New Zealand Study Abroad Country Profile

New Zealand Overview

New Zealand study abroad programs will expose students to an amazing variety of breathtaking landscapes. Many blockbuster movies have been shot there, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is true – New Zealand’s unbelievable landscapes are very much what makes the country so unique and memorable. There are a wide variety of opportunities to view wildlife like dolphins and whales, as well as plenty of outdoor activities like white water rafting and bungee jumping. But there is more to New Zealand than its natural beauty. Students studying abroad in New Zealand will be captivated by this interesting and remote country.

Cultural Highlights

There are two unique cultural groups that have historically called New Zealand home. The most familiar are the Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. There are a number of Polynesian motifs and traditions that have influenced Maori culture, but the islands of New Zealand and the effects of European migration have largely shaped the culture. Some Maori traditions have even taken hold elsewhere in New Zealand culture – the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team regularly performs a haka, a traditional Maori dance and war cry, before each match.

The other dominant cultural group in New Zealand is the Pakeha, whose culture is largely a product of European colonization. Differences between the Pakeha and British cultures have always existed and have only grown over time; Pakeha espouse egalitarian, anti-intellectual ideals. Pakeha culture is controversial, with some arguing that it is not really a culture at all – this is attributed to the fact that Pakeha popular culture is highly visible and appreciated in New Zealand.

Popular Fields of Study

New Zealand is a great place to study abroad because it has several top universities as well as a number of independent programs that operate there. Students can have a more traditional academic experience with a full course load at the University of Auckland or any of New Zealand’s universities, or they can participate in an independent program that will provide unique thematic elements and hands-on experiences. New Zealand is a great place for students interested in biology, the environment, ecology, marine science, conservation, and more. Because of its unique cultural atmosphere, it is also a great choice for students interested in cultural studies, anthropology, and sociology. The university system in New Zealand makes it possible for students with nearly any academic interest to study there – classes are offered in everything from media and communication to psychology and education.

Why Study Abroad in New Zealand?

New Zealand has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in New Zealand.

1. Natural Splendor

New Zealand is known for its sweeping landscapes, and whether you are a photography enthusiast or just out and about, you will take home some beautiful and memorable photos.

2. Whale Watching In Kaikoura

Kaikoura is one of the best locations for whale watching anywhere! You can also see seals and a variety of dolphins, including the endangered Hector dolphin.

3. Bungee Jumping

New Zealand is the world’s number one destination for bungee jumping. If you are an adventure seeker, check out the Kawarau River Bridge, the Pipeline, and numerous other popular bungee locations.

4. Visit A Maori Marae

Visit one of these traditional Maori meeting places and see how the Maori have maintained their culture and customs till the present day. This is a great way to learn more about the culture and see some truly unique and significant locations.

5. Backpacker Friendly

With programs like WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming) and the strength of the dollar, New Zealand is an attractive destination for students looking to travel around on their own with just the bare essentials. New Zealand study abroad participants will also find the country to be a great starting point for traveling around Australia and Southeast Asia.

6. Strength of the Dollar

Though the US dollar has lost its strength in many places around the world, New Zealand is very dollar-friendly. This makes New Zealand a relatively inexpensive location for students. One US dollar is currently worth about $1.50 in New Zealand.

7. Sailing in Auckland

Auckland is a major sailing and yachting location, and whether you’re an avid sailor or just interested in some of the big events (the Louis Vuitton Pacific Sailing Series is held here), there is something for you.

8. Friendly People

New Zealanders, or "kiwis", are friendly and outgoing. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions!

9. International Festival of Arts

Held in Wellington every two years, this is the premier arts event in New Zealand. This festival is a lively mixture of street theater, comedy, music, and films.

10. Scuba Diving

New Zealand’s natural wonders aren’t limited to land. Check out amazing sub-tropical reefs, wrecks, and more at hundreds of different dive sites.

New Zealand Study Abroad Statistics

New Zealand Country Ranking: 21

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 1.0%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 2,718
  • Total US Students 2007/08: 2,629
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: -3.3%
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