Indian student Avanpreet Singh came to New Zealand because it was a "dream study destination", but says his experience was more of a nightmare.
The 20-year-old has lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Education and the NZ Qualifications Authority about poor service at his former school, Aotearoa Tertiary Institute.
An NZQA official said yesterday the authority was investigating.
"Moving to New Zealand was the most exciting time of my life, and I sold my motorbike, computer, games and worked on the field with my father to pay for my studies," said Mr Singh, who has returned to India.
"Making a decision to study abroad is not a small move, and I am really hoping for the New Zealand authorities to act so other students won't have to suffer what I had been through."
Mr Singh began study last year at the institute's Te Puke campus for a diploma in business management.
"They didn't have proper classrooms, the building was a rented warehouse in the basement, with no computers and library for students, and they didn't even have adequate staff," he said.
After one semester, Mr Singh had to move to Auckland when the Te Puke campus was closed for failing to meet NZQA requirements.
"I struggled to find accommodation and ended up spending quite a bit on motels and food."
At the Otahuhu campus, Mr Singh claimed he had no supervision and received no feedback from teachers for his work.
"It's as good as not going to school, because there was no one there to teach you or even guide you," Mr Singh said.
Six months after his return to India, Mr Singh claimed the school would not issue him with a letter confirming his enrolment and that he had completed three papers.
"Each time I call them, they said they will only give me a letter if I signed up for another semester at a cost of $3000, but I have lost complete faith in them," he said. "I have already spent more than $30,000, during my time in New Zealand and I don't have any more money."
Yesterday, institute director Sheetal Singh dismissed Mr Singh's complaint as "baseless". She said it was "bullshit" that the institute had asked Mr Singh to sign up for another semester before it would give him a letter confirming his enrolment.
"If they had completed their course, they would have gotten their diploma. He completed the first three papers, but he did not complete all the papers," Mrs Singh said.
"When the Te Puke campus was closed, students were given a choice to move or get a refund, it was his choice to move, no one forced anyone to come here."
An NZQA external evaluation and review last December found the institute to be "not yet confident in educational performance" and "not confident in capability in self-assessment".
The report also rated the school's governance and management in supporting educational achievement as poor, but found that students were adequately guided and supported.
Last year about 10,500 or 14 per cent of the 75,000 foreign students who came to New Zealand were from India.