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5 Reasons to Study in NZ - Digitally!

07 September 2021

For prospective international students who had their hopes and dreams pinned to studying in New Zealand in order to achieve a better life, NZ’s border closure - which has been in place for over 18 months now - has left them with seemingly zero options.

While Covid has contributed to never-ending frustrations at the borders, it has also led to a positive: The digital transformation of NZ’s education industry. NZ institutions have come up with creative ways to allow students to continue studying their courses digitally while also being able to avail post study work visas after course completion - a big motivator for overseas students. 

NZ university students no longer need to be physically present in NZ to study for their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The delivery of such courses has moved entirely online thanks to Covid, and the rise of new learning technologies means students can study in the comfort of their own homes. 

If your ultimate goal is to come to NZ, here are 5 reasons why you should strongly consider starting your studies online:

1. Reduced Tuition Fees

Almost all NZ educational institutions and universities have lower fees for international students who study online instead of studying in person. Affordability of education is one of the biggest barriers for overseas students and studying online is a great way to lessen the financial burden. 

2. No Living Expenses or Insurance Fees Are Needed 

If physically studying in NZ, the living expense for an international student’s first year of study is $15,000 NZD, plus the additional cost of health insurance. However, if the student opts to study online then this expense will be nothing more than the day-to-day expenses in their home country, which they would already be paying. The cost of health insurance would be deferred until the student comes to NZ later on. This eliminates one of the most common concerns for international students and their families.

3. No Visa Required

Securing the finances, appropriate documents and sponsors for a visa needed to study in NZ is an uphill battle for most applicants, especially ahead of a 3-year bachelor’s programme. However, if a student begins their bachelor’s degree online as opposed to in person, not only is there a significant drop in fees and the deferral of international living expenses, there is no student visa to be filed – as the student is not in NZ. 

This removes the stress of an approval or decline, and any impact that decision may have on the student’s future visa applications. 

4. ‘Post Study Work Visa’ is Still an Option

Normally, an international student who studies a 3-year bachelor’s or a 1-year master’s in NZ is entitled to a 3-year post study work visa - an open work visa which allows the visa holder to work for any employer, in any job and in any location in NZ. In order to apply for this visa, a student must have successfully completed their qualification and have been physically present in NZ for 30 weeks or more - the equivalent of one academic year. 

Therefore, a student who opts to start their 3-year bachelor’s course online can apply for this visa as long as they can complete at least the final year physically within NZ. This is, of course, subject to the border reopening - which is precisely why a 3-year bachelor’s degree presents such a great option. The longer duration of the bachelor’s programme is long enough to allow for this arrangement to be successful - whereas a 1-year course like a Graduate Diploma is too short for any part of the study to be completed from within NZ - considering the borders remain closed. 

5. Use This ‘Downtime’ Productively

For those students who have just left school and are now considering their next step into tertiary education, starting their NZ bachelor’s online is the perfect option.  By enrolling into online studies now, the student will not waste another academic year doing nothing, or end up doing something that does not bring them closer to their dream of coming to NZ. 

Instead, the student will be actively working towards their goal of studying in NZ and obtaining a NZ work visa. They will be able to turn this ‘downtime ' - or time while the borders are shut - to their advantage, rather than the obvious disadvantage it presents. 

How to Begin Your Online Education

A growing number of universities and higher education institutions in NZ are offering their programmes online. Now more than ever before you have a wide selection of programmes at their fingertips – some of which have great residence prospects in NZ as well. Beginning to study for your NZ programme online is also a great option for getting an official degree without physically setting foot on a university campus - especially useful in the current pandemic environment. 

Of all the lessons learnt from Covid, one of the most important is to think differently and innovate - the ability to study online, and work towards a post study work visa came as a result of that approach.

NZ is already talking about reopening its border in small parts to the rest of the world in 2022, so we hope that entry for international students will not be too far off. If you have studied a few years for a NZ course already, the visa process could also become less challenging – as it would be easier to show your commitments to the course, than if you did not study the course at all.

- Farzad Irani (Country Manager - India) & Zinnia Manchanda (Licensed Immigration Adviser #201600267)

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