A remote area situated nearby Australia, New Zealand is an island country that is a part of Oceania. In Māori, it is known as Aotearoa. In line with this, the nation is comprised of around 600 islands. Furthermore, its capital is Wellington, which is located on the North Island. As of 2022, there are about 4,888,800 people residing in the country.

Speaking of residents, people from New Zealand commonly refer to themselves as Kiwis. On another note, the majority of the population speaks English. Besides this, Māori and the New Zealand Sign Language are also spoken. As for religion, the main one in the country is Christianity. However, there are also Kiwis who practice Hinduism, Māori religions, Islam, as well as Buddhism.

When in New Zealand, the must-visit tourist attractions include Fiordland National Park, Bay of Islands, Queenstown, Tongariro National Park, and Franz Josef Glacier. Aside from this, there is also an extensive list of dishes that visitors should not miss out on such as hāngī, crayfish, Kiwi burger, jaffas, and pavlova.

Aotearoa currently has around 20,000 international students. The lower number was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and before this, there were approximately more than 100,000 individuals from overseas pursuing their studies in the island country.

In the article below, we talk about some of the best cities to study in New Zealand.

Top Cities to Study in New Zealand for International Students

1. Wellington

The country’s capital city, Wellington, is popular for being a culinary capital. Other than having the Wellington Cable Car, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, The Beehive, Wellington Botanic Garden, and ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, the city is also jampacked with bars, cafes, and restaurants serving delectable food and drinks.

Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand School of Music, New Zealand College of Chiropractic, and Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School are some of the best universities and colleges in the area. With a number of excellent universities, Wellington is definitely among the best cities to study in New Zealand for international students.

Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School is the country’s leading center of learning for drama. There are many courses and programs available at Toi Whakaari such as acting, arts management, costume construction, design for stage and screen, and set and props construction. The institution also offers various masterclasses as well as workshops.

On the other hand, the New Zealand College of Chiropractic is the perfect higher education institution for aspiring chiropractors. Having been established in 1994, it is now an internationally recognized college due to the high-quality education and impactful research that it provides to all students.

2. Auckland

Auckland is on the North Island of the country. Despite being a metropolitan city, there are also lots of natural attractions in the location such as Tiritiri Matangi Island, Tawharanui Regional Park, and Hauraki Gulf. Moreover, the place is called Tāmaki Makaurau in Māori.

In the city, a few of the leading universities are The University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, Unitec Institute of Technology, Whitecliffe College Of Arts And Design, and Laidlaw College. In relation to these, the Unitec Institute of Technology is the city’s biggest technological-focused center of excellence. Besides the usual undergraduate and postgraduate study options, UNITEC also offers certificate and diploma programs, short courses, as well as extra electives.

Moving on, Laidlaw College is a solid option for prospective students who are looking to study any of the following areas: counseling and teacher education, ministry, mission, theology, and biblical studies.

3. Christchurch

South Island’s most sizeable city, Christchurch, is a coastal town that has been nicknamed, “Garden City of the Plains.” As of 2022, the population in the city is around 402,000. When in the area, one should not forget to take a trip to the Canterbury Museum, Port Hills, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Avon River, and Hagley Park.

International students who will opt to live and study in Christchurch, which is among the best cities to study in New Zealand, can pick from the city’s top educational institutions such as the University of Canterbury, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Christchurch School of Music, and New Zealand College of Business.

The Christchurch School of Music (CSM) was originally a simple music school open to children who are in primary school. In addition to this, it was established in 1955. Today, it is now a large institution that aims to impart learning to budding musicians of all ages. At CSM, students can learn guitar, ukulele, piano, woodwind instruments, aural perception, and a lot more.

Popular for being one of New Zealand’s oldest tertiary education institutes, the University of Canterbury opened its doors to learners in 1873. Back then, it was known as Canterbury College. It now has seven faculties: Arts, Business, Education, Engineering, Health, Law, and Science.

4. Dunedin

Dunedin has been called the Wildlife Capital of the country. It is not surprising as the city is the home of the Otago Peninsula, The Royal Albatross Centre, Penguin Place, Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary, and Ross Creek. Other than that, it has also been dubbed the “Edinburgh of New Zealand” since the place has Scottish roots. Additionally, the city has approximately 114,350 residents.

In Dunedin, the most reputable centers of learning are the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic. The former prides itself on being included in the top 1% of universities worldwide, as stated by the QS World University Rankings. The institution’s four divisions offer a handful of study options to all future students. These divisions are Division of Health Sciences, Division of Humanities, Division of Sciences, and Division of Commerce.

As for the latter, there are around 42 study areas available. Otago Polytechnic has courses and programs centering on Apiculture, Beauty Therapy, Culinary Arts and Food Design, Midwifery, Tourism, and many more.

5. Nelson

Another city located in New Zealand’s South Island is Nelson. It is among the best cities to study in New Zealand for international students. It is also hit with tourists because of its mesmerizing beaches, adventure-filled forests, and impressive wineries. The place’s tranquil vibes are perfect for an international student who is looking for a city that is not all hustle and bustle.

In line with that, the greatest higher education institutions in the location are the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts (NCMA), and Bishopdale Theological College. Adding to this, the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts is remarked as a prestigious institution because it is the oldest musical arts school in the country. With that, for future students who are looking to be in the field of music and performing arts, NCMA is your best bet.


We hope that you found this article on the best cities to study in New Zealand for international students informative and helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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