Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

New Zealand popular with overseas students

International student enrolments were up 13 per cent nationwide last year. Photo / iStock
International student enrolments were up 13 per cent nationwide last year. Photo / iStock

More overseas students are choosing New Zealand as their study destination.

International student enrolments were up 13 per cent or 14,748 nationwide last year, according to the New Zealand International Education Snapshot.

It showed 34 per cent of enrolments were at private training establishments, 21 per cent at universities, 17 per cent in the English language sector, 14 per cent at institutes of technology and polytechnics, and 14 per cent in schools.

The top market was China with 27 per cent of enrolments followed by India with 23 per cent.

The New Zealand international education industry earned just over $1 billion in tuition fee revenue in 2015, an additional $146 million compared to 2014, and a record result for the industry.

Korea experienced the largest decline in student enrolments last year. There was an overall decline in Korean students studying abroad, with many choosing to remain in Korea and take advantage of its much improved standard of education, available at a lower cost, according to the report.

It said the decline could also be attributed to the state of the Korean economy, which was experiencing high youth unemployment and household debt.

Student enrolments from Saudi Arabia also declined. The Saudi government had announced new requirements for student eligibility, including a higher threshold for academic and language qualifications for government-funded courses, the report said.

Universal College of Learning (UCOL) executive director business development, Arthur Chin, said students from 74 different nationalities studied at UCOL last year.

The most popular programmes for international students included Bachelor of Nursing, Graduate Diploma in Information and Communications Technology and New Zealand Certificate in Cookery.

Chin said UCOL was focusing on developing the international market.

Recruitment strategies included responding more quickly and effectively to international agents and students, a new international prospectus, a pre-departure guide for students and a new mobile responsive website.

Chin said international students at UCOL enjoyed learning about Maori culture. They also liked the practical learning environment, specialised equipment, and work placements, internships and competitions.

"For some students, New Zealand is an attractive tourist destination and they welcome the opportunity to use their time to combine educational and recreational experiences," said Chin.

Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) international director Philippa Jones said the school was working to diversify the countries international students were coming from and the programmes they were coming to study.

Jones said the students came from more than 40 countries but EIT's largest markets were China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Germany, India and Japan.

International students were studying a wide range of programmes including business, information technology, wine and viticulture, health science, nursing and English. They were studying at all levels.

Jones said the international students gave the domestic students the chance to meet people from other cultures, which was important.

"I think it opens their eyes to the way people of different nationalities approach the same problem..."

Having international students also allowed EIT to developing links with partner institutions overseas which would provide opportunities for domestic students to study abroad.

- NZ Herald

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