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Student Stories

Ara is one of the largest institutes of technology in New Zealand with six 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.

Student testimonials

Read our student stories of some of our international students talking about their experience here.

Brazil

As an experienced IT professional, Fabio Fernandes Ertner had no shortage of job offers in his native Brazil. However, he knew that to work for global companies, he needed to be fluent in English.

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Fabio Fernandes Ertner
Certificate in English as an Additional Language

Valquiria Akemi Kawaguchi was working as a project manager for the largest telecommunications company in Brazil when she identified a gap in her knowledge that she needed to address.

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Valquiria Akemi Kawaguchi
Graduate Diploma in Business Information Systems

Two months after getting married, Raquel Magliari and her husband moved here from Brazil because they were looking for a new life experience.

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Raquel Magliari
Graduate Diploma in Sales and Marketing

Chile

Dannae Garrido’s desire to improve her knowledge of English to study other subjects led her all the way from Chile to New Zealand - specifically to Ara Institute of Canterbury’s Timaru campus.

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Dannae Garrido
New Zealand Certificate in English Language (Academic) (Level 4)

China

New Zealand’s beauty, pace of life, weather and its ‘very kind and enthusiastic people’ attracted Yuhan Zong from China to study here.

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Yuhan Zong
Bachelor of Construction (Quantity Surveying) 

Rong Wang decided to study nursing at Ara for two reasons.

“Ara has a very high employment rate for its nursing graduates,” she says. “Also, Ara focuses not just on theory, but also on practical skills.”

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Rong Wang
Bachelor of Nursing

Jonathan Ng loves New Zealand. “I love the environment, the culture and the people,” he says. “Kiwis are so kind and always happy to help.”

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Jonathan Ng
New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Quantity Surveying)

From high school in Nanjing to studying English and engineering at Ara Institute of Canterbury to an engineering career in New Zealand, Simon Yiheng Lu has come a long way. His advice for aspiring young engineers is to follow his lead.

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Simon Yiheng Lu
Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil)

 

Weiwo Xie from China chose to study civil engineering in Christchurch because "it's a peaceful place to study" and he liked the practical emphasis of the Bachelor of Engineering Technology at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury).

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Weiwo Xie
Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil)

“For me, studying overseas is not only a great opportunity to improve my knowledge-base and skill sets within my profession but also to broaden my social network – so I thought, why not New Zealand?”

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Joanne Lee
Graduate Diploma in Sales and Marketing

Ara Institute of Canterbury’s reputation as arguably the best place to study nursing in New Zealand attracts many international students. One of them is Jordan Zheng who’s now in the third year of a Bachelor of Nursing degree.

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Jordan Zheng
Bachelor of Nursing

As a child growing up in China, Xingyu (Dave) Chen was always interested in outdoor activities like skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing and mountaineering. After attending high school as an international student at Auckland Grammar, those interests led him to study the Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education at Ara Institute of Canterbury.

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Xingyu (David) Chen
Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education

While on a working holiday in New Zealand, Jonathan Tang decided that the demand for CAD specialists was too good an opportunity to miss out on. He already had a degree, so he enrolled for a Graduate Diploma in Computer Aided Design at Ara.

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Jonathan Tang
Graduate Diploma in Computer Aided Design

Samantha Tian from Yongii City got her first taste of the New Zealand lifestyle during a working holiday in 2012. She liked it so much that when she decided to return to study, she chose to do so as an international student at Ara Institute of Canterbury.

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Samantha Tian
Graduate Diploma in Information and Communication Technologies

Chinese national Yuanlong Feng came to Christchurch because of the construction opportunities presented by the city’s rebuild following a major earthquake in 2011.

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Yuanlong Feng
National Diploma in Quantity Surveying

A web system developer in his home country of China, Zhiwei Deng came to Ara to add to his skills.

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Zhiwei Deng
Graduate Diploma of Information and Communication Technologies

Aaron Wu was working in telecommunications in China when he decided to expand his knowledge into ICT, in order to broaden his career opportunities.

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Aaron Wu
Graduate Diploma of Information and Communication Technologies

“I was eager to go abroad to study and New Zealand is regarded as one of the safest countries in the world,” Jei says. “More importantly, nursing education there is advanced."

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Jie Huang
Graduate Diploma in Nursing

Denmark

When Stephan Kolsbjerg Ragunathan’s university in Denmark formed a partnership with Ara Institute of Canterbury, he seized the opportunity to apply for a study exchange.

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Stephan Kolsbjerg Ragunathan
Applied management

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic exchange student Leonilda Navarro Castillo is studying her second language, English, at Ara.

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Leonilda Navarro Castillo
Certificate in English as an Additional Language

Germany

Like many international exchange students, Elisa Schmidt from Germany discovered that the learning style at Ara is quite different to what she was accustomed to.

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Elisa Schmidt
Bachelor of Applied Management

Moving halfway across the world to study in a city recovering from a devastating earthquake didn't faze German exchange student Michelle Reuters.

