26 November 2008

NZ using golf and horse riding to lure foreign students

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Kiwi education providers are taking new directions to lure more foreign students to their institutions, reports the NZ Herald.

Marketers are now using "optional extras" – rather than the traditional language development pathway – as the draw-card to attract more foreign nationals to move to New Zealand on a New Zealand student visa.

The biggest upsurge of foreign students in New Zealand has come from India, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, while the traditional markets of China and South Korea continue to increase year upon year.

During the months of July to November, the number of Indian students in New Zealand rose by 390 per cent, reports Education New Zealand, compared with the same period in 2006, representing an increase of 1046 students, while the number of Saudi Arabian and Vietnamese students rose by 297 per cent and 260 per cent respectively over the same period.

Education NZ spokesperson Stuart Boag said foreign students would benefit from the recent fall in the value of the New Zealand dollar, but that this has not been the attracting factor for the recent jump in foreign student arrivals.

"There would have been about a six-month lead time for these students and they would have made their decision to come here when the dollar was considerably higher," he said.  "What we are seeing is a consistent upward trend in the last three years that has little to do with the dollar, but the lower dollar certainly helps."

According to Mr Boag, education exporters are reeling in $2.3 million for the New Zealand economy, with each fee-paying student contributing around $40,000 annually, not including revenue gained from their family and friends who holiday in New Zealand for visiting purposes.

Mr Boag added, most students from places such as India are looking for the complete "New Zealand immigration package", whereby they get a complete qualification or degree plus the option to stay in the country permanently after graduating.

Ravi Naidu, an independent agent based in Mumbai, India, believes the marketing of left-field courses such as animation, hospitality and film production has successfully worked in the Indian market.

Do Hee Seo, the Auckland representative of Bona School - an agency that markets New Zealand education in South Korea – said the golfing option for Korean students was a crucial marketing tool to attract them to study in New Zealand. 

"Learning English is something Koreans can do everywhere, but many see New Zealand as the best place in the world to learn golf.  They also see New Zealand as safer and more peaceful than other Western countries."

Education NZ chief executive Robert Stevens believes the current global economic crisis would not interfere with the steady growth of educational exports in New Zealand.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.


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