Packing My Bags & Heading South to NZ

April 12, 2012

Karori and Cook Strait, Wellington, New Zealand, 14 Nov. 2008

While catching up on my backlog of newspaper and magazine articles, my eyes caught sight of this headline in this piece from April 2, 2012 in the NYT: ”New Zealand Casts Itself as Destination for International Students.”.

It seems that our friends in the island country in the south Pacific have a great plan to attract and retain international students. While we here in the U.S. tighten our borders, implement stringent visa requirements for international students, increase tuition fees, and put more pressure on our college administrators to become part of the bureaucracy known as SEVIS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), our counterparts in New Zealand are doing the exact opposite.

In fact, the government in New Zealand has embarked on a strategy of reducing tuition fees for international students, and making it easier for students from countries like India and China to apply for visas. Their immigration department has opened offices in India, China and Hong Kong that serve as application centers to help students applying for visas. They are even, as stated in the NYT article “enticing students to stay on after they graduate by offering a one-year graduate job search visa. If the student finds a job relevant to their qualification, they are then eligible to apply for a graduate work experience visa for up to three years.” Given these perks, why would anyone in their right mind turn down an offer for a hassle-free student visa application, lower tuition and the prospect of employment after graduation? Not to mention, with a population of about 4.4 million, and blessed with spectacular natural beauty, New Zealand is an ideal place to seek serenity and a peace of mind.

Just this morning, on my way to work, I heard on the radio news of two international students from China who were shot dead in their car while parked outside the campus of a well-known private university here in Los Angeles. This is, according to LAPD, the fourth such shooting in this particular area.

In the words of a second year international student from Vietnam studying for her bachelor’s degree in commerce and administration at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand is not only cheaper “than Switzerland” but the country has “less people…it’s quiet and peaceful…its affordable.” Heck, if I were an international student, I’d pick New Zealand over Britain, Australia and the U.S. in a heart-beat.

The Frustrated Evaluator

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Filed under Credentials, Education

5 responses to “Packing My Bags & Heading South to NZ

  1. I’ve been to all of them. Australia and New Zealand most recently. It depends on the length of the study abroad program. One quarter or semester, I would pick NZ. Any longer and I would pick Australia. I love both countries and the people.

  2. I’ve also been to all, but it’s never enough. I’d choose Australia (Sydney or Melbourne) and gor for as long as I could. Being so close to NZ, I’d probably take a few breaks to visit again. I’d also take the opportunity to visit more countries in South East Asia.

  3. Tim, thanks for your comment. It’s great that you’ve been able to experience both countries. Curious as to why you’d pick Australia if your stay was going to be longer. I think I may have an idea, but like to hear from you. Cheers!

  4. Sandra

    Great study abroad news. What are the prospects for certain students and course of study? Are New Zelanders open to multiculturalism and racial diversity?

    • Thanks Sandra. Great questions. According to NZ government’s 2010 figures, there are nearly 100,000 international students enrolled at their universities, private college and school; considering that the country’s population is just 4.4 million, this is a significant number. The NZ government is concerned about its own brain drain which is a result of more New Zealanders moving abroad and a growing aging population, They are looking at international students as an opportunity not only to generate revenue but strengthen their skilled work force. The article I’d cited in this blog, notes that “one-fifth of international students now go on to become NZ residents.” Given the country’s low population numbers and liberal immigration policies, it appears that NZ is open to multiculturalism and diversity. But, it may be too soon to see the effects of NZ’s move toward internationalization as it has just recently embarked on this mission. Subject worthy of a blog in the future!

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