Student Life

What's student life like in New Zealand?

By Edvoy• Last updated: Jan 2, 2024
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There are many reasons why you may want to study abroad. After all, it gives you the opportunity to take in a new culture and experience more of the world, all while working towards your degree. If you’re looking for the perfect study abroad experience, look no further than New Zealand. 

On average, around 200,000 international students choose to study in New Zealand each year. If you’re about to join them, this guide will work to give you a better idea of what student life is like in NZ!

Accommodation and campus life

Whether you are studying in one of New Zealand’s most exciting cities, or a more rural area, finding the right accommodation should be your top priority. After all, you need to find a safe space that you can call home.

Thankfully, many universities offer on-campus accommodation. While this means you have no excuse for being late to lectures, on-campus dormitory residences will help you feel that you are part of a big community or family - perfect for those who are studying far from home.

Each university will offer a range of accommodation options, meaning that you are sure to find one that aligns with your budget and requirements. If you don’t have the time to visit campus before moving in, ask your university for a virtual tour. 

If you don’t fancy living on Campus, ask your university admissions team for some advice on trusted rental companies in the area that have experience working with international students. 

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Safety & Socializing

Those with a busy and thriving social life will fit right in at a New Zealand-based University. After all, New Zealand is known for being an incredibly friendly country - so much so that many visitors do not want to leave. There are plenty of clubs and societies you can join on campus, whether you’ve got an athletic or artistic streak. This can also be a great way to make like-minded friends outside of your course or halls of residence. If you’re missing home, be sure to join a society for International students. If your university does not have one, start your own. 

New Zealand usually ranks as the second safest country in the world on the Global Peace Index. As a result, it’s a particularly safe place to study. Of course, you should always ensure that you follow good safety precautions when out and about. If you’re concerned primarily with campus safety, Universities are required to share campus safety statistics with students, so sending a few emails should provide you with the information you are looking for. Moreover, many have 24/7 security personnel on-site.

Also Read: Study a Bachelor’s in New Zealandwhats-student-life-like-in-new-zealand

Food and Culture

International students often come to NZ in order to pursue affordable, world-class degrees. However, there are many other benefits that come alongside these academic pursuits, such as getting to enjoy the delicious food on offer. 

While local dishes will vary depending on which area of NZ you choose to visit, you can enjoy a range of traditional dishes during your stay, such as Rewena Parora (Sourdough bread), Kumara (Sweet Potatoes), and fresh seafood. Of course, as New Zealand also has a thriving international community, there’s also the opportunity to try foods and cuisines from further afield.

As mentioned previously, New Zealand has a reputation for being one of the friendliest countries in the world. As a result, many students find it incredibly easy to transition into NZ culture, finding the environment to be one that is centred around love, peace, and acceptance. This will make it easy to make friends, whether you’re chatting to your professors or fellow students. 

Culture in New Zealand is also heavily influenced by Mauri traditions. This means that you can expect to be surrounded by people who are relaxed, friendly, and laid back. Many of those living in New Zealand also love exploring the great outdoors - especially as you have some of the most stunning hikes in the world at your doorstep. 

If you’re a big Rugby fan, you’ll find that New Zealand is a great place to meet like-minded individuals as it's the country’s most popular sport.

Also Read: How to make new friends when studying abroad

Living expenses and student jobs

New Zealand is known for providing students with access to affordable education, but you must ensure that you are able to cover the costs of living and studying in New Zealand before you hop on that flight. 

If you’re looking to pick up some work to subsidise your living expenses or to further your career when studying, your student VISA will allow you to work for 20 hours a week during study periods, and full-time during holidays. However, you should ensure that you read both your visa and any work contracts carefully to ensure you are working legally. If you are unsure, your university’s employment team will usually be able to help. In fact, many international students tend to find on-campus jobs, as the contracts are designed to support students of all nationalities.

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Everything you need to study abroad
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Tips for adapting to student life in New Zealand

If you’ve already started packing your bags ahead of the big move to NZ, here are some tips that you can use to adapt to student life as term begins. This way, you can truly embrace all that New Zealand has to offer! 

  • Speak to your university's admissions team. Speaking to your university or college admissions team ahead of time gives you the chance to familiarise yourself with staff, and get answers to any burning questions you may have about your studies or campus life. 
  • Join student Facebook groups. Most universities run Facebook groups for incoming students, giving them a chance to get to know each other a little before the academic year begins. Try to see if there is a specific group for your accommodation block or course so that you’ll see a familiar face once term starts.
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. While it can be hard to step outside of your comfort zone, the easiest way in which you can adapt to studying abroad is to do exactly that. Remember, every day you are making memories! 
  • Work on your English. English is the most-spoken language in NZ, which means that the majority of courses will be taught in English. As a result, you may want to work on your English comprehension and speaking before moving so that you can stay up to date on your course. You may also want to learn some māori words too!
  • Prepare for your course. Adapting to a new culture and higher-education studies at the same time can be overwhelming, but you can relieve some of the pressure you are feeling by ensuring you are fully prepared for your course. For example, you may want to check out your reading list ahead of time so that you can begin reading before term begins. This way you are already familiar with the content you will be studying. 
  • Sign up for extracurricular clubs. The easiest way to adapt to university life is to push yourself to get involved as much as possible. Beyond participating in classroom conversations and debates, this means you should also sign up for some clubs and activities. Most universities have hundreds of societies to choose from, so you are sure to find something that is right up your street. However, don’t be afraid to sign up for something as a beginner either - this could be a great way to try something new and build new skills in a supportive and stress-free environment. 
  • Connect with other international students. Making friends with other international students, especially those from your home country, is a great way to ease any feelings of homesickness you may be experiencing. However, don’t be afraid to share your culture or experiences with any friends you make during this time! 
  • Call home regularly. Being far from home doesn’t mean you can’t check in - so don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family should you feel homesick. 

If you’re still considering whether or not to enroll in University in New Zealand, we’re on hand to help you consider your options without unnecessary stress or worry. Our blogs contain a wealth of information on studying in New Zealand, whether you’re trying to figure out which visa is right for you, how much you should expect to spend, or even find your ideal course.

We’re currently partnered with 9 Universities in New Zealand, including Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Waikato, and the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Each institution is known for academic excellence and offers a wide range of courses - meaning there’s something for every interest or career path.

Get in touch today to find out more.

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