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Michelle Reuters
Bachelor of Applied Management

Vandana Elango from Germany counts herself among the many thousands of young Europeans for whom New Zealand is a must-visit travel destination.

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Vandana Elango
Bachelor of Applied Management

Paul Wieland was not long out of high school in Germany when he came to Ara to study during his gap year. Hailing from Flensburg near Germany’s border with Denmark, Paul studied Diploma in Business and Diploma in Marketing courses at Ara.

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Paul Wieland
Diploma in Business and Diploma in Marketing

India 

Harshvardhan Jamba was attracted to study in Christchurch because he could see the opportunities it held.

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Harshvardhan Jamba
New Zealand Diploma in Engineering

Monika Joshi’s interest in science has led her from a research analyst position in India to a new life in New Zealand and a job at crown research institute, Plant and Food Research.

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Monika Joshi
Graduate Diploma in Laboratory Technology

When Noothan Mathew was considering where to study for a post graduate qualification, New Zealand was high on her list.

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Noothan Mathew
Graduate Diploma in Information and Communications Technology

“Compared to other countries, especially Canada and the US, New Zealand is very cost effective,” she says. “New Zealand also appealed because I’d heard that the people are friendly and welcoming and it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

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Joanna Johnny
Diploma in Cookery

Indonesia 

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.

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Putu Tasya Sanjivani Oka
Bachelor of Applied Management (Event Management)

Japan 

Tomoki Kishi's goal is to be an English teacher, so when his academic advisors at Kyorin University in Tokyo suggested doing some study in New Zealand, he jumped at the chance to learn English in an English-speaking country.

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Tomoki Kishi
New Zealand Certificate of English Language 

Tsumuki Tanaguchi's ambition is to become a professional photographer. To make his dream a reality, he chose to study at Ara.

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Tsumuki Tanaguchi
Diploma in Professional Photography

Korea

On a visit to New Zealand, Kwanwoo Kong fell in love with Christchurch and decided he wanted to make it his home.

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Kwanwoo Kong
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science

Mauritius

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.

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Aaksharaa Simirun Ghoorahoo
Bachelor of Applied Management

Nepal 

When Nisha Dhungel from Nepal was considering studying overseas, New Zealand was at the top of her list. “It has an amazing education system, the people are friendly and welcoming, it’s safe and secure and it has breathtakingly beautiful scenery,” she says.

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Nisha Dhungel
Graduate Diploma in Laboratory Technology

Growing up in Nepal, Dinesh Budhathoki was fascinated by innovation and invention. His childhood fascination grew into a passion which has taken him across the world to study engineering at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury).

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Dinesh Budhathoki
New Zealand Diploma in Engineering

Netherlands 

When the opportunity of an international exchange arose, Michiel de Snaijer from Zuyd University in the Netherlands decided he wanted to go "as far as possible".

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Michiel de Snaijer
Bachelor of Applied Management

Dutch national Sem Eijwoudt was two years into a degree in physical education at Fontys Sporthogeschool Eindhoven when the opportunity arose to study overseas.

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Sem Eijwoudt
Bachelor of Sustainability & Outdoor Education

Philippines 

Keen to advance her career by increasing her skills, she looked into postgraduate study options but couldn’t find anything suitable.

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Glorimae Lerios
Graduate Diploma in Laboratory Technology

After quitting his job and reassessing his life and goals, Medel Enriquez has gotten back on his feet and is now thriving.

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Medel Enriquez
Graduate Diploma in Computer Aided Design

Manuel Bantog studied hospitality management in the Philippines before coming to Ara to study cookery.

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Manuel Bantog
New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4)

Irene Celino worked as a doctor in the Philippines before coming to New Zealand. Ara’s postgraduate nursing programmes are enabling her to become familiar with this country’s healthcare system, which she says is quite different to the Philippines.

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Irene Celino
Postgraduate Nursing

Russia 

When Irina Zinoveva decided to add to her education with another science qualification, she had three strong options to choose from at three different tertiary institutes in Christchurch. She chose the Graduate Diploma in Laboratory Science at Ara because of one important factor: it included a 260-hour work placement.

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Irina Zinoveva
Graduate Diploma in Laboratory Science

Sri Lanka

It's not surprising that Don Irma Pulukkuttiarachchi is pursuing a career in event management: she loves being in nail biting, exciting situations.

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Don Irma Pulukkuttiarachchi
Bachelor of Applied Management

Thailand 

Originally from Thailand, Pornpitcha Worathongchai attended Riccarton High School before enrolling at Ara to study the Bachelor of Information and Communications Technology.

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Pornpitcha Worathongchai
Bachelor of Information and Communications Technology

United States of America

Hannah Michels had always wanted to come to New Zealand. As luck would have it, one of the only tertiary institutes in the world to have a similar sports science programme to the one she was studying at Appalachian State University in North Carolina was in New Zealand.

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Hannah Michels
Bachelor of Applied Science

Vietnam

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 at Ara.

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Kha Pham Nguyen
Bachelor of Engineering Technology