8 in 10 international students positively rate their New Zealand experience

Public support for international students in New Zealand is on the upswing as learners express positive experiences, according to the International Student Experience Survey 2023 (ISES) conducted by the Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao, the government agency dedicated to helping Aotearoa New Zealand realise the social, cultural and economic benefits of international education.   


The recent survey reveals a positive trend, with 84% of over 4,700 international students expressing satisfaction with their overall experience — despite the fact that housing remains a challenge for supporting international students based on a separate survey of 1,100 New Zealanders. Fortunately, the government has initiatives to address infrastructure challenges that are underway.  

International students praise New Zealand experience with high marks   

The 2023 International Student Experience survey provides a deep dive into the sentiments of international students studying in New Zealand. An overwhelming 84% of respondents from over 70 countries gave their overall experience a positive rating. They expressed favourable personal and life skills developments, such as growing confidence and readiness for global citizenship. Students exhibited the highest satisfaction with the individuals they encountered and the connections they formed. 


Notably, 83% expressed a readiness to recommend New Zealand as a study destination, emphasising the country’s allure for students seeking high-quality education linked with unique personal development opportunities.  


Other than its positive feedback, the survey also acknowledges challenges, including concerns about the country’s housing, transport and medical services. Geoff Bilbrough, General Manager for Marketing and Communications at Education New Zealand (ENZ), emphasised the positive impact of students sharing their experiences, fostering resilience for New Zealand’s international education. 

Growing local support despite housing concerns  

Contrasting with the student perspective, a survey gauges the sentiment of New Zealanders toward international students. The findings indicate a noteworthy shift, with 77% of Kiwis recognising the economic benefits of international education, a significant increase from 47% in 2016.  This growing local endorsement becomes a cornerstone of New Zealand’s commitment to fostering a welcoming environment. Bilbrough remains optimistic about the future, highlighting the overall positive trend in awareness of the benefits international students bring to New Zealand. 


This surge in local support, however, coexists with enduring apprehensions about housing shortages. While the majority acknowledges the positive contributions of international students, only 32% believe that New Zealand’s infrastructure is adequately equipped to accommodate this influx. The intricate balance between increasing local endorsement and persisting housing concerns emerges as a defining aspect of New Zealand’s international education landscape. 

By recognising the positive contributions of international students and proactively addressing housing concerns, New Zealand aims to fortify its reputation as a global education hub. The government’s commitment to enhancing the overall educational experience, coupled with initiatives, exemplifies a holistic approach. 

Challenges and opportunities 

The comparison of positive reviews from international students and lingering housing challenges forms the essence of New Zealand’s current international education narrative. While the survey reflects local perspective and underscores the challenges posed by housing shortages, it also depicts the academic excellence and personal development for international students. As New Zealand seeks to sustain its appeal as an international education hub, addressing these concerns becomes pivotal. Striking a balance between the positive experiences of international students and the practical challenges faced by both the students and the local community will determine the resilience and future trajectory of New Zealand’s international education sector. 


To learn more about the exciting study opportunities available for international students in New Zealand, please visit our platform or contact our Business Development Managers for more information.  

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