Study In New Zealand: Settling Into Student Life
September 29, 2016
There’s no denying the fact that the number of international students choosing to study in New Zealand has risen over the last couple of years. New Zealand is a popular choice for a variety of reasons. These are just a few reasons international students choose universities in New Zealand:\r\n
- All courses are taught in English
- Cost of living is lower than USA & UK
- Internationally recognised qualifications
- Part-time work opportunities for students
- Friendly, welcoming nation
Moving to a brand new country can be a thrilling adventure, but it can also be rather daunting. Especially if you have never visited that country before. And New Zealand is no different. Despite the welcoming, friendly nature of New Zealanders, you may spend the first few months trying to settle into your new surroundings.
So, how do you settle into student life in New Zealand?
Leaving your home to study abroad can be quite emotional, which is why it helps to try and make yourself at home in your new country as soon as possible. This starts with choosing your accommodation before you arrive.
Choose the right accommodation
For international students, who are new to studying in New Zealand, we recommend living in either a homestay or a hall of residence. At least for the first year of your studies. A homestay means you stay with a local family who provides you with a room of your own and food. This allows you to immerse yourself in everyday life in New Zealand and interact with natives. Staying in a hall of residence means you can meet new people immediately and make friends more easily. Halls of residence also have live-in wardens who can provide advice and guidance to international students, to help them settle into their new home. It also makes it easy to get to classes which give you one less thing to worry about!
Join an international society
Whilst it’s always recommended to immerse yourself in New Zealand culture and make friends with all nationalities, sometimes spending time with people from your home country can make the transition a little easier. Most universities in New Zealand that have international students will have international societies for you to join. Activities include visiting tourist attractions, social events such as cinema trips and meals, and basic friendship and support for one another. You can also join one of the many other student societies on campus that are geared towards specific topics, such as cookery or politics – it’s a great way to meet people and feel settled!
Explore your surroundings
There is more to student life in New Zealand than simply going to class. New Zealand has some stunning scenery and is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s so beautiful in fact that many Hollywood films have been filmed there, such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Avatar. Exploring your surroundings can make you feel more at home and can really help you settle into your student life in New Zealand. Throw yourself into New Zealand culture by attending a rugby match. Or why not visit one of the hundreds of museums to learn about the country’s history.
Take advantage of a student mentoring programme
Many universities in New Zealand, such as the University of Canterbury, offer student mentoring programmes designed to help international students settle in. Mentors are students who volunteer and can give you advice and information on everything; from where to find the various campus services, to the best coffee in the city! Mentors are a great first step in making friends and feeling welcomed. And finally, you shouldn’t worry too much if you feel anxious or homesick when you first arrive in New Zealand. It’s completely normal to miss your family, friends and even your culture. However, by trying some of the tips above, you’ll soon remember why you chose to study in New Zealand and will feel right at home.