Ara is one of the largest institutes of technology in New Zealand with five campuses and a choice of more than 150 qualifications including degrees and graduate diplomas.
At Ara we specialise in education for employment; when you study with us you'll gain skills, knowledge and practical experience, and you'll graduate work-ready with a globally recognised qualification.
Our tutors have years of professional experience and extensive industry connections. Most of our programmes include work-integrated learning (up to 1400 hours for some qualifications) and our course completion rate is among the highest in New Zealand.
Our classes are small so you'll get to know your tutors and classmates well. Our staff are committed to your success and we offer a comprehensive range of accessible student support services.
Wherever in the world you come from, you will be welcomed into our inclusive community made up of staff and students from more than 50 countries. You'll also have many opportunities to enjoy free time in a safe, friendly region close to beautiful scenery and adventure pursuits.
Read our student stories of some of our international students talking about their experience here.
Graduate Diploma in Information and Communication Technologies
A web system developer in his home country of China, Zhiwei Deng came to CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury) to add to his skills by studying the Graduate Diploma of Information and Communication Technologies.
He chose to come here because of the institute's reputation for high quality IT industry education. "It's helped me understand the New Zealand IT industry culture, and the professional terminology," he says.
Zhiwei has had the opportunity to put his new skills into practice through industry projects, which are a key part of the programme. "I used a lot of what I learned on my course during my graduate project, including testing and Software Quality Assurance." He says the experience was a highlight of the programme.
Beyond the course itself, Zhiwei has taken advantage of the help available at the Career Centre on campus to prepare his CV and brush up on his job interview skills. His plan for now is to "keep working hard to implement my career objective".
New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4)
Manuel Bantog studied hospitality management in the Philippines before coming to Ara to study cookery. “At that time I was still figuring out what I wanted to do and achieve,” he says. “I really love food and I believe that people come together to have a great time and enjoy each other’s company over good food. For me, cooking is not only a career, it’s a ‘want’.”
Manuel started his Level 4 cookery course at the beginning of 2017. He says the best part of the programme is learning more than he expected. “My tutors are preparing me for the real world. This will boost my confidence one step higher and gives me faith that I can excel and stand out in the industry.”
The real-world training is one of the strengths of the programme according to Manuel. “It makes us more flexible and gives us an excellent knowledge to face the industry head-on. The tutors are highly experienced and very helpful. They teach us how to work things out on our own.”
In the future, Manuel wants to make a name for himself by using the knowledge and techniques he’s learned at Ara, combined with the styles he’s developed. “I will showcase my unique personality with each recipe that I prepare and cook.”
Certificate in English as an Additional Language
Teerada Puengpoom's desire to own an import/export business was the driving force behind her decision to travel from Thailand to study English at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury) in Christchurch.
"I chose to study English so I can communicate with people in business," she explains. "My friend's brother graduated from CPIT and he said there were a lot of international students here. It's also a place where you can have new experiences."
Correct English pronunciation is important for Teerada, who learnt some English at school, although not from a teacher whose first language was English. "I didn't learn much about pronunciation in my hometown, but here I have studied to speak with clear pronunciation. I've learned to understand a lot of different English accents and that's helped me to listen and speak better."
Teerada praises the support provided to students at Ara. "The teachers take care of every student and there's lots of learning equipment available."
As well as learning English, Teerada has enjoyed the social aspects of student life including clubs and making new friends. "We go to movies and eat out and I try things here that I've never done before. It makes me enjoy speaking English."
Bachelor of Applied Management (Event Management)
Putu Tasya Sanjivani Oka has a passion for events and hopes to become an event manager in New Zealand after completing her studies at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury).
Putu was not long out of senior high school in Indonesia when she came to Christchurch to study the Bachelor of Applied Management, specialising in event management.
"CPIT has a good reputation in Indonesia and the balance between theoretical and practical learning here suits me," she says. Putu also likes the class and study environment, where students are encouraged to discuss their opinions.
"The teaching style is good because we can always ask for clarifications about the materials and the tutor always makes sure that we understand the subject."
One of the attractions for Putu of studying here is the chance to get real-world business skills while studying. "The strength of the programme is the ability to do an industry internship and industry project in the last year of study. It will prepare me well for my future employment."
Bachelor of Engineering Technology
A family history in construction and an interest in maths, design and science has led former Wellington College student Kha Pham Nguyen to pursue a career in engineering. “There can’t be a better way to change the world and help others than being in the engineering industry,” he says.
