Deciding on where to go for your higher study more or less plays out like every other decision-making moment of your life: Listing out the pros and cons for every option you have in mind and weighing them against each other. As today’s hottest higher study destination, New Zealand is currently on every aspiring student’s study wishlist, but what makes the country better than other popular higher study options such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia? How much does it actually cost to study in New Zealand and what is life there going to be like? We’ve pulled some numbers to help potential students see how New Zealand fares against other popular higher study options today:
Depending on your course of study, tuition fees can range from NZ$16,000 to NZ$35,000 a year. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to score a scholarship, few scholarships are available for international students, and most of them reserved for PhD students.
The most expensive country to study by far is the US. Tuition fees start at about US$20,000 (NZ$27,633) a year and can range to US$40,000 (NZ$55,267) if you’re aiming for one of the Ivy League institutions. Good news is Harvard and other private institutions offer scholarships or some form of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $39,156 (NZ$54,101).
UK comes a close second to the US when it comes to education costs. According toTop Universities:
“The average cost per year to study in the UK at undergraduate level as an international student is UK£11,987 (NZ$21,110), while for international postgraduate students this average fee rises to £12,390. At all levels, laboratory and clinical degree programs are markedly more expensive, with a clinical degree costing overseas students an average of £24,206 ($36,070) at undergraduate level, with top universities in London charging as much as £34,800 ($51,850).”
Education costs in Australia used to be almost similar, if not lower than New Zealand, but in the recent years, the popularity and thriving economy has greatly increased the cost of study. Depending on the course of study, an undergraduate degree in Australia can range from £8,700–£21,800 (NZ$15,315-NZ$38,376) per year.
Note: All statistics are obtained from Numbeo
Based on the charts above, living in the United States and United Kingdom is cheaper than either New Zealand or Australia, with Australia being the most expensive country to live in. Both New Zealand and Australia are known for their high cost of living, however, it really depends on what country you’re coming from and what part of New Zealand you settle in. According to Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living Survey, Auckland is ranked 61st in the world in terms of its cost of living, while Wellington is 83rd, both of which are still more affordable than Hong Kong (2), Singapore (4), Shanghai (6), London (12), New York (16), Guangzhou (15), Sydney (31) and Melbourne (47).
According to Education Counts, New Zealand workers have relatively high employment across all education levels, with an average of 80%. The gap between the most educated and least educated is also one of the smallest in the world, which is less than 25%. For students, this means that they are almost guaranteed to a place of employment in the country’s workforce if they chose to graduate in New Zealand, more so should they chose to work part-time during study.
Unfortunately, securing a job in the US is much harder compared to New Zealand. According to International Student, many employers prefer to hire US students over international students, thanks to difficulties and misunderstandings concerning visas, fear of new hires leaving prematurely and concerns over English-speaking skills. However, it’s possible to stay on in the US for one year after graduation under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) scheme.
The same goes for UK. Strict visa controls make it tough for international students who want to stay in the country after graduation. With only four (4) months to secure employment, it’s no surprise that plenty of students have horror stories to tell about finding jobs – some have faced up to 15 rejections before they finally found sponsorship! On the other hand, if international students who manage to complete their studies and graduate in the US and UK are more likely to earn higher salaries, thanks to the countries universities’ strong reputation.
In terms of career options, Australia provides equal opportunities with New Zealand, if not more. Thanks to a higher cost of living in Australia, international students can earn a minimum wage of $15.51 (NZ$16.37) per hour for part-time jobs, as opposed to New Zealand’s NZ$15.25 per hour. There is also a demand for skilled migrants – the Australian government has set up the Skilled Migration Programme for students who have a particular skill set the government is seeking, but who aren’t already sponsored by an employer.
Depending on the source, exact Quality of Life rankings can either be: Australia (#4), New Zealand (#6), United Kingdom (#9), and United States (#14) according to U.S. News, or United States (#4), Australia (#8), New Zealand (#10), and United Kingdom (#16) according to Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index for Country 2015. Regardless, many students have never found the quality of life in both Australia and New Zealand lacking; in fact, both countries share a lot culturally – from the laidback pace to the friendly locals to the superb scenery.
New Zealand has a temperate climate; with generally warm summers and relatively wet winters, as well as plenty of to see such as glorious sandy beaches, great native forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords. Compared to other countries, New Zealanders believe in work-life balance, which is consistently reflected in international surveys. Last but not least, the country boasts facilities that rivals advanced Western economies like the US and UK, but with only a fraction of the people – meaning less pollution, congestion, and low crime rates!
Note #1: All statistics are obtained from unless specified otherwise
Note #2: All rates are correct as of writing, and converted
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