The information needs of international students in NZ tertiary institutions

Contact: Alicia Bethel and Colleen Ward


Attracting and retaining international students is one of the New Zealand Government’s key priorities. One of Immigration New Zealand’s information products is NZReady, an online planning tool, and Immigration New Zealand is currently tailoring it to cater for international students. The aim of the tool is to provide information and links that migrants need when planning their trip to New Zealand, and it is currently designed for migrants who are coming to New Zealand to work. This is not necessarily useful or appropriate for international students.

This research was designed to assist with the development of new NZ Ready content specifically targeted at international students, by surveying international tertiary students about their informational needs.

A total of 23,205 tertiary students were invited to complete an online survey, and 2,370 of these returned usable responses.


Results indicate that overall, the areas of information identified by Immigration New Zealand were moderately to very useful to students who are deciding to study in New Zealand. In addition, most students reported only slight difficulty in finding necessary information prior to their arrival in New Zealand. However, some student groups that the government has identified as priority, particularly Bachelor’s and Ph.D. degree students, reported more difficulty in finding information before travelling to New Zealand.

There were variations in student’s responses about the accessibility and perceived usefulness of information across the different students’ regions of origin and qualification sought. With the exception of students from India, international students from Asia had more difficulty accessing information than students from other regions. Students enrolled in Bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees found information more difficult to access than those enrolled for certificates or diplomas, and those with lower levels of English proficiency were more likely to report experiencing difficulties in accessing information. Given these variations in the accessibility of information, it could be of benefit to provide the information rated as useful in a single, easy to access place.

Although New Zealand is largely meeting the informational needs of international tertiary students, it is suggested that extra effort be made to address the difficulties of students enrolled in Ph.D. and Bachelor’s degrees and students from Asia.

You can read the full report here.