New Zealand, its hospitality and seafood have been given a big tick by Indian scholar Shashank Ghai, who is here for a year of study.
Shashank is enrolled in a Master of Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato. He is one of 10 people from India awarded New Zealand India Sports Scholarships by Education New Zealand.
"I was overwhelmed and happy when I found I'd been awarded the scholarship," says Shashank. "New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world and the people are warm-hearted and friendly. They are always ready to help and talk to me, and have made me feel at home."
The 23-year-old has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. He has research experience in the field of sports and rehabilitation, which is evident from a number of research publications to his credit. This is his first visit to New Zealand.
Health-conscious and sporty New Zealanders
Shashank says another thing he's noticed, is that New Zealanders are very energetic, health-conscious and sporty.
After completing his degree, Shashank aims to pursue a career in sports research using various techniques to enhance sports performance and limit sports injury rates, working in labs with athletes.
Shashank and the other NZISS scholars met Prime Minister John Key, Minister for Racing and Primary Industries Nathan Guy, Auckland Mayor Len Brown and AUT Millennium Operations Manager Chris Olney on a visit to Auckland in March.
Deepening New Zealand's education relationship with India
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce says the scholarship programme is one of several activities underway to deepen New Zealand's education relationship with India following several ministerial visits over the last few years.
The New Zealand India Sports Scholarships are open to Indian citizens enrolling to study bachelor or postgraduate qualifications in New Zealand beginning in 2015. The scholarship provides tuition fees for the first year of full-time study and also support for living costs.