CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DECISION TO STUDY ABROAD IN new zealand!

We have outlined here TEAN’s six easy steps to studying abroad. Your TEAN Program Manager guides you through the entire process, reminding you when and what we need from you as you traverse along the journey to studying abroad. These six steps also include all the vital information you need to know as you prepare for your time abroad. If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, then don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Get Started

Overview

SnAPSHOT

Congratulations! You have applied to a TEAN New Zealand semester program, so you are already one step towards the best semester of your college life! This section walks you through how to complete your New Zealand application; paying your deposit; how to obtain a passport and check that yours will be valid for the duration you need; the best ways to contact TEAN; and all those important dates to mark down on your calendar now. As usual, if your questions are not answered here, then don’t hesitate to contact us!

TEAN Application

COMPLETE YOUR TEAN APPLICATION

1. If you haven’t already started your application with TEAN, you will need to visit the apply now page to start the process. You will be asked to pay a $100 application deposit that is counted toward your total program fees.

2. Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the application deposit, our team will review your application.

3. After your application has been approved by TEAN you will receive an email from us with information on how to login to your account and access your application.

4. Now you can start to work on the checklist items listed for your application. You will see a list of things that need worked on including the following:

  • TEAN Applicant Profile
  • Personal Statement
  • Copy of your Passport – see the step by step instructions below (let us know if you’re renewing).  
  • Send the TEAN Statement from University electronically to your advisor at your home institution for completion
  • Emergency Contact Info 
  • Medical Information

As we move through the application process more forms and items will be added to your checklist by your Program Manager, so continue to check back for updates.

5. Submit your most recent transcripts

In order for us to fully accept you into the program, we will need to review your official transcripts.  For students studying in the Spring semester, we will need transcripts including grades from the previous Spring semester. For Fall students, we require transcripts including grades from the previous Fall semester.

Please request an official copy of your transcripts, from all universities attended, be sent to our offices at:

The EDUCATION ABROAD Network
505 N. LaSalle Street,  Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654

Program Deposit

Pay your Program Deposit

  • Upon acceptance into the program you will be issued with a $500 program deposit invoice. TEAN cannot make any accommodations or on-site reservations on behalf of a student until the $500 program deposit is received.
  • The program deposit is applied to the total program cost and is not an additional fee.
  • You may submit online credit card payments for your $500 program deposit via our online credit card link.
Withdrawing from the program

If you withdraw from the program the $100 application deposit is non-refundable. If you withdraw before the withdrawal deadline, the $500 program deposit is refundable. However, after the deadline (typically 3-4 months before departure) this deposit is non-refundable. Please refer to the program deposit invoice for the specific refund date for your program.

Passport

Apply/Renew your Passport

Obtaining a passport for international travel may take a considerable period of time as the State Department can often have a backlog of applications to work through.  Therefore, it is crucial that you apply for your passport as early as possible to avoid any last minute complications.  You can apply for your passport at your local U.S. Post Office, for more information see: https://www.usps.com/international/passports.htm

Obtain necessary information regarding passports from the U.S. Department of State: Passport Services Department.  Download passport applications, nationwide list of passport agencies, etc. at: http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

EXPEDITED SERVICES  

You can also check out an alternative passport express service:
www.passportsandvisas.com


Verify Validity of your Passport

As a condition of your student visa, your passport must be valid a minimum of six months post your anticipated return home. If your current passport is set to expire before then, you will need to apply for a renewal.


Inform TEAN of your passport details

  1. Scan a copy of your passport page with your photo and information on it.
  2. Upload the scanned image to your TEAN application where it states, “Please upload a copy/photo of your passport (signature and picture page only).” Alternatively, email the scanned copy of your passport to your TEAN Program Manager.
  3. Enter your passport information under the section titled, “TEAN Applicant Profile.”

Contacting TEAN

Contacting TEAN

Email is the primary form of communication during the application and enrollment period. Please provide us with an email address you use regularly, as important program announcements and instructions will be sent via email. Also, please check your email on a regular basis and make sure to update your online application if you change your email address.  Please also periodically check your Junk mail to ensure that messages from The Education Abroad Network are not being filtered into “spam”.

