Living & Studying
If adventure is what you’re looking for, New Zealand is the place to find it. New Zealand is a small country and a young nation, with a unique mix of culture, natural resources and people that make it a fantastic place to live. Warmth and hospitality will meet you at every corner as New Zealanders, often referred to as kiwis, extend their hand of welcome.
You’ll appreciate all New Zealand has to offer during your stay, from a vast and diverse landscape of wide open spaces, to a friendly and relaxed way of life. Nowhere else can a small country offer so much.
Undertaking a course of study in New Zealand means gaining internationally recognised qualifications as you continue your academic studies in a safe and secure learning environment.This country offers a warm welcome to international students, who can choose from an extensive range of academic subjects.New Zealand is proud of its high academic record – its 15 year old students are ranked among the top in the world in reading, mathematics and science literacy. Be assured you’ll never forget this educational experience…
Living in a New Zealand home gives international students the best opportunity to experience New Zealand culture and lifestyle first hand. Students are made to feel like a member of a New Zealand family and are expected to participate in family life. Close bonds are usually formed between host families and international students, making for an enriching experience for all those involved.
Host families are all chosen carefully and offer a safe and caring environment.
Shopping and Food
New Zealand shops are open most days of the year. Many shopping malls are open seven days and late on Thursdays and/or Fridays. Petrol stations, some takeaway food outlets and some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day.
The multi-cultural aspect of New Zealand means that a wide variety of food is available and there are many restaurants, cafés and bars representing all nationalities.
Most New Zealanders travel by car rather than public transport, due to the small population and high level of car ownership. However, reliable public transport such as bus and train services are available in and between most towns and cities. Regular ferry services operate between the North and South Islands, and air travel is extensive and regular.
New Zealand has a wide variety of banks and banking services. Most banks are open between 9am and 4:30pm. Outside of those hours, customers can access Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) to withdraw and deposit funds. Most banks also offer telephone and internet banking services, and Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) is available at most retail outlets. The international direct debit systems, Cirrus and Plus are available throughout New Zealand and all major credit cards are recognised.
The cost of living in New Zealand is reasonable, making it well within the financial abilities of most visitors.
International students are required to have health insurance during their stay in New Zealand. The ODENZ group of schools recommends the use of Unicare and can provide information about its policies and premiums.
Smoking is banned in New Zealand on most public transport and in public places such as meeting rooms and shopping malls. Work places must have separate smoking rooms and most restaurants and bars have smokefree areas. Shops are prohibited from selling tobacco to persons under 18 years.
New Zealand's Education System
Schooling in New Zealand is compulsory for those aged between six and 16 years. However, most New Zealanders begin primary school at age 5, participating from pre-school through to tertiary education.
Years 1 to 6 (5 to 10 years old) are spent at primary school
Years 7 and 8 (11 and 12 years old) are spent at intermediate school
Years 9 to 13 (13 to 17 years old) are spent at secondary school.
Secondary school generally runs from 8:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday. Students may attend either a co-educational or single sex school, depending on what is available in their area. Academic subjects are offered along with physical education, arts, health, music and technology.
During the senior years (years 11 to 13), students work toward the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). This is an internationally recognised qualification that can be used to gain university entrance. The NCEA is based on achievement standards derived from the national curriculum and is assessed both internally and externally.
Many schools also offer Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) courses. These provide students with courses of study and/or workplace experience that lead to skills and qualifications. The range of subject and skill areas supported by STAR vary from school to school, but popular subject choices include hairdressing, childcare, electro-technology, first aid, life skills, tourism, automotive technology, agriculture, horticulture and food technology. If chosen, STAR courses would be an additional cost for international students.
New Zealand’s first official language is English. All ODENZ schools use English as the main language of instruction.
Te Reo Maori is the other official national language. Students should expect to be involved in some Maori cultural events during their stay. Powhiri (Maori welcomings) are common when international students arrive. Many schools include Maori songs in their school singing and the haka (Maori war dance) is commonly performed before sporting events.
Pacific Island and Asian cultures are also prominent in New Zealand. International students are likely to be exposed to these cultures and a number of their languagues.
Non-English languages such as French, German, Japanese and Spanish are offered in most New Zealand schools.
International Student Services
The New Zealand Government has set high standards for all institutions that work with international students. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) requires that all providers of education to international students be signatories to a code of practice, which ensures that students are well informed, safe, and properly cared for.
All ODENZ members are signatories to The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the Code), and welcome your enrolment. You will receive a summary of the code with your enrolment material.
Copies of the code of practice are available online at https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/tertiary-and-international-learners-code/
In addition to the code of practice, each ODENZ school is required to provide top quality international student support services, including orientation, specialist counselling, language support and accommodation.