High School Abroad in New Zealand

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Beautiful mountains, beach views, volcanoes, biodiversity, and Lord of the Rings have inspired students to travel to New Zealand for years now.

Study abroad for a semester or take a gap year in Auckland, or Wellington. Spend your summer volunteering outdoors in more remote villages to get to really learn about this beautiful country and its Kiwi and Maori culture. Not convinced? This photo essay of New Zealand on Buzzfeed might just be the catalyst to your wanderlust and get you truly excited about spending high school abroad in New Zealand.

New Zealand is great for students who: seek adventure, are interested in agriculture, love the outdoors, and want to learn about a melting pot of cultures (Pacific Islanders, Asians, and Europeans) that make New Zealand so diverse.

If you're interested in spending time abroad in New Zealand while in high school, you can choose from:

  • A semester, gap year, or full year exchange
  • A summer service learning and travel program
  • Multi-country study abroad on a boat
  • Working holiday gap year (18+ only)
A semester, gap year, or full year exchange

Spend a semester or year studying abroad in New Zealand, where you will get to immerse yourself by attending high school among local students. You'll take all of your typical classes, like math, science, history, art, and a foreign language.

To immerse yourself even more, you will get to live with a host family and learn more about the interesting melting pot of backgrounds and ethnicities that make up the Kiwi culture. Get to really know the country by planning adventures, whether it be via hiking, zip lining, or other outdoor excursions with your program, new friends, or host family.

Summer study abroad

Does volunteering on a farm, climbing Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings, taking outdoor leadership courses, and swimming in the Great Barrier Reef appeal to you? If so, you should definitely enroll in a service learning and travel program in the summer. Spend a few weeks learning about environmental sustainability by putting your knowledge to the test alongside New Zealanders. Some programs even include travel to Australia and Fiji Islands as well.

Multi-country study abroad on a boat

Interested in learning while traveling the world? Enroll in three-year long pre-college experience on a ship, where you will be able to stop and spend time in the places you learn about.

Working holiday program

If you're over 18 (or will be at the start of your travels) and want to take a gap year before college, New Zealand's working holiday scheme makes it incredibly easy for even the brokest of students to spend a few months backpacking, working, and spending time exploring this fascinating country.

Visa Requirements

Come enjoy New Zealand for up to 90 days without the need to acquire a visa! Longer term programs, like semester or year ones, will provide students with visa assistance. You can refer to the official New Zealand Government website for more information.


One of the best ways to really take advantage of your study abroad country is by living with a host family. Students can learn about the Kiwi culture over home cooked meals and trips around town with the family their program matches them with.

Shorter term service-learning programs house students on the farms or in the villages they volunteer with. Sometimes volunteers have a home to share, while other times they will get to enjoy the great outdoors by camping.


The official currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) and it is 1.5 times the amount of 1 USD. A typical meal can range from $15-$30 dollars. Roundtrip flights from NY range between $1,500-$2,500 and flights from LA range from $1,000-$1,500 depending on when you book. Something to keep in mind when looking at program costs is what's included, as several programs cover meals and international flights. Students should still plan to bring money for meals they don't intend to eat with a host family, as well as souvenirs. Lonely Planet is a great resource for all things cost-related in New Zealand.

Program costs vary depending on their duration. Semester long programs range between $13,295 and $22,380, while year long programs cost between $14,495 and $40,700. If you're planning to study or volunteer abroad in the summer plan to spend between $5,795 and $11,940 for your program costs for 1-3 months. Lastly, students looking to travel on a boat around the world while studying in high school can plan to spend $55,000 per year.

Packing Tips

Since New Zealand is the land of adventure, you want to make sure to pack accordingly. Here are some suggestions:

  • Weekend backpack
  • Comfy sneakers
  • Light waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Bathing suit
  • Clothes you can mix and match
  • 230v power converter
  • A camera (for those gorgeous landscapes you'll see)
  • Sweaters to layer in the winter (which is at the same time as our summer)


Prior to entering New Zealand, it's recommended that travelers receive Influenza and Hepatitis A vaccinations. For more information about vaccinations, The Travel Vaccination Companion has everything you'll need.


From the abundance of seafood options, to roasted lamb and BBQ, to freshly grown fruits and veggies, your tastebuds will be glad you chose to spend some time in New Zealand. Not to mention that Kiwis love their sweets too, so while you're there make sure to try tons of different desserts.


Like many other countries around the world, the only real safety issue in New Zealand is petty theft and pickpocketing. But even then, it's comparatively rare and New Zealand, overall, is one of the safest countries you could choose to travel to.

For those adventurous souls out there, please make sure to always be extra safe on outdoor adventures. Never travel alone, and always let other people know about your plans and whereabouts.

Contributed by Danielle Ortiz.

Showing 20 Programs

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CIEE Global Navigator High School Study Abroad
Playing beach volleyball after school and watching rugby matches on the weekends. Going on bike rides and taking a dip in the...
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