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Thread: Applying for a scholarship and (maybe) moving to NZ

  1. #1
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    Question Applying for a scholarship and (maybe) moving to NZ

    Hello everyone,

    I am seriously considering applying for a PhD scholarship in NZ. I saw the stipend would be NZ$21,000 a year. I have never been to NZ and I would really like to know if that's enough to cover the full cost of living in NZ (accomodation, food, transportation, health, etc.). I have already lived in a very tight budget and I don't expect this salary to be huge but at least enough to live decently and avoid having to look for another job to cover my expenses. Can anyone give me some more information about this or some advice?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I tried to edit the original post to give some more details but I can't find the option, sorry.

    I think I would be living near Wellington, as this is where the university is, but I don't mind commuting (30-40 mins max). I would be alone, so I wouldn't mind renting a room in a shared flat or renting a studio apartment or something like that. I don't smoke/drink/eat out much and don't own any pets but I am vegan and love outdoors, hiking, swimming and things like that.

    What do you think? Is is possible to have a good living with just 21000 a year?

  3. #3
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    this thread on the same topic might help: "Wellington with 22k/year" http://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=50435

  4. #4
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    I am sorry, I hadn't seen it.

  5. #5
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    Hi Xay;

    Just as a word of warning, a $21k/year scholarship is NOT sufficient for NZ Immigration to award you a student visa. My first application for a student visa was denied (in jan 2016) because they said the $21k/year scholarship was not enough for "accomodation and maitenence". I had to supply additional proof of income.

    But condition of the student visa means you are able to work anywhere, which is good. Pretty much EVERY other phd student here also works (I have a part time job as well), either teaching/proctoring/RA or other jobs through the school, or in their skill (music teacher, english teacher, etc).

    21k/year is not enough to live alone. It is sufficient to live in a shared flat is you are frugal with food/phone, and bike instead of drive, etc. Getting a part time job on top of that means you can maybe own a car too or go away for a weekend sometimes, or save a litt.

    I hope that helps!
    Last edited by Jacq; 23rd November 2016 at 02:19 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacq View Post
    Hi Xay;

    Just as a word of warning, a $21k/year scholarship is NOT sufficient for NZ Immigration to award you a student visa. My first application for a student visa was denied (in jan 2016) because they said the $21k/year scholarship was not enough for "accomodation and maitenence". I had to supply additional proof of income.

    But condition of the student visa means you are able to work anywhere, which is good. Pretty much EVERY other phd student here also works (I have a part time job as well), either teaching/proctoring/RA or other jobs through the school, or in their skill (music teacher, english teacher, etc).

    21k/year is not enough to live alone. It is sufficient to live in a shared flat is you are frugal with food/phone, and bike instead of drive, etc. Getting a part time job on top of that means you can maybe own a car too or go away for a weekend sometimes, or save a litt.

    I hope that helps!
    Thank you very much Jacq, that is very useful! May I ask what kind of proof of income will they ask for?

  7. #7
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    In my follow-up, I provided the following as Proof of Income:

    - A bank statement showing ~$3000 Canadian in a bank account and a credit card with a $5k limit. This was in the initial application too, but I explained it in case they confused the credit card as showing $5 of debt.
    - A breakdown of the yearly scholarship minus expenses (Student levy, health insurance, etc), and a contract from out current house showing the scholarship was sufficient to cover accomodation.
    - An email from the university outlining the kinds of work and wages available to PhD students.
    - My partner's employment contract and a letter saying he is willing to support me. (He also supplied the necessary forms for official "sponsorship" but they did not use them).
    - A letter written by me explaining my circumstances and how I intend to support myself.

    Unfortunately, INZ doesn't tell you anything if they don't feel like it. I have no idea which of the thing(s) I included in the follow-up were deemed sufficient proof. As it is they only granted me a student visa from Feb 2016 to March 2017 (my program is 3 years), and then I am supposed to pay the fee to apply to another student visa.

    We decided instead to try for a partnership residency visa, since the fees are too expensive to have to pay for multiple years (in addition to the immegrant fees like health insurance, etc).

  8. #8
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    I'm an academic at a NZ university. You can work up to either 15 or 20 hours per week in addition to your studies if you have a full PhD stipend. Usually your fees are waived as well. If you can find additional work as a GTA (graduate teaching assistant) or RA (research assistant) at the university your equivalent hourly rate will usually be better than working off-campus in a service industry role. You need to take into account that jobs like GTAs and RAs are sometimes only 10 months of the year. You can continue a PhD if you work more than 20 hours a week--but the university has the right to cancel your stipend. At my university it's viewed as "on average per week" since often such roles are timetabled for 5-8 hours a week, with extra hours at peak times (grading and demoing for GTAs; running experiments or collecting data for RAs). Most importantly, you have to progress with your own research and finish in less than 4 years.

    Anything the university promises you should be given in writing. As in a letter formally offering you admittance to the programme and any stipend awarded. Sometimes international PhD students are "promised" things that are not, in fact, guaranteed.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Wow, thank you so much Jacq and jawnbc, this is really helpful! I still don't know whether I will move there for my PhD, as I have a few other options, but this is definitely very useful.

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