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7 reasons to study in New Zealand

The number of Indians who chose to study in New Zealand is up by 53% from last year. High Commissioner to India Joanna Kempkers and Education NZ Regional Director John Laxon discuss why
BY Uma Asher |   17-05-2017
John Laxon of Education NZ and New Zealand High Commissioner to India Joanna Kempkers
New Zealand High Commissioner to India Joanna Kempkers (right) with
John Laxon, Education New Zealand's Regional Director for South & SE Asia and the Middle East

More than 25,000 Indian students chose New Zealand for higher education in 2016. Mr. John Laxon, Regional Director for South & Southeast Asia and the Middle East at Education New Zealand, said “We’ve had a 53% increase in Indian students enrolled in New Zealand universities this year, compared with last year.” He and New Zealand High Commissioner to India Joanna Kempkers chatted with BrainGain Magazine in an exclusive meeting recently. Ms. Kempkers said that as a parent herself, she understood the concerns of Indian mums and dads who may wonder why they should consider sending their child to New Zealand for higher studies. Both she and Mr. Laxon clarified several doubts and outlined the advantages that their country offers to international students.

  1. World-class Universities
    All of the New Zealand’s eight universities rank in the top 500 (top 3%) worldwide, “so you can’t make a wrong choice,” Ms. Kempkers said. Courses range from the more traditional health, medicine, engineering and business, to newer offerings in, say film-making, animation, fashion, and IT, and niche courses such as pilot training.
     
  2. Safe and Welcoming Environment
    New Zealand ranked fourth on the 2016 Global Peace Index. “It is the fourth most safe country in the world,” Ms. Kempkers said. “A few Scandinavian countries are ahead of us, but otherwise we’re ahead of most of the other traditional destinations where Indian students might think about studying.”

    She added that New Zealand is a multicultural society, where 9% of the population is of Asian origin, 15% is Maori, 7% is from the Pacific Islands, and 4% is of Indian origin. “If you shift to Auckland, our largest city, that statistic goes up to 8%... so we’re used to having Indians as part of our society,” she said.
     
  3. Long History of Innovation
    “We’re not just an agricultural economy; we’ve been an innovative society for a long time,” Ms. Kempkers said. “In 1919, the first man to split the atom, Sir Ernest Rutherford, was a New Zealander.” New Zealand has led the world in engineering, science, and technology, with inventions such as jetboat engines and ski planes, she noted. She added, “Sir Edmund Hillary, a former High Commissioner to India, was the first man to climb Mount Everest. So we’re an innovative and pioneering society.”

    Mr. Laxon added that New Zealand was the first country to bring in a broad-based climate change emissions trading scheme, and that 85% of its energy comes from renewable sources. “In those areas, we have generated world-leading solutions,” he said.

    Ms. Kempkers said students in New Zealand didn’t just learn facts and figures. “We teach them how to think, how to analyze problems, and how to solve problems,” she said. International students educated in New Zealand could compete with students from anywhere in the world, not only now but also 20 years on, she added.
     
  4. Scholarships and Collaborations
    Mr. Laxon noted that besides Indian students’ interest in studying in New Zealand, connections were also being forged at the academic and research level, in areas where New Zealand was a world leader, such as fashion design and the creative arts.

    He said, “We’ll also be running a fashion design showcase for the second year. We’ve had a very successful ‘Runway to New Zealand’ collaboration with the Fashion Design Council of India, NIFT, and Pearl Academy, and two New Zealand universities.”

    Referring to scholarships which are jointly funded by Education New Zealand and universities in the country, Mr. Laxon said, “We’ll be running a second season of the New Zealand Excellence Awards. This will provide around 35 partial scholarships to Indian students… We’re keen to promote the initiative, particularly in STEM subjects.” Last year, the scholarship allotment was subscribed three times over, he added. The scholarships are available to postgraduate and undergraduate students.

    Mr. Laxon also mentioned plans to launch the New Zealand Sustainability Challenge, which would bring bright Indian students together with teams from New Zealand universities, to work on environmental issues in India. This would be a partnership between New Zealand universities and Indian institutions including TERI, some IITs and other universities.
     
  5. Two-Way Street
    Mr. Laxon said the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia, which brought around 45 New Zealand students each year to India, were popular in New Zealand. “The New Zealand government doesn’t see education as a one-way street,” he said.

    Ms. Kempkers said international students in New Zealand not only brought back benefits to their own countries, but enriched New Zealand too. “It’s about having New Zealand students having someone from another culture sitting beside them… internationalizing New Zealand’s educational institutions to enable them to develop research partnerships.”

    Last year, the New Zealand government ran a guest lecture series that brought academics to Indian universities. Students and parents also had the chance to meet them at education fairs. “We’ll be doing that again in August or September,” Mr. Laxon said.
    More than 20 study agents at Welcome2NewZealand session at the High Commission in Delhi
    Recognized study agents in India met with top officials from New Zealand in April

  6. Recognized Agents
    Education New Zealand’s initiative to work with recognized agents and licensed immigration advisors is aimed at ensuring that students and their families get high-quality advice that leads to a good learning experience in New Zealand, Mr. Laxon said. Recently, a group of these agents and advisors met with top officials at the New Zealand High Commission in Delhi, to learn about the latest policies and improve their understanding of higher education in that country.

    “Global education is about more than just students traveling,” Ms. Kempkers said. “It’s about equipping them with skills so they can return and help in India’s development.” When dealing with recognized agents and licensed advisors, she said, Indian students and their parents could be confident that they had the right information from the New Zealand government.
     
  7. No Room for Fraud
    Ms. Kempkers said, “New Zealand is a very transparent country. So all our rules and regulations for how you qualify to become a student in New Zealand are available on the Study in New Zealand website.” This included information on immigration, whether you can work as a student, and whether you can get a job afterwards. New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world, she said, adding, “We have zero tolerance for fraud.”
 
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