New Zealand Student Visa – 10 advantages of studying in New Zealand from personal experience
Why New Zealand?
New Zealand has been consistently evolving as one of the top study destinations in the world. With a superb schooling system, globally recognized qualifications, and developed educational infrastructure, she offers a great proposition to the table. During your studies, you can be guaranteed a welcoming and helpful learning environment. Even in the unprecedented times around Covid19, New Zealand was proactively adapting to the new scenarios and protecting its people. History will testify that New Zealand had indeed taken the best approach to safeguard its people from the drastic effects of the pandemic.
I would like to express some tangible motivations to enable you to make an informed decision on why New Zealand can be a top study destination for your higher academic pursuits.
In this blog, I am not telling you what you generally find on websites, but I tell you about my personal experience studying in New Zealand. Most views expressed below emerge from my first-hand experience as I too came to New Zealand on a student visa and have now established a settled life in New Zealand.
Before commenting on the learning environment of New Zealand, it is pertinent to mention a brief background of my own crusade. It is to establish that my views are based on my first-hand experience of my journey from a student to a resident.
In May 2017, I came to New Zealand on a student visa at the age of 46 to study Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS).
In March 2020, I got my residency in less than 3 years.
To summarize my journey,
A little five years ago, I stepped on this wonderful but unknown land called New Zealand.
A land where nobody knew me. I was like a blank slate – not brand new, but one that was wiped off clean.
Today, after 5 years, I express my sincere gratitude to you for not only welcoming me, and accommodating me but enabling me so that I could achieve my aspirations, and fulfil my dreams.
I wholeheartedly thank you, New Zealand – the once unknown land – now, a home to me and my family.
The above lines resonate with my sincere views on New Zealand. When I say that, I am sure that I speak for most migrants, who came here aspiring for a better life.
10 advantages of studying in New Zealand from personal experience
The major difference I found between New Zealand education and the studies I did back in India was the focus on career-oriented learning. In New Zealand, all courses are designed to ensure that the student is job-ready after the completion of their studies. The assignments, the learnings, and the coursework make you adept at the contemporary requirements of the industry.
For example, when I was studying my post graduate in business administration at Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS), my coursework, and assignments equipped me with the practical usage of the learnings. During my studies, I was taught applied aspects of a business. Hence, in a short time, I was able to solve real-time business problems. I could prepare financial statements, and financial reports for companies based on ratio analysis, and business plans, manage projects, do market research, and make recommendations after a critical analysis of a company among other tasks. Gradually, I became confident in my newly developed skills and knowledge. And, after successful completion of my studies, I secured a great job in a good company as a business consultant. Later, I completed another course that directly led me to my current profession as a licensed immigration adviser. It was all due to my studies in New Zealand.
It was not only me, but most of my classmates and friends also got good jobs. They are now working in New Zealand banks, the insurance sector, as marketers, accountants and so on. In my professional life also, I have seen people who studied here, and are presently, working in great positions all over New Zealand.
Therefore, it is safe to say that New Zealand courses ready you for your career so that you can hit the ground running and kickstart your professional life immediately after completing your studies.
Encouragement from the New Zealand Government
New Zealand Government is also making sustained efforts in identifying the roles that are high in demand. In other words, the Government is hinting to the international student visa aspirants which qualifications are being prioritized. Recently, it announced the Green List. This list can be considered as one of the reference points to determine your study pathway. For example, if your interest lies in the construction field, you can opt for any of the following courses.
- Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (NZQF Level 8)
- Bachelor of Engineering Technology (NZQF Level 7)
- Bachelor of Construction (NZQF Level 7)
- A bachelor’s degree at NZQF Level 7, or a higher qualification with the minimum equivalent of 360 credits, which includes the requirements of a New Zealand major in the focus areas of construction management, civil engineering, or highway engineering
- A Graduate Diploma at NZQF Level 7, or a higher qualification which includes the knowledge requirements of a New Zealand Graduate Diploma in the focus areas of construction management, highway engineering, civil engineering or construction project management
- A diploma at NZQF Level 6, or a higher qualification, with the minimum equivalent of 240 credits, which includes the knowledge requirements of a New Zealand Diploma in the focus areas of civil engineering, highway engineering, construction or construction management.
The link to the Green List is appended below for your reference.
Whereas the Green List is one of the sources you can refer to while selecting a course, it is not the only one. Therefore, you can consider the Green List qualifications your first reference point.
If your field of interest and aptitude is not included in the Green List, it does not mean that there is no pathway available to you. New Zealand will still require migrants to fill a large number of vacancies such as Accountants, Lawyers, Managers, Healthcare Workers, Hospitality sector workforce, and others. To address these and many other occupations, Immigration New Zealand is working on the Skills Migrants Category (SMC) also. It is highly likely that once the new SMC policy is announced most occupations will become eligible for residency.
