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Destination New Zealand!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

New Zealand has a world class tertiary education system, with creativity and innovation being the driving force. Here’s a look at why you should consider pursuing your studies in New Zealand

New Zealand has a world class tertiary education system – overall, the prestigious Legatum Institute in London rates New Zealand’s education system No. 1 in the world and all eight universities were ranked among the world's top 500 universities in the 2013 QS World University rankings. 
Subjects taught at universities rank in the top 50 in the world.  To give one example - Civil and Structural Engineering at Canterbury University ranks higher than  Stanford, Oxford or Cornell.

Creativity and Innovation
Creativity and innovation are at the heart of New Zealand’s education system and innovative thinking is reflected in the way students are taught and the way they learn.

New Zealand excels at the sort of education programmes that combine technology and creativity – such as engineering and film-making. Graduates have gone on to build global businesses which draw on the two disciplines - this can be seen through the success of Wellington-based Weta Digital, which is renowned for its visual effects work in The Hobbit, Avatar and Lord of the Rings.

Standing out from the crowd
New Zealand really stands out from the crowd compared to other international education destinations. As well as being specialists in areas such as agriculture, engineering and animation, the country’s tertiary education system offers niche and vocational courses which are less developed in India but have good job prospects which include sports management, adventure tourism and aviation.

Work-ready Graduates
One of New Zealand’s biggest strengths is its focus on work-ready graduates. Time and time again we hear from Indian students that the big drawcard is the hands-on, practical approach the education system has to offer. Internships and industry placements are a common feature in courses. So students graduate equipped with the internationally recognised skills, qualifications and experience to either start their own ventures or enter the workforce, be that back in India, New Zealand or anywhere else in the world.

Employment opportunities
There are a number of industries experiencing skills shortages at the moment, most notably in I.T and engineering. If a graduate gains employment in one of the occupations in demand they may qualify for a Work to Residence visa.

Christchurch, one of the biggest cities in New Zealand, is experiencing an economic boom as a result of the New Zealand government investing over INR 2,00,000 Cr. in rebuilding its second largest city after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-2011. The scale of the rebuild programme provides a wide range of education and employment opportunities in the region. 

Christchurch Educated Skills Scholarships were recently offered to fifteen Indian students. Indian students were offered a full scholarship valued at over Rs 75 lakh to study courses directly related to the rebuilding such as construction, engineering, ICT, telecommunication and science. The scholarship will not only provide skill specific education to students but will also give them an opportunity to work, after completion of their studies in Christchurch. This new initiative is a partnership between Education New Zealand, the government agency for international education, Christchurch Educated and the Christchurch Development Corporation.

Work Rights
Last year work rights were extended to more international students in New Zealand. More students are now able to work to support their studies, which is important to students thinking about studying abroad. Students enrolled in research based Masters and Doctorate courses are now allowed to work full time.

New Zealand is a very diverse and welcoming country. In March the first Holi Carnival of Colours took place in Christchurch.

Indian Case Study
When Saumyasuchi was home in Calcutta choosing where to study for his PhD, he also considered the United States and Europe. It was the number of scholarships available in New Zealand and the shorter duration of PhD programmes that led him to study  here.

“A PhD programme in New Zealand is typically three years, which appealed to me. When I compared this with the United States, it would have taken me at least five years. The design of the education system in New Zealand works well in this regard.”

Saumyasuchi is currently in the second year of his PhD after successfully securing a New Zealand International Doctoral Scholarship, funded by the New Zealand Government and administered by Education New Zealand. For anyone interested in earthquake engineering, Saumyasuchi recommends the University of Canterbury for its expertise in this area.

“Another advantage at the university is the interpersonal interaction. The teaching faculty, as well as your peers, are really approachable, which makes it amenable for learning.”

Saumyasuchi says studying earthquake engineering in New Zealand will give international students an advantage over their peers as the field is well-developed in the country. “It depends on what area you’re specialising in, but New Zealand is known for its expertise in earthquake engineering,” he says.

When he completes his PhD, Saumyasuchi plans to stay in touch with his peers for both personal and career reasons.

“I think it’s important to have as dense a network as you can afford. It’s always good to maintain communications with friends as there will be opportunities that go both ways. At the moment, we peer review each other’s material and this is helping to build relationships that I plan to continue.”

After completing his PhD, Saumyasuchi would like to work in the industry for the next few years. “If I find a good opportunity, I would definitely consider working here in New Zealand. I’d like to gather more experience here for the next three to five years and New Zealand would be a nice place to settle,” he says.

The author Ziena Jalil is Regional Director for South Asia, Education New Zealand

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