Cost of living

Studying in New Zealand: Is the cost of living affordable?

Updated on: Aug 11, 2023
Studying in New Zealand: Is the cost of living affordable?
Make your study-abroad dream a reality with Edvoy!
Continue with Google
Students counselled
Courses available
Looking for budget-friendly destinations?
Get expert counselling and scholarship guidance for free with Edvoy

A rich cultural heritage, breathtaking natural beauty and world-class higher education options make New Zealand one of the best places to study abroad, with international students coming from far and wide to study in the country’s eight universities every year.

Not only that, but every single one of New Zealand’s universities is included in the 2019 QS World Rankings, with the Victoria University of Wellington in the top 1% across an impressive 19 different subject areas.

But now to the practicalities - how much does it actually cost to study in New Zealand and is it an affordable place to live for international students?

Here’s the lowdown.

Studying in New Zealand: Is the cost of living affordable?

  1. Living costs checklist
  2. Student living costs in New Zealand
  3. How to fund your studies in New Zealand
  4. Most affordable universities in New Zealand

1. Living costs checklist

The cost of living is the amount of money needed to cover your day-to-day basic expenses - New Zealand’s average living cost is £670.05 for a single person, which is 7.61% higher than in the UK.

However, exactly how much money you’ll need to study abroad in New Zealand will depend on your lifestyle and preferred accommodation.

For example, if you’re hoping to live on campus in an en-suite room, going out every night of the week, you’ll need to account for having higher living costs.

But whatever your lifestyle, here are the basic things you need to consider when working out whether or not you can afford New Zealand living expenses:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Taxes
  • Healthcare

2. Student living costs in New Zealand 

It’s all fair and well talking about the average cost of living in New Zealand, but what about the specific expenses that come with being an international student?

First things first, let’s talk about tuition fees. As is the case in any country, fees will differ depending on the subject and the level of study (BA/MA etc) and international students are expected to pay more than domestic students.

Despite this, the average tuition fee is lower than that of the UK, with students studying abroad in New Zealand paying between £10,000 and £16,000 per year, excluding the administration and student services fees required by some universities.

Next up is accommodation. You could opt to live in a shared flat or private rental, but considering most universities offer very affordable halls of residence accommodation for an average of £104 per week, it makes sense to stay on campus in the first instance, as you’ll also save on travel costs.

Other expenses you’ll have to consider include:

  • Weekly food shop
  • Phone bill
  • Utilities
  • Academic supplies
  • Transport
  • Gym membership 
  • Leisure costs

Remember, in order to study abroad in New Zealand, you’ll need to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the first year. This means you’ll need at least NZ$15,000 (approximately £7,529) before you can even start thinking about comparing gym memberships.

3. How to fund your studies in New Zealand

One of the most common concerns when it comes to talking about the cost of living in New Zealand for international students is how to go about funding your studies.

Luckily, there are lots of different scholarship options available to help you fund your studies abroad so be sure to check your university’s website to see if you’re eligible to apply for any. 

Even if you can’t see anything advertised online, it’s always worth emailing or calling the university to see if there’s anything they can do. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Another big advantage of studying in New Zealand is that — unlike in many other countries — international students are allowed to take up part-time work while on a student visa, meaning you’ll have the option to earn some extra spending money if need be.

What’s more, international students who choose to study in New Zealand can stay and work any job in the country for up to a full year after graduating, or up to two years if your job is directly related to your degree, so it makes sense to get on the job ladder early.

4. Most affordable universities in New Zealand

Student living costs in New Zealand will vary depending on which city you choose - if it’s value for money you’re after, we’ve got you covered.

The University of Waikato in Hamilton and the University of Canterbury in Christchurch are two of the most affordable universities for international students, offering cheaper average tuition fees and accommodation options.

More generally speaking, Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton are the best cities for affordable living costs, while the bigger centres of Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown will all require a bigger budget.

Interested in studying abroad in New Zealand and want to find out more about your options? Let us help you find your perfect course and university today!

Related tags:
study in new zealand
cost of living
study abroad
international students
studying in new zealand
Share this article:
author avatar
Written By

Guest Author | Study Abroad Expert

Meet Talya, a part-time journalism master's student hailing from North Yorkshire. With a knack for assisting students in...Read More

Disclaimer: The views and opinions shared in this site solely belong to the individual authors and do not necessarily represent t