The number of students from India going to New Zealand for tertiary-level education has gone up from about 150 in 1999 to 3,000 in 2003 according to the New Zealand High Commission.
It is organising education fairs in five cities this month under its annual programme to showcase opportunities for university-level education in the country.
Says Michael Swain, deputy high commissioner for New Zealand, "The number of Indian students choosing New Zealand has increased rapidly since we began these fairs four years ago. The students know what the country has to offer -- world class education in a welcoming multicultural environment at an affordable cost."
The promotional fairs, held in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai last week, will be followed by two-day fairs in Kolkata and New Delhi between 13-16 September.
"During these fairs, students will have the opportunity to meet with 21 institutions of New Zealand to learn more about the wide range of courses they offer," Swain adds.
Apart from business studies, engineering IT and computing, the country offers specialised courses in food & dairy technology, plant science and horticulture, forestry, viticulture, fine arts and sports management. There have been recent initiatives to place students by some universities conducting these courses.
Institutions like Auckland University of Technology, AIS St Helens, Eastern Institute of Technology, Pacific International Hotel Management School, Massey University, Unilec Institute of Technology, Otago Polytechnic and Victoria University of Wellington are taking part in the fairs.
The country differs from other places to study abroad in that there is no system of scholarships. However, international students can work for 15 hours every week in an academic year and on a full-time basis during semester breaks, Swain said.
Living costs in New Zealand vary between Rs 268,000 - Rs 322,000 exclusive of travel expenses and medical insurance of about 13,000 per year. Compared to the United States and the United Kingdom, these are lower in country according to the high commission.
While costs of living stand at $8,529 and $8,783 respectively in the two countries, in New Zealand one's living costs come up to $ 5,523, the high commission claims. The education system in New Zealand is based on the British model.