10 December 2018

Make More Friends in New Zealand Now | Study With New Zealand

Syairah Zahari
Malaysian undergraduate student

Reaching out to other people, and feeling welcomed in return is a crucial part of settling down in a new country.

New Zealand is a country that prides itself on multiculturalism and diversity. Therefore, studying in New Zealand is a great opportunity to explore other cultures by making friends with them.

English is not my first language and it has been hard to speak in an English-speaking country with such a diverse mix of people. Nevertheless, I have forced myself to speak in English every time I meet new people and I believe that my proficiency level and communication skills have increased tenfold. Indeed, practice makes perfect! And, of course, you need friends to talk to.

Here are some of the ways I've made friends in New Zealand:

1. Mix with the same nationality (Malaysian)

I started off in New Zealand by building up my circle of acquaintances with people from Malaysia who were also living or studying in New Zealand as, understandably, we had lots in common. This one is easy peasy lemon squeezy!

It meant that I could speak comfortably in my first language and share experiences of living abroad with them. Not only did we share the same culture but we also went to heaps of religious events together. This really helped to strengthen my relationships with my Malaysian friends in New Zealand.

2. Make friends through your course of study

I found that a great way to meet people of different nationalities was through lectures and tutorials. I'd simply start a conversation based on some common ground, such as an assignment’s topic, or we would eat lunch together and exchange different opinions on topics from lectures and/or tutorials. The conversation often continued until we found interests in common and became friends.

3. Meet people through extra-curricular activities

Extra programmes such as the Victoria International Leadership Programe (VILP) and Victoria Plus Programme provided me with a great platform to make new friends. These programmes require the participants to go to different seminars and workshops where you meet different kinds of people and thus, friendships develop.

It also encourages the participants to do lots of voluntary and community work. For example, it gave me the chance to socialise with more Kiwis and the local community. Likewise, being part of the executive members for several organisations also gave me the opportunity to develop friendships.

There were so many ways of making friends in New Zealand but these are a few that worked for me. No matter where you are from, everyone has a different story to tell. These stories are even more meaningful when they are shared and will help in getting to know people. We bump into different people every day and there is always a chance to make a move and start making more friends. With mutual goals and common interests, the friendship can grow further.

Share this story
About the contributors
Syairah Zahari
Malaysian undergraduate student

Syairah Zahari, from Malaysia, is studying for a Bachelor of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Victoria University in Wellington. She is also a former President of the Wellington Malaysian Students’ Organisation (WMSO).