Kha is part-way through a Bachelor of Engineering Technology at Ara, having chosen the institute after attending an open day at the Christchurch campus. “I looked at a range of options and chose Ara because it’s located at the heart of the Christchurch rebuild and it offers a lot of opportunities to its engineering students. I was also impressed at the open day by how supportive the tutors were, and the institute’s strong connections with industry.”
Kha is enjoying his studies, in particular acquiring a wide range of knowledge in all areas within civil engineering, and getting practical experience in real situations. “Learning from tutors who have ‘been there, done that’ is exciting,” he says. “We don’t just learn in the classroom. For example, for a site investigation paper, we performed an actual geotechnical investigation at an earthquake damaged property in Sumner in preparation for its rebuild. Being able to put my knowledge to work like that made for a very exciting learning experience.”
In addition to his studies, Kha is working two days a week as an engineering technician for international engineering consultancy, Beca. “I’m currently working in the team that’s designing major cycle ways around Christchurch for the city council. I’ve done cost estimates and just recently started on some computer designing and detailing of the routes. My day involves getting training from the company, design work and having meetings with senior engineers and clients. It has been fun, exciting and intimidating at times moving from being a student to sitting at the discussion table with senior engineers and clients.”
Kha believes his Ara training has prepared him very well for his employment at Beca. “The Bachelor of Engineering Technology has made it extremely easy for me to get started at work. The emphasis on strong communication skills and real-life scenario knowledge has translated really well into my days at work and I fit just right in to the team.”
After completing his degree, Kha hopes to transition into Beca’s graduate programme. “For the next few years I plan to build on my knowledge as an infrastructure engineering technologist. I also want to get my competency recognised through IPENZ membership and eventually become a professional engineer. Working on projects around the world with engineers from other countries would be a career highlight.”
Bachelor of Applied Management
Aaksharaa Simirun Ghoorahoo has always been good with numbers so choosing accountancy as a career wasn’t a hard decision. Choosing where to study required a bit more thought. After careful consideration, she decided on Ara Institute of Canterbury – a long way from her home in Mauritius.
“I chose Ara because of its good reputation,” she says, “and also because the Bachelor of Applied Management includes a work placement programme to prepare you for employment.”
Aaksharaa has settled in well at Ara. She’s enjoying campus life – “I’ve only been here for three months and already there have been many events and activities” – and is making the most of the services available to her as a student.
“The support provided here is very good. Student advisors can give you any help or advice you might need, the library staff are very helpful and there’s a learning service centre where you can get advice on your assignments. There are also peer assistance study groups which are great if you’re struggling with a course or you just need tips on how to study the smart way.”
Aaksharaa enjoys the teaching style at Ara and is impressed by the tutors. “They’re very professional, friendly and supportive. And they’re available anytime, even after hours, if you need help.”
Even though Aaksharaa is still in the first year of her Bachelor of Applied Management, she’s confident that the programme is preparing her well for the realities of the workplace. When she graduates, she wants to use her skills and knowledge to help companies develop and grow.
“I personally feel that an accountant can perform any job in the competitive management world, but it’s hard for other professionals to perform accounting. That’s why I chose accounting as my career.”
Graduate Diploma in Information and Communication Technologies
When Noothan Mathew was considering where to study for a post graduate qualification, New Zealand was high on her list. "New Zealand offers high quality education and affordable fees, and I thought it would be a great place to try new things, sharpen my soft skills, explore my potential and broaden my horizons," she says. "It's also one of the safest places to live, work and enjoy."
Having decided on New Zealand, Noothan's next step was to choose a tertiary institute to enrol at. She chose CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury) because of its internationally recognised qualifications and strong partnerships with leading institutions, businesses and associations. "They were significant factors in my decision."
Noothan studied the Graduate Diploma in Information and Communications Technology, a 10-month programme which included a collaborative industry project in the last semester.
"In India, the academic style is completely based on theoretical information, but here it is concentrated on practical knowledge. Through the industry project I learned to design, implement and evaluate an appropriate piece of work. It was good to develop something which is useful for someone, rather than preparing reports like an assignment."
Her advice to anyone thinking of studying at Ara? "You don't have to think twice – it's worth studying here."
Noothan's career has gotten off to a great start; she's currently working as a programme developer for Modlar in Christchurch, a city which she describes as "calm, quiet and almost like my home".