by Jesko Griesbach| 11 May 2017
When I first came to New Zealand and to the New Zealand Institute of Education (NZIE), I was confused by all the different course names, diplomas and the name ‘foundation’ course. Being from Germany where I have never heard of these things before was not helpful in trying to understand all this. But after spending more than a month at NZIE, I have a clearer vision of how education works here.
I noticed that there are diverse ways to pursue your dream of entering a university and receiving education in New Zealand. So, if you are a foreign high school student or just someone who is interested in studying abroad, I’m pleased to give you a brief guideline of how you can go from high school to postgrad in New Zealand.
What does it mean? Basically, I am trying to give you an overview of education in New Zealand and what you can do if you are thinking of entering a university in New Zealand by enrolling into a foundation course.
This will include advice on language requirements, visa conditions etc. to give you an impression of what it takes to study abroad in New Zealand.
The first thing you might ask yourself is, why should I go to NZ?
New Zealand is a thriving country. With its steady economic growth and its political stability, New Zealand offers a perfect environment for entrepreneurs. It’s an English-speaking country that gives you the opportunity to communicate with businesses from all over the world. According to Daniel, NZIE’s International Course Advisor, it is the quality of life that makes the big difference. The work atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, welcoming people from every part of the world. Employers care about your social and personal skills like your communication abilities, attitude and helpfulness. If you’re energetic and happy to pull your weight, people will be willing to collaborate with you. And don’t be afraid of being overloaded with tasks – most managers here are aware of your capabilities and your life besides work, Daniel emphasises. If you have good qualifications, great skills and a passion for what you do, New Zealand will offer you great opportunities.
After you have made the decision of going to NZ, what would be the next logical step?
It is necessary to check your English skills before going abroad to avoid a nasty surprise. So, a good understanding of the English language is essential because, obviously, every course offered is taught in English.
How can you prove your level of English?
There are plenty of assessment tests you can choose from. You may have heard of the IELTS (International English Testing System) test or the Cambridge tests which will show your English skills converted into score points. If you haven’t taken part in such a test, don’t worry: NZIE, for example, offers an in-house test to assess your abilities.
Living costs and accommodation in NZ
What to expect from the cost of living in New Zealand? Well, if it’s expensive or not depends on the country you are from. Generally, it can be said due to its remote location, imported goods like cars, electricity and computer equipment might be more expensive, but usually the overall cost of living match the cost in other OECD countries. But when it comes to Auckland you should not be surprised by higher prices. It’s the biggest city in New Zealand with a high population density; therefore, it is not the cheapest in terms of public transport, housing and food. Don’t be discouraged by this fact. In 2016, a Mercer study ranked the most expensive metropolitan areas of the world. Guess what? Auckland is in 98th place. Compared to Hong Kong (1st place) and Sydney (42nd), this seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Let me give you some examples:
Accommodation, as mentioned beforehand, is expensive in Auckland. Unfortunately, a housing shortage is doing its part. Websites like trademe.co.nz are offering a lot of shared flats all over Auckland. Generally, it can be said that the city centre is the most expensive place to live but nevertheless you might be able to find an affordable offer. To give you a rough idea of what you can expect, the rent of an apartment in the city is $200 upwards per week. More remote suburbs like North Shore City can be cheaper but they may include a longer commute depending on where you study. You can always share a flat with other students, which is a very common practice in NZ that can save you a lot a money. Last but not least, always take a look at your fancied flat and then read the contract carefully!
Night out: For many people, going out is a good diversion and recreation opportunity. If you enjoy a drink from time to time, this will be interesting for you. Most of the bars are free, clubs unluckily not. The regular price for a pint of beer varies from NZD 5.00 to NZD 9.50. A glass of wine can cost from NZD 8.00 up to NZD 17.00. Let me add these are just benchmarks. You may find a cheaper place or even places where you pay more than $10 for a beer. The best way is to stay considerate and to really enjoy your drink instead of chugging it.
Concerts/sporting events: One of the major advantages Auckland has to offer is its size. In terms of concerts and sporting events there is something for everyone. From netball and basketball to rugby, (both league and All Blacks games) you can experience the variety of sports New Zealanders are performing. And even famous musicians give concerts in Auckland on a regular basis. The price for a ticket depends on whose concert you’d like to visit. Just compare the different NZ ticket websites.
Fruits/vegetables: When it comes to fruits and vegetables, be aware that outside of the harvest season, the prices can skyrocket for fruits like tomatoes, avocadoes and zucchinis.
Saving some dollars is always a good idea no matter where you live so I have some tips to reduce your spending:
- look for home brand articles and special offers at the supermarket
- seize the happy hour times at bars
- keep track of your expenses and make a shopping list and stick to it
This should help you to save a few dollars each month. You can spend these dollars on something exciting like skydiving or bungee jumping!
If you have doubts about you being able to afford living in Auckland, the following might be interesting for you. The conditions of the student visa, which you will need to study a higher education programme, will make it possible to financially support your stay here. You’ll be granted up to a work time of 20 hours a week during your study. Furthermore, during your holidays you can work up to 40 hours a week. If you are unsure how to find a side job, NZIE’s student services team, Think Recruit, will provide you with essential tips for job interviews, seeking skills and job offers as well. Just ask them – they more than happy to help you.
After you have done this preparation and have taken everything into consideration, it is time to look for the right course to enrol in. Depending on your work experience and higher education, the range of courses varies. All the courses have entry criteria; they can be either a good high school diploma from most countries, course-related work experience, a bachelor’s degree or a Level 5 NZ qualification, depending on the programme you are enrolling into.
If this is your first qualification or degree, this NZ Diploma in Applied Business Level 5 might be your foundation course to higher education in New Zealand. Basically, all you need, is to have completed high school in your home country or practical experience and a good understanding of English to be eligible to enrol in this course. This is easily proven by your IELTS score as mentioned before.
What does this foundation course do for you?
It is beneficial for you in many ways. Because it’s practical-based it will provide you with the needed foundation to pursue business and interact with enterprises in New Zealand. This will be done by giving you an overview of business in New Zealand as well as introducing you to the domestic market and companies through common activities. You will also obtain a profound knowledge of economics and how to run a business. Even interaction with co-workers or subordinates won’t be a problem for you anymore. These important management and leadership skills will be taught through the variety of courses offered to lay the best foundations for your career in New Zealand. This course is designed to transform and shape your character in a positive way.
Pathway to Universities in New Zealand
Even after your graduation, the benefits of the gained skills and knowledge are expanded.
Apart from the Diploma in Applied Business itself, you, as a Level 5 graduate, will have plenty of options from which to choose from. This programme is also a foundation course to some of the best business programmes in New Zealand.
The most common choice is to continue your studies. You could then continue studying a more advanced programme at NZIE, such as: Diplomas in Business or in Digital Marketing (both level 7) or pathway to one of the top universities in New Zealand.
How is that possible? Well, your 1 year of Business Level 5 at NZIE gives you credits towards a bachelor’s degree from some of the best universities in New Zealand. That sounds good, gaining knowledge in business and getting recognition from a big institution like Massey University to pursue your academic pathway. When completing a Level 7 Diploma or a Bachelor’s degree it’s only a small step towards your Level 8 Postgraduate Diploma.
Please note that this post reflects my personal views and experiences. To get official information on programmes, entry requirements and visas please refer to NZIE’s and INZ’s websites.