Academic skills: Learning English in New Zealand

Paul Johnson

January 6, 2020

     Would you like to study English in New Zealand? Alternatively, are you a parent considering a New Zealand-based education for your child?

You could do much worse than choose New Zealand – an archipelago of large and small islands in the South Pacific Ocean with amazing scenery including snowy moun- tains, lakes, forests, natural harbours and geothermal landscapes. Did you know that over 33 percent of New Zealand’s islands and waters is protected as national parks, state forests and wildlife reserves [2]?

New Zealand is an independent member nation of the British Commonwealth and home to approximately 4.8 million people. There are two official languages: English and Maori, the former closely conforming in grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary to British English.

New Zealand welcomes foreign students from those in early childhood through to adults. Indeed, during 2017, some 125,392 international students chose to study in New Zealand [3]. The official website is the best portal for preparing to study in New Zealand. According to this website, the educational institutions that accept full-fee paying international students are:

  • 92 primary schools (for pupils aged from 5 to 10)
  • 128 intermediate schools (for pupils aged from 11 to 12)
  • 260 secondary schools (for students aged from 13 to 18)
  • 14 technical institutes and polytechnics
  • 8 universities
  • 31 English language schools (for students of all ages)

These institutions are located throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand giving students the opportunity to choose a region that interests them. Additionally, for early childhood, there are over 4000 licensed education services available, including kindergartens, childcare centres, play centres, home-based care and playgroups.

There are two main pathways to learning English in New Zealand. The most com- mon approach is to study at an English language school just as 24,132 international students did during 2017 [3]. These institutions are popular because they can coach stu- dents preparing to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. Tertiary educational institutes in New Zealand, especially universities, set the minimum IELTS band scores that prospective students must achieve to be eligible for acceptance into their intended course of study. Remember though, you can also prepare for IELTS here at the Thai New Zealand Centre and take the examination at a recognised Thai test provider before you travel to New Zealand. As a general rule, for enrolment purposes, IELTS band scores have a validity period of two years [1].

However, there is a second way for teenagers or younger students to avoid the IELTS test altogether. They can do this by attending secondary school, or earlier, in New Zealand and studying towards the National Certicate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in the required school subjects including English. Children of parents who choose this option can join the 20,952 international students who studied at New Zealand schools during 2017 [3]. Again, here at the Thai New Zealand Centre, our native speaking En- glish language instructors from New Zealand can help your child prepare for learning English as it is taught in New Zealand schools by following the curriculum requirements that apply at the correct year level in the New Zealand education system leading up to NCEA. As a Thai parent, you will be pleasantly surprised when you compare the typical fees and other costs of a superior New Zealand-based education against the semester fees of local international schools [5].

By now, you’ll see that New Zealand can be a scenic and yet aordable destination for learning English and other subjects. It is relatively safe, too. Unlike Australia, the United Kingdom or the United States, which all oer alternative English language learning opportunities, foreign visitors and students do not need insurance cover for accidents while they stay in New Zealand. Furthermore, New Zealanders are generally honest and straightforward people to deal with and that explains why their country is ranked as the least corrupt nation in the world [4]. All things considered, you should seriously think about learning English in New Zealand either for yourself or your family. Visit us at the Thai New Zealand Centre and we’ll show you how!

Key words

  • New Zealand education
  • full-fee paying international students
  • English language schools
  • IELTS test
  • NCEA (New Zealand’s school leaving qualication)


[1] British Council. IELTS Frequently asked questions. web site, 2019. retrieved from <>.

[2] Te Ara the Encyclopedia of New Zealand L. Molloy. Protected areas. web site, 2015. retrieved from <>.

[3] Education New Zealand. Education New Zealand Media Centre. web site, 2019.

[4] K. Schwab. The Global Competitiveness Report. Technical report, World Eco- nomic Forum, 2018. retrieved from < competitveness-report-2018>.

[5] Education New Zealand. Costs of living in New Zealand: Fees. web site, 2019. retrieved from <>.

Leave a Reply

thThai en_USEnglish