Ambitious young Kiwis head to Latin America with Prime Minister’s Scholarships

31 July 2018

Young New Zealanders from across the country are about to experience life and learning in Latin America, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

The latest 63 recipients of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America (PMSLA) include 22 individuals and four groups covering a further 41 students, making 63 students in total. They will travel to destinations including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico to study, conduct research or carry out an internship.

“These Scholarships enable talented and ambitious Kiwi students to study or intern, and to live and travel in Latin America at an important time in their lives,” Chris Hipkins said.

"For each of the individuals involved, winning one of these scholarships is a life-changing event. It offers the chance of a big adventure that’s personally challenging and enriching,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Recipients make lifelong connections with other people and cultures and gain insights into what is possible in their field and how they might contribute. This is of great benefit to New Zealand and our place in the world.”

A total of $533,190 was awarded this round for 2017/18 covering both individual and group awardees. Individual awardees, who are at tertiary level or have recently graduated, will carry out programmes that span four weeks to two years.

The individual PMSLA awards include:


  • A one-semester (18 weeks) exchange to the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) with a focus on international law, economics and trade.
  • A 26-week internship in Chile with Ingenieros Sin Fronteras (Engineers Without Borders) with a focus on water engineering and flood risk analysis.
  • A 20-week environmental science internship through The Intern Group in Medellín, focused on the rapidly expanding agricultural sector in northern and central Colombia and how its development is affecting indigenous Colombian communities.


Group PMSLA awardees include:


  • 3 Otago Polytechnic students who will work with staff from La Plata University to provide a rugby-based strength and conditioning programme for six weeks to La Plata Rugby Club in Argentina.
  • 16 Lincoln University students to attend an agribusiness summer school for five weeks across three campuses (University of Sao Paulo, Federal University of Vicosa and Federal University of Santa Catalina), involving field trips, social activities and lectures on culture, economy and institutional systems as well as specific agri-food systems found in Brazil.
  • 11 University of Auckland doctoral and undergraduate student interns to Colombia for 12 weeks who will each undertake a personalised placement in addition to group activities, networking events and workshops as well as a full calendar of social and cultural events.

“We continue to see a high number of internship applications, not just exchange or language programmes, which shows a desire for Kiwi students to find opportunities to become 'work ready'. This is a pleasing development,” Chris Hipkins said.

The Prime Minister’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America programme is funded by the New Zealand Government and administered by Education New Zealand (ENZ).

To date, there have been 1,606 awardees. The scholarships cover study and internship costs and makes a significant contribution to travel and accommodation expenses.

The next application deadline for Round 1 2018-2019 for both scholarships is 30 August 2018. More information on the application process can be found here for PMSLA and here for PMSA.

Mr Hipkins said he was keen to see more applications from underrepresented groups on the scholarship such as Maori and Pacific.

“We’re also keen to support regional diversity and we welcome applicants from across the whole country not just the main centres,” Chris Hipkins said.

The PMSLA recipients’ names from the second 2017/18 round are here.

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