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THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN NEW ZEALAND A PAPER PRESENTED TO THE 1STUK INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE - EDINBURGH 2004 - A.M.HOLLOWAY In 2003 there were 118,000 international students in New Zealand, one of the five major host countries for international students in the English-speaking world. This represented, for a population of four million people, a higher proportion per capita than other host countries. In contrast with Australia and the UK, a lower proportion of international enrolments were in the University sector (22% - 26,000 students) although half the tuition fee income and foreign exchange earnings came from that sector. The balance of international enrolments was distributed among other tertiary providers, English language schools and the secondary school sector. The experiences of international students during their study in New Zealand could be expected to vary and be influenced by a combination of factors such as the expectations they held before commencing study, their location in a major city or a regional environment, their English language proficiency level, and their interaction with local students and the wider community. AOTEAROA Aotearoa, the “land of the long white cloud”, has captured the imagination of film makers, backpackers and tourists as well as students and migrants. Its scenery and Maori culture has been popularized in films such as the Lord of the Rings and the Whale Rider. Less well known is the fact that the commercial hub, Auckland, is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in New Zealand, attracting 60% of the country’s international students. Auckland is also described as the largest Polynesian city in the world, with nearly a quarter of the city’s population of Maori and Pacific Island origin. Education institutions reflect this diversity: European/ Pakeha students comprise 45% of the 33,000 students enrolled at The University of Auckland, compared with 30% for Asians (international students and migrants)