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Australia VS New Zealand: Where Should You Study?

You’re keen to study abroad and you’ve done some initial research, narrowed down your courses and now it’s come down to two countries: Australia and New Zealand.

Which should you choose? Is one better than the other?

While you are hardly going to experience a snowy Christmas in either of these Oceanian countries, there’s plenty to look forward to.

Adventure sports such as Sky Diving and cliff-hopping, fantastic natural sights such as canyons and lakes, a slew of exciting activities await - on top of world class institutions that’ll help you fulfil your career dreams and goals.

In fact, there are a variety of factors you can consider - from university prestige to the most ideal course, as well as the cultural differences that you might have to deal with.

With that, we’ve put together a comparison of the two countries and what you can expect.

#1: Quality of Higher Education


Let’s start with (arguably) one of the most important criteria - the quality of higher education. That’s what you are going abroad for after all!


Australia has 34 universities that feature on the QS Rankings and 15 within the top 250 colleges.

And you must have heard of the prestigious, research-intensive Group of Eight Universities, which produce more than half of Australia’s research output!

The top 3 universities in Down Under are Australia National University (ranked 24th in the world), the University of Melbourne (39th) and the University of Sydney (42nd).

And if you have a passion for a particular subject, you may be looking for a university that offers an excellent program in that specific niche. From Accounting to Ancient History, Australia's renowned universities do provide a wide range of courses that appeal to all students.

New Zealand

New Zealand only has eight universities, but all of them feature on the QS Rankings. The universities often have small class sizes, so you’ll get more attention from your professors.

New Zealand’s top 3 universities are the University of Auckland (85th in the world), the University of Otago (175th), and Victoria University of Wellington (221st).

And if you prefer having more practical experience, there are also several technological institutions and polytechnics you can study at.

#2: Cost of Education


Studying abroad is a fantastic experience, but course fees and living costs are a factor you should take into account. There isn't a big difference between the cost of New Zealand study abroad and Australia.


Undergraduate programs in Australia cost about US$22,170 a year, while Master’s programmes and PhD programmes can cost up to US$26,600 each. Course fees differ depending on whether you are doing an Arts or Science Degree, and prestigious universities such as ANU are likely to charge more.

Based on the visa requirements, living expenses are likely to cost around US$14,600 yearly.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, like in most countries, the costs of undergraduate programs differ. While an undergraduate programme will cost you anywhere between US$15,000 and US$21,000 a year, you can pay up to US$25,000 for postgraduate programs.

For a year of living expenses, including rent, you’ll need about $15,000.

Clinical programmes are also likely to cost more in both countries.

#3: Travel Opportunities and Cultural Immersion



It’s hard to feel bored in Australia. While each city has its own unique set of offerings, Australia charms with an array of scenic sights and sounds, delicious food options as well as myriad other adventures.

When winter comes, you can even hit the ski slopes in Mount Buller and Falls Creek for all your favourite winter sports. In summer, Australia possesses some of the best beaches in the world for you to soak in the sun and sea.

Apart from revelling in the bustling cityscapes of Melbourne and Sydney, you can also look forward to events such as the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Sydney Mardi Gras.

New Zealand

Living in New Zealand is like living your own Middle-Earth adventure, even if you aren’t a Tolkien fan. And we don’t mean visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set!

Nature is everywhere in New Zealand. It’s hard to miss the mountain ranges that stretch on as far as you can see.

Loving that spike of adrenaline you get from adventure sports? New Zealand isn’t called the adventure capital of the world for nothing. From whitewater rafting in the rapids to skydiving, there are myriad ways to get your heart pumping.

If you prefer doing activities that are more chill, check out the Moeraki Boulders or go cruising in Milford Sound. There are also excellent hiking trails such as that at Rangitoto Summit - a mere 25-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland!

Seize The Opportunity to Study Abroad

While both Australia and New Zealand possess excellent universities and are attractive options for international students, the vast amount of information online and finding the perfect fit is going to be difficult.

Why not make your journey studying abroad easier by speaking to an educational counsellor at IDP?

Keen to kick-start your own overseas adventure? Swing by our upcoming Study Abroad Education Fair – the biggest of its kind in town! Happening 7 & 8 March, Suntec Convention Centre, Level 3, Summit 1. Doors open from 12pm to 6pm.

Register Now

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