In addition, please be sure to include your full name on all correspondence (including emails). We work with many students so providing your name will ensure timely responses to questions and inquiries.

Physical Address

The Education Abroad Network
505 N. LaSalle, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654-7093

Telephone and Fax

Toll Free: 1-800-585-9658 (from within U.S.)
Local Number: 1-312-239-3710 (from outside of U.S.)
Fax: 1-312-239-3713

Office Hours

The Education Abroad Network is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time and observes all major holidays.  If these hours are not convenient, you may schedule a time outside of our normal business hours to speak with us. If you are currently international, it is possible to set up a Skype time to chat and get to know your program managers.

Important Dates

Important Dates

We finalize our program calendar several months before each semester abroad.  We work with our overseas partner universities in order to determine our orientation schedule.  We will provide updated information on orientation, key semester dates, flights, and excursions once our program calendar has been finalized.  Once the calendar has been released, all dates are still subject to change.  While we do not anticipate any date changes once the calendar has been finalized, we reserve the right to make changes, particularly if one of our partner universities institutes their own date modification.  All program participants will be contacted in the event of a date change.

Flights

Most airlines do not allow open-ended tickets and now require international passengers to select a return date at the time of booking their flight. Return dates can be changed, subject to availability, but program participants should initially book a return flight home no earlier than one day after their university exams are scheduled to finish. After receiving their final exam schedule, participants can change their return to an earlier date, if their schedule permits. However, participants should not rely on professors allowing exams to be taken prior to the official exam date, as professors are under no obligation to accommodate such requests. For example, if the student’s last exam is December 17th they should not rely on rescheduling it so they can return home early.

Housing Dates

Housing is provided until one day after the final day of university exams. Study abroad students generally finish their exams before the last scheduled exam date so students should have plenty of time to prepare for their departure. Please also pay particular attention to the housing move-in dates.

Program Start Dates

The program officially begins at the start of our TEAN Orientation in Queenstown. Students arriving in advance of our orientation will be responsible for their own transportation from the airport and any necessary accommodations prior to the orientation start date.

Program Dates by University

University of Auckland
AUT University
Massey University – Palmerston North
Victoria University of Wellington
Massey University – Wellington
University of Canterbury
Lincoln University
University of Otago

Get Schooled

Overview

Snapshot

Congratulations again! If you’ve gotten this far you are well and truly on your way to a ‘sweet as’* time down under! From this point, we’ll start introducing you to some of the local Kiwi lingo, so you can start preparing yourself. This section contains information on how to select your New Zealand university courses, and ensure you get credit for them; financial aid and how to navigate the system to ensure your aid transfers; details of the TEAN and other scholarships you may want to apply for; and some details on academic differences to expect in New Zealand.

*New Zealand translations.
Sweet as = excellent, awesome.
Kiwi = New Zealand, or someone from New Zealand. Also a small flightless bird from New Zealand, but not in the above context.

Courses & Credit

Courses and Credit

Once it’s time to select courses, your TEAN Program Manager will be in touch with instructions on next steps on how to find courses and submit them on your online application.

For course selection instructions click here.

Once you have entered your course selections in your online application, your TEAN Program Manager will submit your completed application for formal university approval.

Schedule Meeting with Academic Advisor

It is highly recommended that you have your academic advisor approve your classes before leaving if you wish to ensure you receive transfer credit. If you do not wish to receive any credit when you return home you may be able to forego the approval process.  Some students tackle the credit transfer issues when they return from their program, but at the very minimum you should meet with your academic advisor/dean before departure so they are fully aware you will be studying abroad. They will be able to help you select courses that will count towards your major and that will be easily transferable for credit when you return.

Schedule Meeting with Study Abroad Office

Contact your study abroad office at your home university to discuss study abroad credit approval and other specific procedures to be completed for your program overseas.  This is an important step as it may reveal crucial steps towards avoiding complications and making your transition abroad seamless. In addition, your study abroad advisor need to complete your “Statement from University” form. You can send this to them from your online application.

