It’s not an easy decision to study and live in a new environment. We’ve come up with a few pointers to help you prepare for your new venture
From accommodation options and living costs to health and wellbeing, employee rights and social groups, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about the city deemed one of the most liveable places in the world.
New Zealand’s capital city sits in the centre of the country, at the bottom of the North Island. Its location means it’s easily accessible by plane, car, bus, train and ferry, and being compact, it’s easy to get around whatever your mode of transport.
Often tagged as windy Wellington, we do get our fair share of wind, but we enjoy a temperate climate where the warmest month is February and the coolest July.
You’ll also feel safe here – we’re ranked 18th in the world for overall safety in the 2019 Safe Cities report, making Wellington the safest city to live, study and work.
When you’re not busy studying, there 's no shortage of things to do and plenty of events that cater for everyone’s tastes and budgets. You can make the most of many music and cultural festivals, take in a show or live music, or head out and enjoy the fresh air and outdoors – Wellington is surrounded by a picturesque harbour and nestled among green hills with numerous trails for walking and biking.
There are various housing options available for international students, whatever their age.
If you’re studying at a university in Wellington you can apply for accommodation at university-managed halls of residence, modern self-catered inner-city apartments, shared housing or homestays/private boarding.
You can opt to rent a house or apartment of your own or share with flatmates (roommates). Some schools provide boarding houses or hostels.
Whatever your preference, there are many great options to choose from within close distance of your education provider.
If you’re living in a university residence or shared house with other students, you’ll make new friends in no time.
But take every opportunity to branch out – introduce yourself to other people on your course/at school or look into clubs and interest groups.
Student clubs are a key part of student life and there are international student and cultural clubs you can join. There is also a range of other clubs for food, arts, culture and politics.
Sport is also big here, to watch and to play, yet another great way to meet like-minded people and stay fit at the same time.
Facebook groups connect people with common interests too, or get involved in community events and activities, volunteer for a charity or get a part-time job.
Health and wellbeing
You’ll enjoy a high level of care here - New Zealand has in place a code of practice of pastoral care, which means education providers must ensure international students are well informed, safe and properly cared for.
Living in Wellington you’ll have access to quality modern healthcare.
Most education providers have medical and counselling services available to students on-campus. Tertiary students are encouraged to sign up to their institute’s healthcare services, which provide subsidised appointments for physical and mental health. For primary and secondary students these services are additional to signing up to a doctor’s office.
Living away from home and family is exciting but it can also be overwhelming - remember it’s normal to feel homesick or lonely at times.
Connecting with other students on this International Student Support Facebook group or NauMai NZ may prove helpful.
There are also free health and mental health support lines, including Healthline, Youthline or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor any time.
Internships and graduate programmes
You can gain valuable experience in New Zealand workplaces through internships, work experience and graduate programmes. These programmes are a mix of paid and unpaid opportunities to work for Kiwi companies, and can be completed during study breaks, summer holidays and after graduation.
There are many programmes on offer for students, international students and graduates.
Workers (employees) are protected by law in New Zealand – know your rights to stay safe and avoid being underpaid or unfairly exploited.