This Guide aims to help better prepare you for life and study in New Zealand. It should help answer any questions you may have before you leave, when you arrive or after you have been in New Zealand a while.
Each year many students come to study and live in New Zealand. Living and studying in a new country away from friends and family can be exciting and scary at the same time. There will be lots for you to learn!
New Zealand money is in dollars and cents. There is a bank branch, or at least an automatic teller machine (ATM), on nearly every tertiary campus. All banks offer phone and Internet banking.
New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so January and February are the warmest months, autumn is from March to May, winter is from June to August, and spring runs from September to November.
The climate is temperate with relatively mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The weather varies a lot between different regions – the far north is subtropical while the south gets icy wind straight from Antarctica.
The mild climate means outdoor recreation is an important part of the Kiwi way of life. Water sports and tramping (hiking) are very popular. In summer, people are encouraged to ‘slip, slop, slap’ - slip on a long-sleeved shirt, slop on some sunblock, and slap on a hat - to protect them from cancer-causing sunburn. It’s easy to get sunburnt here, even on cool or cloudy days, as the sun in New Zealand has strong UV rays.
In keeping with New Zealand's relaxed lifestyle, dress is informal on most occasions. Some primary and most secondary schools require students to wear a uniform. At tertiary institutions you can wear what you like. Most families wear shoes inside their house, but some prefer to leave their shoes at the door.
New Zealanders – or ‘Kiwis’ – are famous for their warm hospitality. We're friendly, welcoming, enjoy meeting people from other cultures and love sharing food and conversation. In daily life, we're relatively informal. First names are used, even in business.
If you’re coming to New Zealand be prepared for fun-filled study breaks in the country where bungy jumping and jet boating were invented.
New Zealanders love the outdoors. We spend our hot summers and mild winters exploring beautiful national parks, beaches and rivers. You can go kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, abseiling, parachute jumping, swimming with dolphins, caving, and, of course, bungy jumping.
New Zealanders’ national sport is rugby – many play it and just about everybody enjoys watching it. Other popular sports include cricket, cycling, hockey, soccer, netball, horse riding, tennis, touch rugby, golf, basketball, badminton, bowls, yachting, volleyball, squash, cycling, mountain biking, trail biking, motor racing, skiing, shooting, rowing, fishing, swimming and aerobics.
All sorts of watersports are enjoyed in our famously clean rivers, harbours and lakes.
Whilst studying in New Zealand you will need somewhere to live. Many students live on campus in Halls of Residence, while others opt for a homestay with a local family, or live with friends (or strangers) in a rented 'flat' (apartment/house). Here is some information on options for student accommodation in New Zealand.
There are several options for student accommodation in New Zealand. Your place of study may be able to assist you in finding accommodation when you apply to study.
Most tertiary institutions, and some private secondary schools, in New Zealand have Halls of Residence.
Halls of Residence are generally located a short walk from campus.
Rooms are single or twin-share, with communal laundry, lounge room and dining hall. Meals are usually provided, and all dietary needs can be catered for.
Homestay means you live with a New Zealand family in their home – usually with a room of your own. Your Homestay family provides your meals and helps you with day-to-day life in New Zealand.
Homestay accommodation is an excellent way to meet New Zealanders, and interact with people in English.
As a guest in your host family’s home you are expected to contribute to normal family life, a great way to experience Kiwi culture.
"Going Flatting" is the New Zealand term for renting an apartment or house (flat).
Flatting gives you the flexibility to live with as many people as you like – males or females.
Flats range from one bedroom apartments to 4 or 5 bedroom homes.
Rental accommodation is generally clustered around colleges or universities, but flats can be found in most city suburbs.
Many rental properties in New Zealand come with a garden, and have car-parking.
An oven is provided and sometimes other larger appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. Most New Zealand houses are stand-alone, and do not have central heating. Your landlord does not have to supply heat, so you pay for gas/electricity between you and your flatmates.