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Universities Fare Well In Int'l Student Survey

15 June 2004

Universities Fare Well In International Student Survey

International students attending New Zealand universities responded much more positively to a recent survey than their counterparts attending schools and private language schools.

The survey was prepared for the Ministry of Education and conducted by Professor Colleeen Ward and Dr Anne-Marie Masgoret of the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research and School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington.

Of 2736 students surveyed, 20 per cent were from the tertiary education sector where universities account for more than two thirds of international student enrolments. Survey data was weighted by provider type to overcome the fact that international students at tertiary level and private language schools were under-represented in the survey population.

In the survey section on educational experiences and academic progress, tertiary students reported better progress and gave more favourable evaluations than secondary and private language students. As far as cultural inclusion was concerned, tertiary and private language students felt more positively about this factor than secondary students.

Questioned about services and facilities, tertiary students were particularly favourable in their comments, rating their institution’s facilities as good or excellent. In terms of “life satisfaction”, students in language schools were less satisfied than those in secondary schools and tertiary institutions.

A further positive outcome for universities from the survey was the fact that the majority of international students from China planned to remain in New Zealand, rather than their home country, for further education at tertiary level. Of the significant proportion of international students who anticipated continuing studies here, most were aiming for tertiary qualifications.

The report on the results of the national survey –The Experiences of International Students in New Zealand – contains the following statements: “Despite negative experiences, there are indications that Chinese students are more likely to remain in New Zealand. They more frequently plan to continue further studies in New Zealand than at home when compared to other Asian students….the trends converge to suggest international students who choose to remain in New Zealand for further studies are largely heading towards study in tertiary institutions.”

Survey students from Asian countries appeared relatively more concerned with education per se, obtaining good value for money and a high-quality education.

The report authors also touch on the general experience of international students in this country as follows: “Although the rapid rise in the number of international students over recent years has been associated with negative media coverage targeted at their problems and difficulties, this survey suggests that the majority of international students in New Zealand are relatively well adapted and generally satisfied with their experiences here.”


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