According to the Global Peace Index, New Zealand is the second-safest country in the world after Iceland. The crime rate is low, and people are helpful and welcoming to international students. When I was new in Auckland, I had first-hand experience of the helpful nature of people here. Whenever I asked for directions, I found people eager to help, some were even willing to accompany me to my destination. At times, as new students, we have to deal with Inland Revenue Department, Banks, RealMe account staff, etc. During such experiences also, I found all the staff courteous, polite and supportive.
Here in New Zealand, to safeguard the well-being of students, the colleges (Education Providers) have to abide by the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. It means that if a student is finding it challenging to adapt or has some issues related to studies or health or any emotional problems, the education provider must provide support to them. You can find more information by clicking the link below.
There is a sense of freedom in New Zealand. Nobody stares, nobody cares! You are free to do whatever you like, go wherever you like, whenever you like. There is no gender discrimination that I came across ever. I have travelled the entire north island in my car with my family. It was the most beautiful journey I had been to in my life. It was scenic, everywhere we went, people welcomed us and told us about the local culture and places to visit. During the entire road trip, there was never a moment where we felt unsafe.
It is safe to say that,
In New Zealand, we can not only ‘do’ what we like, but we are also free ‘not to do’ whatever we don’t like. Freedom here, not only looks like freedom, it feels like freedom, it smells like freedom.
The student life here is lively. I lived in a dormitory with other students. It was the best decision I made. The place was always buzzing like a playground. Away from our family, everyone needed social interaction and companionship. The fellow students provide each other with a community feeling, a family of sorts where everyone had common goals and problems. The co-existence made it easier to get accustomed to the new environment. You will make some long-term and real connections during your studies.
No age bar for learning
Unlike that in some countries, there are no age limits to getting a student visa in New Zealand. If we see deeper into this concept, we can appreciate that ideally, it should be the approach. There is actually no age limit to learning.
In other words, whatever your age, you can come to New Zealand to study. As stated earlier, I came here at the age of 46 and it turned out fine.
It is common knowledge that you are required to demonstrate to Immigration New Zealand that you have sufficient funds to meet your living and outward travel costs for the duration of your entire course of study.
For the same, the current requirement is NZ $20,000 per year. Most student visas give you part-time work rights. It means that you can work for up to 20 hours a week. A simple calculation can show you that you can save your funds by working part-time on a student visa. I have examples of my friends paying their student loans within two years of coming here.
In other words, you can save your funds shown for the living costs by working part-time on a student visa.
Advantages of doing a master’s degree or above
There are many advantages of doing a master’s degree in New Zealand.
Firstly, you get a globally recognized high-level qualification. Not only the certificate, but you also get to learn new concepts that could actually enhance your spectrum of knowledge and augment your professional profile.
Secondly, after the successful completion of your master’s degree, you will be eligible for a three-year post-study work visa. It means that you not only have a great qualification and possess a high level of modern knowledge, but you and your family also have time on your hands. A full 3-years! At this time, you can find a suitable job (if not found already) and become eligible for a residency (subject to the policy applicable at that time).
In addition, if you are undertaking a master’s by research or a Doctoral degree, you may be granted a student visa with conditions to allow unlimited work rights.
Furthermore, your family can also join you on an appropriate family visa for the duration of your studies.
Therefore, you can see that doing a level 9 or a level 10 course in New Zealand can reap rich rewards for you and your family.
Solid and tangible pathways (like points for SMC, and career progression)
When I applied for my resident visa in Nov 2019, I claimed 60 points for my post-graduate diploma completed in New Zealand (50 for the level 8 qualification and 10 for the qualification studied in New Zealand). Immigration New Zealand accepted it straight away, and I was awarded 60 points for it. I am saying it because when you apply for residency, each point is like gold. And a guarantee of 60 points can make a huge difference to your quest for New Zealand residency.
On top of it, I was not required to take IELTS again for the SMC because of my level 8 qualification.
Prioritization due to occupational registration
In addition, when I did my second qualification Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice, it made me eligible for getting an occupational registration as a licensed immigration adviser. Due to this, my resident visa application was prioritized, and I was granted my resident visa within 4 months of applying for it.
Furthermore, there are several occupations like healthcare workers where your career progression is directly proportionate to your qualifications. In other words, the more qualified you are, the more remuneration you will get.
To summarize, I can safely say that my journey can prove to you beyond any reasonable doubt that studying in New Zealand has great advantages. I can confirm it with my personal experiences emerging from my own journey. Studying in New Zealand has real and achievable benefits like points for SMC, career progression, special work rights for higher level studies, priority for occupational registration, etc. New Zealand offers great outcomes for deserving people.
I am not saying that everyone will get what they sign up for. However, if you are focused, hardworking and disciplined, I see no reason that you cannot be successful in New Zealand. The successful migrant community in New Zealand is a testimonial in itself that given the right approach, you can accomplish your aspirations.
If you think you have the discipline, the focus, and the drive to change your life for the better, a New Zealand student visa can be a solid stepping stone to achieving your dreams.
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