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Living for International Students in New Zealand

Once you arrive in a foreign land as an international student, it will soon become obvious to you that your life doesn’t begin and end in the lecture theaters or exclusively on campus. You will soon begin to contemplate what your day-to-day life might be like. Chief among your concerns would be what amount of money you basically need to have to live a decent life without constraint, and what opportunities you might get to augment your income and so on.

Day to day living in New Zealand is much easier than it is in most western countries. The people are easy-going and the pace of life is laidback than in most European countries. From your accommodation to day-to-day commute we compile a short piece that will give you a fairly accurate picture of what life might be like for you in New Zealand.


It is always wise to make your accommodation arrangements even before you set foot in New Zealand or any other foreign country you might be heading to, for that matter. As an international student you have several options, such as renting a house, boarding in a homestay or staying in your campus’ hall of residence.

As someone who is new to this environment it is best to choose an accommodation option that will give you the most access to people and presents you with the chance to make new friends. In this, the hall of residence and homestay are your logical choices as they will give you an up-close look into Kiwi life and help you settle in quickly. In a homestay, you will be lodging with a host family which will provide you with your own separate room to live in. This will be perfect for you especially if you need to bump up your English speaking proficiency. Depending on your choice and budgetary needs make sure you make your choice before leaving your home country.


Another key sector that will have a daily effect on you is transportation, how much will it cost for your daily commute and how stressful it might be.  Unlike some western capitals, most New Zealand cities are comparatively smaller and very easy to get around. You might even end up being pleasantly surprised that your daily commute might just be a walking distance from your institution, and if not there is always public bus transport which is fairly cheap and doesn’t stress you out. In big cities like Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland and Wellington there are also commuter rails if you need to go downtown to get a few essentials.


New Zealand might be a far-away island nation but it is very diverse as you will find more than a fair number of people that are closest to your ways and culture that have lived there for years and successfully integrated into kiwi life. Being a nation surrounded by ocean, the cuisine menu here is predominantly seafood-ish.  But if you are not much into that, then New Zealand is also famed for its excellent lamb and beef, although you might also notice a British influence in its recipes. You could easily get a quick cup of tea while you’re about or some well-baked cake. And if you’re adventurous you could try the local Maori dishes most of the restaurants also offer.


Cost of “Student Living”

It is always helpful to get a clear picture of what one’s spending might be in a new place in order to make adequate preparations and avoid getting stranded in a place you barely know anyone.  As an international student it is required before you even set foot in the country to demonstrate to the authorities that you can basically support your living costs. It is estimated that a student needs a minimum of NZ$1300 to live a comfortable life without getting distracted from their studies due to financial stress.  The yearly amount equals to NZ$15,600 per student.

On average you might need to spend NZ$185 in a month for the basic utilities of light, water, and heating. About the same amount for transportation, and in your time of leisure you could buy a good meal at the restaurant for less than NZ$20 or buy a ticket to the movies for about NZ$15


Part-Time Work

To aid you fully integrate into your new surroundings, get some valuable experience and make a bit of money to help you pay the bills, New Zealand allows you to work part-time as an international student. As soon as you arrived and properly enrolled in school, you are allowed to look for part-time work and spend as much as 20 hours a week on this job. This will not only help you augment your budget, it will be valuable as you will not have too much free time that leaves you wondering what to do with it.

Support System

It is always great when there is someone willing to help us settle quickly in our new environments, and the New Zealand education system recognizes that. That is why there is a well-established system that supports the needs of international students at every institute that helps them get familiar with their new school and New Zealand life as a whole.

Dedicated staffs are always there to provide the necessary guidance and advice you may need, and under the Code of Practice (the first of its kind in the world) the institutions are not only encouraged to provide you with the necessary help you might need, they are obligated under law to do so.  This help extends to almost everything from financial advice and help, accommodation and cultural matters as well.

On the whole New Zealand is a country that is just optimally built for the average international student. It isn’t too expensive or too stressful to get by, it presents you with open doors for work opportunities an crucially you will not be left to your own vices as there is  an open offer for help on anything that you might not fully understand about life there.

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