Financial Aid

Schedule Meeting with Financial Aid Advisor

While we strive to keep our programs affordable, we recognize that many students need financial help.  The good news is that most financial aid you are currently receiving is applicable toward study abroad.  Generally, you can transfer federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, that do not need to be repaid until after graduation.

See the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 102-325, 106 Stat.448):  The act was re-authorized in the summer of 1992 to include a number of provisions to facilitate the use of federal financial aid for study abroad.  (NAFSA:  Association of International Educators Newsletter, Volume 44, No 3/Dec-Jan 1993).

The U.S. Department of Education advised that the Perkins Loans, SSIG Grant Program, Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Stafford Loans, SLS loans, PLUS Loans and Consolidation loans can now be used for study abroad.  Your study abroad experience does not have to be compulsory for your degree program in order to apply your aid.  Please contact your home institution financial aid office to discuss your financial aid options for study abroad.


Consortium Agreements

If you are currently receiving financial aid (federal loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) from your home institution please follow these steps.  The financial aid you currently receive may not be processed in the same manner and the same amounts may not be awarded to you.

Step 1:  Visit your home university’s financial aid office and inform them you will be studying abroad through The Education Abroad Network.  Ask them how much of your current aid will transfer for a study abroad experience. You will also need to check if there is additional paperwork specific to your home university.

Step 2:  Ask your financial aid office if they have a “consortium agreement” (do not worry if this is a foreign term to you, they will know what it is!) which essentially means they will complete all paperwork regarding your existing financial aid while you are studying abroad.  This is the ideal arrangement as it makes the whole process easier for everyone.  You will also need to have a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form filled out that will be provided to you by your Program Manager.

Step 3:  If they have a consortium agreement, most likely they will have an existing agreement that is university specific. TEAN will likely have to sign this for you and send it back to them. It will not go to your overseas institution. The TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form should then be faxed or emailed to us.

Unfortunately, not all universities will have a consortium agreement nor sign a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form.  If this applies to your school please consult us immediately for further guidance.

Please note: The financial aid process is very complex and adequate planning is necessary.  You should contact your home institution’s financial aid office if you will, or think you may need to, apply loans or aid to your study abroad program. TEAN is not a lending institution so unfortunately, all financial aid and loan discussions will need to be made within your home university’s financial aid office.  

Scholarships

Scholarships

In addition to the current financial aid you receive, you may want to consider one of our many scholarships. Each year TEAN awards thousands of scholarship dollars to qualified program participants.  Awards range from $500 – $2,500, and we have  categories including need-based and merit-based.  In addition, there are scholarship opportunities available through several host universities and external organisations. Review details of the available study abroad scholarships.

Academic Differences

Academic Differences in New Zealand

Academic terminology overseas is different compared to American terms.  For example, at some New Zealand universities a “course” actually means a “degree program,” such as “I am studying the Bachelor of Business course,” while a “paper” refers to an individual class/subject matter.  Below we have outlined some of the main academic differences that American study abroad students have consistently noted.

Limited assessment/assignments

This will vary for each faculty, but in general, most courses have only limited assessments/assignments throughout the course of the semester.  For example, some courses have one paper worth 20% and one final exam worth 80% of the final grade.  This is very different from the American system where there is usually continual assessment, i.e. quizzes, essays, papers, midterm and final exams.  In the American system students often know how they are progressing throughout the semester.  With the limited on-going assessment throughout the semester in the New Zealand systems, many students think there is no point going to class because there are fewer assignments.  However, given that there are fewer assignments, each assessment becomes proportionately more important and can make it harder to get a good grade in a course.  If you fail one assignment you will have a lot of ground to make up with the remaining assignment or exam, and how much ground you are able to makeup can be mathematically limited.  Do not get lulled into a false sense of security.  Do the coursework as the semester progresses.  If you don’t, when the mid-term/final exam is upon you, it will be quite difficult to pass the class.  At that point, it will be too late to withdraw from the class so the poor mark will be on your official transcript.

