Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America

The Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Latin America (PMSLA) is a programme funded by the New Zealand government and administered by Education New Zealand.

Click here to view the latest scholarship recipients - 2019/20, round one.



How to apply

Group applications

Past recipient profiles

The next round of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships will open from mid-January and closes 30 March 2020.

Please note: we have merged the application deadlines for the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia and Latin America. The new application deadlines for both scholarships will be: 30th Aug (round 1) and 30th March (round 2).

Click here to view the latest scholarship recipients - 2019/20, round one.


The Prime Minister's Scholarship is awarded to individuals and currently contributes to the following costs relating to study, internship or research in Latin America:

1.     Individuals on exchange, internship or other independent programmes

  • Tuition fees of Latin American institutions (not NZ fees)
  • Contribution towards internship fees, up to a maximum of NZ$530 per week or actual if fee is less
  • Return economy class flights NZ-Latin America - NZ$2,500
  • Contribution to living, accommodation, visa, insurance etc costs of NZ$270 per week on programme (click here for a list of insurance requirements)

 2.     Individuals on group programmes

  • New Zealand Tertiary providers/institutions may apply to the PMSLA to fund a group (3+) to travel together to Latin America on a specified programme that meets PMSLA goals
  • Group programmes are applied for separately under the PMSLA, and have their own application and reporting requirements. Funding for individuals on group programmes is as above.

To view the current scholarship guidelines, please click here.

The scholarship is a programme funded by the New Zealand government and administered by Education New Zealand.  The scholarship aims to:

  • Strengthen New Zealand institutions’ connections with their counterparts in key Latin America countries
  • Promote understanding of the strength and quality of New Zealand’s education system and raise awareness of New Zealand as a preferred education destination
  • Improve the international skills of the New Zealand workforce
  • Strengthen people-to-people connections between New Zealand and countries in Latin America through participants building lifelong friendships and networks.
  • Strengthen New Zealand’s ability to engage with key trading partners
  • Improve New Zealanders’ understanding of key trading partner’s business practice and culture

Long-term outcomes of the scholarship – we want Prime Minister’s Scholarship recipients:

  • Applying their skills, knowledge and abilities; embracing different cultural contexts and developing as genuine, respectful global citizens, and;
  • Using their skills, knowledge and networks to contribute to engagement and cooperation between New Zealand and key trading partners



Preference is currently for applicants undertaking appropriate programmes in Colombia and Brazil. Other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Peru are also included. The destination institution should have a formal relationship with a New Zealand institution. 

You can find out more about institutions in Latin America, and where they are ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, by visiting their website.


Programmes must be a minimum of 4 weeks and not exceed 24 months. Maximum funded weeks over 24 months is 72.


Applicants must propose programmes that can be demonstrated to be linked to New Zealand’s education, economic or trade agenda in Latin America, and may include business, social sciences, the creative arts and culture, indigenous studies, ICT/new media.  Programmes can be either: 

  • An undergraduate or postgraduate part or whole programme in a relevant subject area at an approved institution. Exchange programmes are included here. 
  • A full-time internship (or part-time with additional study). Internships for longer than 12 weeks may be considered.
  • Education, trade or economic-related research or development including development/research for intending or existing teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, to target countries, including cooperative or independent research at educational institutions.
  • Research applicants other than existing language teachers must be currently enrolled at a New Zealand tertiary institution in a master's or PhD programme.


Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the date of applying for the scholarship, AND
  • Be a New Zealand citizen or hold Permanent Resident status and in all cases be ordinarily resident in New Zealand, i.e., have resided in NZ for 12 of the previous 24 months
  • May apply for a second Prime Minister's scholarship only if their first award was as a member of a group PMS programme.

Selection criteria

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and whose programme clearly meets the goals of the scholarship, will additionally be expected to display academic strengths and personal attributes such as independence, initiative, maturity, and confidence . . . plus

  • The potential to succeed in academic study abroad
  • The ability to represent New Zealand (and, where relevant, their home institution) positively; particularly the quality of a New Zealand education experience
  • And most importantly - be willing and prepared to put into practice the aims of the scholarship.

How to apply

The August 2019 round is now closed. The next round of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships will open from mid-January and closes 30 March 2020.

 To complete an application, you will need to upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Proof of Citizenship for every country for which you hold citizenship and/or proof of Permanent Residency status
  • Officially verified Academic Transcripts for up to three tertiary level qualifications (equivalent to level 5 and above). If you have never enrolled in a tertiary qualification, you will need to upload documentation of your highest secondary qualification if it has been completed within the past three years.
  • A 120 second video (more details available in the online application.

You will also need to provide the names and emails of two referees to request references, one of which should be an academic reference.

Useful resources

   ● Selection Panel Criteria for Assessing Group applications
  ● Selection Panel Criteria for Assessing Individual applications
  ● To find an institution – click here for the current QS Latin America University Rankings

Language and study programmes

Please note, the programme costs in the documents below may vary from the current costs. Please make sure you check the institutions' website or contact the institution directly for the costs for the current study year before you submit a PMSLA application. 


Overview - Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) 
Overview - Universidade Estadual Paulista Programme Offer (28 September 2016)
Overview - various Universities


Overview - Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Valparaiso (JANUARY & FEBRUARY PROGRAMMES)
Overview - Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Valparaiso Summer 1 and 2 (MAY, JUNE, JULY PROGRAMMES
Overview - Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Utfsm) (International logistics programme)
Overview - Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Utfsm) (Semester abroad at USM programme)
Overview - Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Intensive Spanish Programme)
Overview - Universidad Andrés Bello (Exchange and Independent Programmes)


Overview - Universidad de La Sabana (Exchange/Study Abroad/Grad semester/Summer Programs/Spanish Language/Latin American studies programs)
Overview - Universidad de La Sabana (International Summer School)
Overview - Universidad Externado de Colombia (Spanish Language for Foreigners)
Overview - Universidad de Ciencia Aplicadas y Ambientales (UDCA) (undergraduate and internship programmes)

Overview - Universidad de la Salle (International Summer Academy)

Overview - Universidad de los Andes (academic exchange/language programmes)
Overview - Universidad de Santander (Higher education institution)


Group applications

The August 2019 round is now closed. The next round of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships will open from mid-January and closes 30 March 2020.

New Zealand Tertiary Education Organisations and approved organisations may submit group application/s for scholarship support on behalf of students wishing to travel to target countries on exchange or study abroad programmes, or on specifically-tailored study programmes in Latin America.

Past recipient profiles

Eve Bain in Colombia

“I have improved my Spanish so much that I am fairly fluent, and have learnt a lot about the history and culture of Colombia.” – Eve Bain spent 2017 on an exchange in Colombia. 


“I have travelled all over South America, learned about international business, became almost fluent in Spanish and made good friends… I would advise anyone considering something like this to investigate what’s out there.” – Stuart Robinson is spending two years in Colombia studying business. Click here to read about his highlights so far.

 Massey in Colombia

 "I have absolutely loved this trip, it has been a very amazing and humbling experience.” – 12 students from Massey University loved their four-week exchange in Colombia.

madi 4
Madeline Furness spent most of 2017 in Chile, empowering communities through her volunteer work for Engineers Without Borders.

Previous scholarship recipients: 

Scholarship recipients - June 2019
Scholarship recipients - August 2018  
Scholarship recipients - April 2018
Scholarship recipients – October 2017
Scholarship recipients – April 2017
Scholarship recipients – October 2016


What's in it for me?