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Interesting Facts About New Zealand as a Study Destination

A recent New Zealand Herald article featured in the September 9 edition of the MSM Reporter caught my attention. The article cited THE World University Rankings 2022 to announce that “several” New Zealand institutions had risen in the rankings since 2020. It turns out that four out of the eight higher education institutions improved their ranking, three stayed in place, and one dropped one level.


I was interested because one of the best gainers was Lincoln University, which is an MSM partner institution. Lincoln University rose to the 501-600 bracket in 2021 from the 601-800 grouping in 2020, which was remarkable because the rankings were for 1,600 institutions worldwide, many of which had much larger student populations. Additionally, New Zealand is the 12th most popular study destination in 2020. 


It got me thinking about New Zealand as a study destination. Here is what I found.

Key Takeaways:

  • New Zealand is the 12th most popular study destination in 2020
  • Four of the eight universities in the country have risen in worldwide university rankings of 1,600 institutions in 2021
  • Most New Zealanders believe that international education has significant economic, social, and cultural value to the country

Good job prospects

New Zealand has a population of fewer than 5 million people. As a country the size of the UK (population 66.65 million), a skill shortage in many industries, including Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining in New Zealand, is not surprising. You can work as a student and have rights or apply for work after you graduate


Additionally, if you graduate from any New Zealand University, you have a good chance of getting employment anywhere in the world. Lincoln University, for instance, ranks 89th in the QS Global University Employability Ranking in 2022.


UniversitiesGraduate Employability Ranking
Lincoln University#89
The University of Auckland#59
Auckland University of Technology#301-500
Massey University#301-500
University of Canterbury#301-500
University of Waikato#301-5002
University of Otago#251-300
Victoria University of Wellington#251-300

Women rule

According to the OECD, women outnumber men when studying abroad, at least at the undergraduate level. If that pattern holds, then New Zealand is inspirational for female international students. 


New Zealand is the first country for women suffrage. Kiwi women received the right to vote in 1893, mainly due to the efforts of Kate Sheppard. It is also the first country with women in top government positions in roughly the same period, namely Prime Minister Helen Clark (1999-2008), Governor-General Silvia Cartwright (2001-2006), and Chief Justice Sian Elias (1999-2019).

Least corrupt country

According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, New Zealand ties with Denmark for top billing as the least corrupt out of 180 countries in 2020. Since international students are often subject to many laws and regulations, it would be of comfort to them to be in a land of law and order.

Kiwis believe international students contribute positively to the country

To a certain extent, local people in some countries see no value in having international students in their schools. Kiwis are naturally friendly and down to earth, but they are also much more enlightened about international students’ social, economic, and cultural contributions in their midst.


Perceptions Research in 2019 revealed that 65% of Kiwis recognize the benefits of international students within their borders. Even more (76%) believe international students can help promote the culture and way of life in New Zealand to their home countries.

New Zealand is mostly forest

The Lord of the Rings films showed the lush beauty of New Zealand’s landscape, and the country is mostly green. The landmass of New Zealand is about 24% natural forest, 5% planted forest, and 10% other vegetation. Lord of the Rings fans can also explore Middle Earth and other landmarks of the movies. 


Most of the major cities are also on the coast. Students with a penchant for water sports are going to have a great time in New Zealand.

A fascinating international education destination

Overall, New Zealand is a fascinating study in terms of international education. It is not the most affordable or the most prestigious study destination, yet it is one of the top favorites for international students. Perhaps the facts above have something to do with its allure. I would look forward to any research that would prove it one way or the other. (SUNEETHA QURESHI)

MSM VP Global Suneetha Qureshi

MSM President-Global Marketing Office (GMO)

Suneetha has more than 10 years of experience in the international education sector. As president of MSM GMO, she fortifies its business development outreach globally, particularly in the face of MSM’s foray in edtech-based recruitment via MSM Unify. She preserves the premium, value-adding services provided to each GMO partner institution, including dedicated teams on the ground, agent management, lead generation and inquiry management, application pre-screening, and student and parent support through pioneering pre-departure briefing sessions.


She has an impeccable track record of successfully launching the representative offices in Asia and Africa of many North American and European higher education institutions. Her key strengths include hiring, training, and developing teams as evidenced by the successful results of the dedicated in-country college and university client teams.

Suneetha also has taken the lead in developing several initiatives at MSM, including building robust standard operating procedures, the Rise ‘n Shine team engagement platform, and the organization’s data analytics and audit segments.


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