Emphasis on independent work

Even though there are limited assignments, it is expected that students are doing continuous independent research/study during the course. Students may not get extra points for attending class and participating, but if a student continually misses class the lecturer will notice and can factor the absences into the final grade.  Additionally, some American students are used to having professors available daily for assistance if they are finding the course difficult.  It may vary from department to department, but in general, students in New Zealand are expected to be independent, do the work and make sure they pass the class on their own.

Courses in New Zealand can be more difficult

As the degree programs are very streamlined (e.g. if you are a business major all you take is business — there are no general education requirements).  In addition, New Zealand students have prepared for their degree in high school.  As such, first year economics at the university, for example, is quite difficult, as it is assumed students had a significant background in economics in high school.  In contrast, in the U.S. most first year students, regardless of their degree, take broader courses to satisfy general education requirements.  Such general education courses tend to be a bit easier since they are intended to be taken by a variety of students from a variety of academic disciplines, and not necessarily by students specializing in that field.  This also means New Zealand students have significant background in their area of study by the time they reach second and third year of college.

New Zealand Course Levels

Study abroad students will generally take a combination of 100/1000, 200/2000 and 300/3000 level courses.  Course levels in New Zealand do not correspond to the same course level in the U.S.  Because New Zealanders earn an undergraduate degree in three years versus the customary four years in the U.S., course levels are slightly different than what most students are accustomed to at their home institution.  For example, a 400/4000 level course in the U.S. generally equates to a “senior” year course, but in New Zealand a 400/4000 level course would equal a “Graduate” course.  Please see the chart below for more examples.

Because of these academic differences you should not take all 300 or 3000 level courses at your overseas university just because you are a junior.  300/3000 level courses in New Zealand are equivalent to “senior” year courses in the U.S.  “senior” year courses assume the highest knowledge base going into the course, which many U.S. juniors or sophomores may not possess.  Most universities will allow you to take some 300/3000 level courses, but they will strongly recommend you take a balance of first, second and third year courses to ensure you are not academically overwhelmed.

We will discuss these academic differences in more detail upon arrival.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding academic differences please do not hesitate to contact us.  The majority of our participants do quite well overseas, but it is important to be aware of the academic differences.   Participants need to be prepared for the pitfalls as there will be many potential distractions.

Assessment

New Zealand institutions determine grades quite differently from U.S. institutions. It is common for U.S. students to start with a 100% when they turn in an assignment.  As the teacher marks the paper and finds mistakes, the student is marked down until they reach a final grade.  At New Zealand universities, however, students start with a 0% and are marked up as the teacher finds things correct until they reach a final grade for that assignment.  As a result, students will generally end up with lower grades overseas than they would have received in the U.S.  For example, overseas a 75% on a paper is normally a “Credit” which is equal to a “B” in the U.S.  It is much harder to get a higher grade in New Zealand than in the U.S.  This can affect students psychologically – that is, students accustomed to receiving grades in the 80 – 90% range will be disappointed to receive lower percentage scores (75%), even though the percentage translates to the same “B” grade.

Final Exams

You are required to take your final exam. Even if you could pass the course without taking the final exam based on your prior grades, you must take the exam to pass the course. If you do not take your final exam this will result in a Did Not Complete (DNC) on your transcript instead of a letter grade.

Grading Scale

Below is a general comparison of the New Zealand grading system and their American grading equivalencies.  Please note this comparison is only general and your home institution ultimately decides the amount of credit you will receive and the grade equivalencies.

New Zealand Grade Percentage Range US Grade
A+, A, A- 75-100% A
B+ 70-74% B
B 65-69% B
B- 60-64% B
C+ 55-59% C
C 50-54% C
D (Fail) 40-49% F
E (Fail) 39% and under F

Please note: Most U.S. universities do not include overseas grades in the student’s total GPA. The credit is recognized as transfer credit, but is excluded from all GPA calculations. However, this may be different at your home institution. Please check with your home university regarding their transfer credit policies.

