5 survival tips for studying abroad in New Zealand | Study With New Zealand
Being an international student in New Zealand is a fantastic experience, but it can bring some challenges. Your life here will probably be very different from your life at home and you may miss your family and friends – at least during the first few weeks.
Your education provider is responsible for making sure you are properly cared for while you are here, but these top five tips will also help to make your time in New Zealand as enjoyable as possible.
1. Talk to people
Talking to other people is a great way to help you stop feeling overwhelmed when you first arrive in New Zealand. It can be hard talking to someone you don’t know, especially if English is not your first language. So start small – talk to the person next to you in class or to someone on the same floor of your hall of residence. If you’re living in a homestay or sharing a flat, come out of your room and talk to your homestay family or your flatmates.
2. Be prepared to feel homesick
It’s normal to feel homesick when you first arrive in another country. Everything is new and different and even simple things like buying food at the supermarket can feel like a challenge. When you start to feel homesick try to find something to take you mind off it – go for a walk or go to the gym, or do some study. You could also contact a friend or a family member at home, but try to focus on what you are enjoying about your new life, rather than what is making you unhappy. It will help you feel more positive.
3. Ask questions – and ask for help
New Zealand students are expected to challenge their teachers and lecturers and ask them questions – that’s how we show we are involved in the academic process. So if you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. It’s important to ask questions in other situations too. New Zealanders like to be helpful so if you are lost or you are not sure what bus to catch, ask for help.
4. Stay active and healthy
Eating well, sleeping well and exercising can help you stay healthy and keep you feeling happy. Join a sports team or sign up for the gym at your education provider – membership is usually free. Walking with friends is another good way of keeping active, so get a group of other international students together for a weekend walk. Most city councils have a list of local walks on their websites.
5. Keep an eye on your budget
Stressing out about money can distract you from your study. Studylink has useful information on your costs to help you develop a realistic budget while you are studying in New Zealand. Also check out our Cost of living page. Once you have worked out what you can afford, try hard not to overspend. Check your bank balance regularly, especially if you use an Eftpos card – you can easily lose track of what you’ve spent otherwise.
About the contributors
Education New Zealand (ENZ) raises awareness of New Zealand as a study destination.