The call of The Kiwi

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With vast open spaces and scenery that is simply spectacular, New Zealand is making a concentrated effort to lure Indian students to its shores. Its eight universities lead the way in academic teaching and research, while its polytechnics focus more on vocational and specialist courses. Academic standards are high and the qualifications awarded by New Zealand education providers are internationally-recognised and highly-regarded by employers and overseas universities alike. With all this as the backdrop, universities in New Zealand are wooing Indian students saying that they have better options and opportunities in their country as opposed to Britain or US-based institutions. Every year, thousands of students migrate to New Zealand from all over the world including India year, making it an attractive study destination. Sources say that the figure of students coming from India contributes to nearly 10 per cent of the total immigration quota of the country. But for Indian students looking to pursue degrees abroad, studying in Britain, the US and other countries may not be viable simply because of high costs and visa regulations. New Zealand therefore offers them ways to fulfill their dreams abroad.

Popular courses for Indian students still remain business and engineering but many pursue Ph.D. programmes in pure sciences. Things are slowly changing though with Indian students now going in for a wider range of programmes including pilot training, and marine certifications, horticulture management, film studies and animation. Undergraduate (UG) programmes are generally three years long, except for certain professional degrees and the cost is competitive. Besides, the Kiwis have protection measures in place for foreign pupils. The country’s tertiary-level institutions must sign and follow the Ministry of Education Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. Doctoral studies are available at most universities. Of course subjects like Biotechnology, Forensic Science and Marine Engineering are what New Zealand is known for and its degrees in these are the best in the world. Today, subjects like Business Studies, IT and Computer Software, Engineering, Hospitality and Hotel Management, Food Technology, Forestry, Dentistry and Environmental studies have also become popular among the Indian student fraternity.

The best part of an education in New Zealand is the fact that a one-year search visa can be obtained, which is generally not available in the case of other countries. After getting a job, one can also apply for two-year work permit. Default extensions of work permits with the minimal hassle allow students to recover the cost of study within nine to 12 months after they complete their educational programmes. Indian students are being offered a nine-month extension to their student visas after graduation to allow them to find jobs and apply for work permits. Another benefit of the initiative for Indian students is if they get a New Zealand passport, they can travel on to Australia without a visa.

The study methodology in New Zealand is extremely interactive, integrated and assignment-based. Students are encouraged to think for themselves rather than learn by rote. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), a government organisation responsible for quality control approves all programmes. Qualifications are also designed to allow students to enter and exit at different levels appropriate to their academic requirements. Popular varsity destinations are Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch. Though students have also moved on to places like Otago, Palmerston North, Napier, New Plymouth, and Dunedin.

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