spouses.

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Seven primary and secondary schools in Southland have joined forces to form Education Southland, which gives students, parents and agents a way to assess the quality of education in the area.

Education Southland provides students with homestays that give them a safe physical and emotional environment. Students live in small communities and schools take the whole person into account, rather than just academic performance.

Many students enjoy their time in Southland high schools so much that they stay in New Zealand to go on to New Zealand tertiary institutions.

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Learn more about studying in Southland

With warm and welcoming communities, low-cost living and accommodation that’s likely to be within an easy walk of wherever you’re studying, Southland offers an unbeatable quality of life and an escape from the hustle and bustle of big cities. You’ll also have an outdoor paradise of parks, lakes, mountains, rivers and beaches right on your doorstep.

Why you should live in Southland

Southland has the lowest average house price and mean weekly rent in the country, making it an affordable choice for students.

Education fees also tend to be relatively low. The Southern Institute of Technology’s Zero Fees English and Zero Fees Foundation Studies programmes, for example, allow international students to study English or foundation programmes for free if they go on to enrol in a mainstream academic programme that lasts for at least a year.

SIT also runs free buses for its students to Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin and around Southland on weekends, which makes it cheaper to explore some of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.

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With fewer than 100,000 people living in a region covering 3.1 million hectares, Southland is the ideal place to escape the crowds, noise and traffic of the city.

Southland has an excellent education, health and community infrastructure, and a wide range of cultural, sporting, recreational and adventure activities to enjoy.

The region’s great outdoors is a natural playground of lakes, mountains, forests and beaches - you can walk in the spectacular Fiordland National Park or watch Hector’s dolphins surfing the waves near Invercargill.

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Lengthy commutes will be a distant memory when you’re studying in Southland - most students live within walking distance of where they’re studying.

Supermarkets, recreation centres, parks, museums and art galleries are also usually within walking distance of student accommodation.

Invercargill airport is one of the most accessible airports in New Zealand - only a five-minute drive from the city centre.

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Studying in Southland could be your ticket to a future career in the region. With an ageing workforce and one of New Zealand’s highest employment rates, Southland is recruiting skilled young workers to meet demand. There is support for tertiary students looking for jobs, and work experience opportunities are available for high school students.

Why you should work in Southland

For students who hope to stay on in Southland after studying, the region has one of the highest employment rates in the country.

Its swiftly-growing economy has been generating job opportunities faster than the region has been able to cope with. Southland actively encourages young skilled migrants to come and work in the area.

If you plan to study agriculture, forestry, building and construction, food and hospitality, meat processing, viticulture or horticulture, you’re in luck - Southland has skills shortages in all those areas.

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If you’re studying at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), you’ll be given comprehensive support to help you find work.

You’ll be able to attend employment workshops to learn how New Zealand’s job market operates and what employers are looking for. You may also receive one-to-one support from a dedicated employment officer to help you with everything from interview techniques to identifying possible job opportunities.

SIT has strong links to industry and employers, which helps students to establish the important relationships that can lead to fulltime jobs.

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If you’re coming to Southland to study in one of the region’s high-achieving secondary schools, you may be able to start early on learning about your chosen career.

Southland is estimated to be facing a labour force shortage of about 5000 people by 2023, rising to more than 12,000 by 2031. The region is especially keen to replace its ageing workforce.

To help meet the demand for skilled workers, Southland has set up a network of local businesses that take on work experience students and mentor young people in training.

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Discover more about the Southland region at southlandnz.com/study

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