Asian business graduates rate NZ education

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Most Asian business graduates who attended New Zealand tertiary institutions say they are positive about their experiences of living and studying in New Zealand, a new Asia New Zealand Foundation report says.

Of those surveyed, 71 percent indicated that they had enjoyed studying in New Zealand, and just over half said that their studies had matched their expectations.

In the tracking study of Asian business graduates, 45 percent of the participants also said they wanted to remain in New Zealand after graduating, at least for a while, to launch their professional careers.

A majority of the students surveyed (58 percent) also said maintaining links to New Zealand was a clear priority while 80 percent said they wanted to maintain friendships formed while studying in New Zealand.

The study was undertaken by International Student Ministries of New Zealand (ISM NZ) which surveyed 131 Asia-born New Zealand-trained business graduates and interviewed 40 participants.

Those surveyed came from countries ranging from Pakistan, India through to Japan, Korea and Indonesia. The largest single nationality surveyed was from China with 43 percent.

But survey participants indicated that they viewed tuition costs as the most negative aspect of studying in New Zealand, with almost 60 percent expressing disquiet at the cost of their academic tuition.
This was despite the respondents identifying New Zealand’s perceived affordability as one of the main reasons for choosing to study here.

One possible explanation for this is that the survey period was marked by rising exchange rates and increased international and domestic student fees in many educational institutions. Interviews revealed that high tuition costs could be a significant distraction and source of stress.

The report’s authors said of secondary concern to the students surveyed was difficulty mixing with ‘locals’. Forty-two percent indicated that they found it difficult mixing with or relating to local people in New Zealand while a much smaller number described having experienced or observed discriminatory or unfriendly attitudes towards people of Asian descent.

Despite some students’ negative experiences with other New Zealanders, more survey participants indicated that their liking for New Zealanders had grown (37 percent) rather than diminished (14 percent) through studying here.

Over half agreed that the work culture in New Zealand was better than elsewhere; almost 60 percent said that work seemed less stressful; and almost half said that workers seemed expected to work fewer hours in New Zealand.


  • Asian students are the fastest-growing minority group in New Zealand’s tertiary education sector.
    According to the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Asian students comprise almost one-fifth (17 percent) of the total tertiary student population.
  • One-third of Asian students in tertiary education are enrolled as international students; the majority of these on a full-fee-paying basis.
  • Asian students make up two thirds of the total international student population and 12 percent of domestic students in New Zealand tertiary education.
  • Although New Zealand has only a tiny proportion of the world’s international student population, it stands out as a national economy for its reliance on revenue generated through education exports.

Read more


Dr Andrew Butcher
Director Policy and Research

Last updated: 29 Jan 2013