20 November 2023

Making New Friends and Connections in New Zealand | Study With New Zealand

Theo Spruyt
Global Digital Content Specialist | Education New Zealand

Studying in New Zealand isn’t just a great opportunity to improve your academic life – it’s also a fantastic chance to improve your social life too. If you’re new to New Zealand, you might find making connections tough at the start, but with a little effort you’ll soon have lots of new friends!

So how can you get started making new friends when you’re in New Zealand? Here are some tips.

Meet your classmates

At the beginning of your course, it’s normal to sometimes do introductory activities to get familiar with the people you’ll be studying with. These normally involve introducing yourself by name, sharing a few details about yourself, and being asked some questions by your classmates.

In larger classes, you may find yourself split into smaller groups for more in-depth discussions about what you’re currently studying. People may also invite you out for lunch, coffee or even an alcoholic drink to get to know you better.

Your new classmates could become your newest friends!

Making friends around the house

In New Zealand, ‘flatmates’ (also known by Kiwis as ‘flatties’) are the people you share a flat or house with. While some people choose to live with people they know, other people choose people they’ve never met before.

You may have a lot in common with your flatmates or find that they introduce you to lots of new experiences. Each group of flatmates is different, but many people find they build lasting friendships with the people they live with, even when they no longer share a house together.

Being a good flatmate – being friendly, open-minded, and considerate of others – is a great introduction to being a great friend!

For some people, their flatmates become close friends - even after they move out!

Clubs and Societies

When you start your studies, check to see if your education provider funds any clubs, societies, or interest groups. These are student-led groups that meet up regularly to socialise and share in experiences and activities.

Whether the groups you join are based on something familiar to you, or something completely new is up to you. Taking a chance on something outside of your comfort zone could be highly rewarding!

Sports Teams

When you spend time in New Zealand, you’ll quickly see how important sport is to ‘Kiwis’. Sports like rugby, cricket and netball might not be familiar to you, but they are the biggest sports for New Zealanders to play.

Football, swimming, tennis, and golf are also played extensively across the country, with facilities in most cities and towns.

Even if you prefer to watch your favourite sports on TV instead of playing them, you’ll find plenty of fans in pubs, restaurants and bars around the country doing the same.

It is important to note that New Zealand sports culture can be closely tied to drinking alcohol. This isn’t the case for every sport or every team, but you may need to do research so that you can find what’s right for you.

Cricket, one of New Zealand's biggest sports, could be a new experience for you or something you already love

Getting Social Online

There are several websites and apps that can help you grow your social circles. Similar to the clubs and societies you can join through your provider, these websites and apps connect you to groups dedicated to specific activities and interests. These groups might meet in person, online, or a mixture of both.

You can find these groups to join at MeetUp and Newcomers, as well as social media platforms like Facebook.

It’s important that you stay safe and protect yourself when communicating with people online. This article has plenty of tips on how you can keep safe while also meeting new people. This advice is good to know in all situations, from meeting new friends to dating people you meet on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge or Grindr.

If you’re a fan of online gaming, you’ll find a large community of gamers in New Zealand. Whether you play on a PC or gaming console, you can search online and in person to find groups who are dedicated fans of all the biggest titles.

As you can see, there are so many ways to meet people and make friends when you get to New Zealand. While the options mentioned above are all popular ways of connecting with others, there are dozens of other options available, too. Take time to do your research, prepare to experience new things, and have a great time with your new friends!

Share this story
About the contributors
Theo Spruyt
Global Digital Content Specialist | Education New Zealand