Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Zealand Bids for Abroad Students

Spurred by a plunging Kiwi dollar, education officials in New Zealand are actively marketing their country as a study-abroad destination for students who are worried about costs.

A story in today’s Dominion Post newspaper in Wellington, the New Zealand capital, says the campaign is paying off — the country has seen a 15 percent increase in foreign-student enrollment in just nine months.

Government officials actively pursued a devaluation of the nation’s currency partly to improve New Zealand’s attractiveness as a destination for international students. Chinese students had flocked to New Zealand until 2003, when they largely disappeared from Kiwi campuses.

Officials say that there’s now greater diversity among international students in New Zealand, including a growing number of Americans who have been finding European and Australian short- and long-term programs to be too pricey. Saudi Arabians, French and Germans also are traveling to New Zealand in greater numbers.

The Kiwi dollar is worth 55 cents American today, down nearly 30 percent from just a few months ago. Another newspaper, The Manawatu Standard, reports that the currency is so low that some international students are actually asking to pay tuition two years at a time.

Educational exports are big business in New Zealand, as is the case in Australia. The industry is New Zealand’s fifth-biggest export and generating $2.3 billion NZ ($1.3 billion US) per year. Officials hope to grow the sector to $3 billion NZ over the next five years.

The embedded video here is from thaber1 at YouTube, who spent a term studying in New Zealand in 2008.


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