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Why Study in New Zealand?

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated December 29, 2014 Updated December 29, 2014

Hurrah, time for another country guide! This week, study in New Zealand. Here’s why I think you should add it to your study-abroad shortlist…

Made up of two large islands (simply named North and South), plus some smaller islands, New Zealand is located to the south-east of Australia, and is often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor.

However, New Zealand is pretty awesome in its own right, and not just because it’s responsible for producing the genius comedy duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, aka Flight of the Conchords. Ok, quite a lot because of that, but I do really love them…

If you’re not such a big fan/ don’t think an HBO TV series is sufficient basis for choosing a study destination, then here are five other reasons to study in New Zealand:

1. Universities in New Zealand

Yes, I know we always start with the universities in New Zealand, but – uh – that’s kind of the point, right?

With a relatively small population, New Zealand has only eight universities, but after all, it’s the quality that really matters…

Six make the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings for 2011/12: University of Auckland (82), University of Otago (130), University of Canterbury (212), Victoria University of Wellington (237), Massey University and University of Waikato.

2. New Zealand nature

New Zealand's stunning natural landscapes have become internationally famous since the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed here. Yes, it is as awesome as it looks, and no, there aren’t actually any orcs in the mountains… well, probably not, who knows?

Also, while the country is fairly small (a little larger than the UK in total area), it’s also gloriously uncrowded (population of about 4 million, compared to the UK’s 62 million). So no shortage of space to enjoy and explore New Zealand nature. Talking of which…

3. WOOHOO, ADVENTURES!

In what has to be one of the world’s most diverse countries in terms of the range of terrains and types of activity possible, there’s no excuse for ever having a dull moment when you study in New Zealand.

Take a break from studies by going glacier trekking, mountain biking or exploring the rainforest.

Still bored? How about skydiving, kayaking, bungee jumping, zorbing, rafting, scuba diving or snowboarding? Still? I give up.

4. Capital of Cool, man

Not so keen on the Great Outdoors? No worries bro (as I believe the Kiwis would say). New Zealand also has some fantastic cities, and that – rather than the rainforest – is where the universities tend to be.

The largest by far is Auckland. Also notable are Dunedin (home to the University of Otago), Christchurch (home to the University of Canterbury), Hamilton (University of Waikato) and Wellington, which markets itself not only as the governmental capital, but also the country’s ‘Capital of Cool’…

5. Everyone’s ‘international’ (pretty much)

One thing most of these cities have in common is their impressive cultural diversity – so if you fancy one of those so-called ‘cultural melting pots’, then study in New Zealand should be pretty high up on your list.

Auckland is especially known in this regard. According to recent government statistics, more than a third of those living in the Auckland area were born outside of New Zealand, and more than 180 ethnic groups are represented. So, as an ‘international’ student, you certainly won’t be alone!

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in December 2014

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Written by

The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'