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Kia Ora mate, welcome to New Zealand! If you dream of studying abroad in a country of wild landscapes, hobbit houses, adventure sports and sheep, look no further than New Zealand! Aotearoa, or the Land of the Long White Cloud, as it's called by the native Maori, is home to some of the world's most beautiful landscapes and the friendly Kiwis. New Zealand is an eclectic melting pot of a variety of cultures and people from around the world. It's also a great study abroad destination for high school students looking to travel to an English speaking country that has an exciting and new culture to discover!
When doing research on various study abroad programs, its smart to pick a program that offers the amount of support you desire and the best academic fit for you. Some examples of program types are:
You've decided on a program and are ready to apply, awesome! Here are some important things to consider throughout the application process:
For most high school study abroad programs, students must have a passport and be between the ages of 15 to 18 when applying. Many programs also have academic requirements, asking students to have a GPA of roughly 2.75 (out of 4.0) when applying.
For most high school study abroad programs, it is common for students to live with a host family. Typically, your host family is responsible for providing three meals a day, will live close to your school and may have children your age. If you do have a homestay, even if it's only for a few days during a summer program, bring them a gift. Find something that represents your home or is important to you and give it your host family as a thank you gift, the small gesture will go a long way! For students whose programs involve a lot of traveling, accommodations can vary from hotels, hostels, camping or staying at a Maori Marae! But never fear, most high school programs take care of securing accommodations for students.
Before your study abroad sesh', one of the most important pre-departure activities is securing a passport and visa. Anyone traveling to New Zealand from outside the country will need a passport. The passport application process takes about six to eight weeks and can cost roughly $135. For students studying in New Zealand for more than three months, you will most likely need a standard New Zealand Student Visa. If you are visiting New Zealand for a summer program (aka less than three months) and are from a Visa-Waiver Country, such as the USA, Canada and Australia (among others), no visa is necessary. However, if you are working on a service project or doing volunteer work, a visitor visa may be necessary, in which case your program should inform you. When applying for any visa, remember the entire process can take about six to eight weeks and cost from $100 to $350, so budget accordingly!
Before you leave, take a break from daydreaming about kiwi birds, hobbits and sheep to plan out your financial situation. Semester fees for study abroad are roughly $11,000 to $13,000, while a full academic year in New Zealand can range from $14,000 to $30,000. Summer programs and service learning trips are about $3,000 to $7,000. Although the program fee may seem hefty, it generally includes roundtrip airfare, health insurance, transportation to and from the airport and three meals a day with a host family. The cost of living in New Zealand is slightly higher than the US, and the currency is the New Zealand Dollar. Some programs recommend budgeting $100 to $300 spending cash per month. However, it may be wise to budget on the high end to ensure you have enough money to fund all your adventures! Don't forget to save roughly $300 for a school uniform- most Kiwi students wear them! If you need help funding your trip, look into applying early to get early bird pricing or fundraise through a site like GoFundMe.com!
Studying abroad is always a good idea, especially when you're still in high school!
So there you go, taking the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand during high school is basically the best idea you'll ever have. Enjoy the out-of-this-world landscapes and scenery, friendly locals and learn about the native Maori culture all while taking part in all those adventure sports the Kiwis are famous for. Er, just don't tell your folks about the bungee jumping and skydiving until after the fact, eh?
Sarah Morgan is a twenty-something, recent graduate of the University of Delaware. During her time at UD she studied abroad three times in Puerto Rico, Greece, and England, among other travels. Sarah is a self-diagnosed travel junkie and will be moving to Ireland in August with a Working Holiday Visa. Keep up with her on Twitter @SarahMorgan65.
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to studying abroad in New Zealand in high school? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.