84% “positively” rate New Zealand experience
Eight in 10 international students studying in New Zealand rate their overall experience positively, new research has found.
The 2023 International Student Experience survey – released by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao – found that 84% of the 4,755 international students from more than 70 countries surveyed rated their overall experience positively.
A further 83% said they would recommend the country as a study destination.
General manager for marketing and communications at the government agency, Geoff Bilbrough, said the survey found that students have a strong preference for New Zealand “as a place where they can obtain a high quality education while enjoying unique personal development and learning experiences”.
“The fact that 83% would recommend New Zealand based on their personal experience is also very positive, because they will share their experience with friends and families. This word-of-mouth testimony builds resilience for New Zealand as an international education destination.”
The country was the first choice of study destination for 78% of respondents, while 64% said their experience had met or exceeded their expectations.
A separate survey conducted in December also found that 75% of the 1,100 New Zealanders asked believe that international students benefit New Zealand.
Some 81% said international students help local students learn about other cultures and ways of living and 80% highlighted economic benefits.
“It is particularly pleasing that there is strong awareness and support of the cultural exchanges”
In 2016, only 57% believed international students helped the New Zealand economy and economic growth.
The ratio of respondents suggesting that international students make it harder for New Zealanders to get jobs has fallen from 34% in 2018 to 24% in 2023, the agency highlighted.
“International students have always been a significant contributor to regional economies,” Bilbrough added.
“It is particularly pleasing that there is strong awareness and support of the cultural exchanges that happen when international students learn alongside New Zealand students and participate in our communities.”
However ENZ reported challenges, with 32% suggesting that the country’s infrastructure in housing, transport and medical services is not well equipped to allow for international students.
Others were concerned that some international students use the education system as a means to residency in New Zealand.
“While the research identified some challenges, the definite trend in awareness of the benefits international students bring to New Zealand is very positive for the future,” Bilbrough concluded.
Before Christopher Luxon was elected prime minister in October last year, his party pledged to increase the number of hours international students can work while studying, as well as expand work rights for some students and their families.
Universities in the country have been under pressure, with several seeing layoffs after drops in enrolment during the pandemic.