There are many reasons why New Zealanders are among the happiest people in the world. Visually, it’s a country packed with spectacular outdoor offerings, ranging from snow-capped mountains and bubbling volcanoes to mist-cloaked fjords and golden beaches. Apart from sparking wanderlust on a whole new level, New Zealand is fast-paced yet tranquil, an adventure playground, and a powerhouse of opportunity. Its vibrancy is unrivalled – much like its ability to bounce back amidst uncertainty.
Sydney-based policy think-tank Lowy Institute assessed almost 100 countries on six criteria, including confirmed cases, deaths, and testing metrics. New Zealand topped the class, recognised for largely keeping the virus at bay with border closures and lockdowns implemented much earlier than most.
This is welcoming news for students with their hearts set on gaining a New Zealand degree. The country offers a student experience like none other. Currently ranked third in the world for its education system, New Zealand is home to a unique and diverse society that welcomes various abilities, beliefs, ethnic groups, income levels and viewpoints on teaching and learning, the kind of inclusivity that only New Zealand — the world’s current beacon of progressive politics — can offer.
Here’s more to look forward to: the government has recently announced that 1,000 students will be allowed to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021 onwards. This initiative is just the tip of the iceberg in a series of efforts set to eventually unfold –– all part of a rigorous recovery plan for its international education sector. “It underscores the government’s commitment to the international education sector, which is important in the country’s long-term economic recovery from COVID-19,” says education minister Chris Hipkins.
A student experience that is well-worth the wait
It’s set to be a comeback story that highlights how much the country has always valued its international community. In cities like Christchurch –– New Zealand’s second largest –– opportunities are vast and plenty. Equipped with stunning surroundings, a progressive mindset, and a thriving innovation ecosystem –– it’s no surprise that UC International College at the University of Canterbury (UCIC) students proudly call it their home away from home. Here, concerns over whether they will be welcome in Christchurch are put to rest the second students arrive.
“After I got off the plane, I saw the blue skies and the clouds. The people are very friendly, when you’re walking on the street or running in the morning,” reminisces UCIC graduate Ellen Zhang from China. “They will say ‘hello’ to you and you’ll feel that energy for the whole day.”
It’s clear the UCIC experience is worth holding out for. Many agree, having opted to begin their degrees online while waiting to join their peers on campus. The key benefit? Flexibility. UCIC’s “Start Online, Finish on Campus” pathway offers a flexible learning model that allows online students to engage actively with on-campus students and teachers in real-time. With pre-recorded material they can access anytime and anywhere, the hybrid delivery mode keeps students connected, which is very important right now. Students are given peer-to-peer support and class times adjusted to start late afternoon in New Zealand, so that students overseas can study in their own timezone.
UCIC is just as friendly, supportive and immersive in its online classes as they are on campus. Student David Heng Yin from China confirms this: “The UCIC online campus is a very friendly and useful group. You can see classmates sharing their recipes or watch movies with your friends. We use Zoom to meet our teachers and classmates. If I have questions or there are parts I don’t understand, I can email my teachers.”
UCIC offers comprehensive programmes that lay the right foundation, serving as an exclusive pathway into the University of Canterbury – part of the top 1% of universities worldwide – or any of New Zealand’s finest. Located in the University of Canterbury’s Ilam campus, UCIC students have direct access to the university’s vast array of facilities and services. From a Recreation Centre for boxers or climbers, public spaces used for cultural events or exhibitions, to over 100 student-run clubs and organisations and plenty of eateries to enjoy – it’s an environment that will cater to every interest.
Those looking to build a life in New Zealand after graduating have a lot to look forward to. The country’s job market has been especially strong over recent years –– once again proving its unique ability to bounce back, reflecting that unemployment had hit a 10-year-low in 2018. The government anticipates the workforce will grow at least 1.8% annually –– translating into 47,000 positions that need to be filled each year. Sectors that require technical skills such as health, engineering, and IT will continue to boom alongside generalist skills in trades and business.
When the world starts to move again, find your dream start to New Zealand at UCIC – learn more about beginning your UCIC journey here.