Get a Room

Overview

Snapshot

In New Zealand we have found the preferred housing for students is on or off campus university housing in all locations. Past TEAN students have loved living with Kiwi students, and other international students from all over the world. This section provides details on the necessary steps you need to take to secure housing in New Zealand; further details about the New Zealand housing options; information on finding your own housing; and utilities differences in New Zealand.

TEAN Housing

Complete the Housing Forms

You will need to complete a housing questionnaire. Your responses on this form are used by your TEAN Program Manager to complete your New Zealand university housing applications.  All housing TEAN uses in New Zealand offer single rooms. Therefore roommate requests in the housing form refer to any students you may wish to share an apartment with. In some locations, it’s not an option to request housemates.

Respond to your Program Manager’s email request for housing preferences

Your TEAN Program Manager will complete the New Zealand university housing forms on your behalf. In some instances we may need to ask you some further questions not available on our housing questionnaire, and obtain your preferences where there is more than one option. This process usually occurs in early October for Spring applications, and mid-March for Fall applications.


Catered vs Self-Catered Housing

Self-catered

Most student housing in New Zealand is self-catered, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking. We find most students studying abroad prefer the autonomy and control over food costs associated with a self-catered option.

Catered

There are only two schools (Massey-Palmerston North & Lincoln) where we recommend both catered and self-catered options. Meal plans are not included in your TEAN fees, and these costs will be billed separately. Most catered housing in New Zealand is aimed at first-year university students. Note that a catered hall in New Zealand is very different to what some students may be used to in the U.S. There are usually one or two main course options per meal and the variety is usually limited, so we don’t necessarily recommend the fully catered halls. Some past TEAN students have liked the Lincoln and Massey – Palmerston North catered options as it enabled them to meet a lot of local students, and so those options are included by TEAN mainly for this reason.


Housing Deposits

Your final program invoice will include a housing security deposit of USD$350 (subject to change).  This deposit is refundable, less any cleaning costs, at the end of the semester provided the unit is left in satisfactory condition and all furniture items are accounted for and intact.  Generally, you will receive the deposit 6-8 weeks after the conclusion of the semester, provided you have completed the Refund Request Form located on our website.


Terms of Residence

We provide accommodation for the entire orientation program and the duration of your academic semester, including semester breaks.  In addition, students are generally allowed to stay in units until one day after all university exams finish.  Please reference the program calendar for exact dates.  We can also recommend short-term housing for any participant wishing to stay past the program term.

Housing by Program

Housing by Program

Review details about the housing options for your program below.


AUT University

AUT houses TEAN students in Wellesley Student Apartments, which are located in downtown Auckland and offer self-catered, apartment style living . More details on the housing can be found here.  The apartments are all “Self-Catered” apartments, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking. If you are the type who prefers to eat out you’ll have an inexhaustible number of options in Auckland.


University of Auckland

While the University of Auckland offers numerous types of housing, we recommend you select from the below two housing options. Past TEAN students have highly recommend both of the below accommodations. Please note that while we can submit preferences, we cannot guarantee your first preference, since final allocations are done by the University of Auckland.

Option #1: Carlaw Park Student Village

Key points:

  • New facility that opened early 2014
  • About 10 minute walk to the middle of campus
  • 12 minute walk to bustling Queen Street
  • Auckland Domain (large park) right on your doorstep
  • 3 – 4 bedroom per apartment
  • Mixed gender apartments possible
  • Single bedrooms
  • Self Catered

Option #2: Parnell Student Village (PSV)

Key points: 

  • 25 min. walk from campus / 30 min walk from city center
  • 5 min. walk to shopping
  • Near a large park – the Auckland Domain.
  • Residential/community setting with postgraduate student mix
  • 4-6 bedrooms per apartment with shared bathroom and kitchen
  • Self-catered
  • All single bedrooms
  • Male and female students live in the same apartments
  • Plenty of green, outdoor space for students to congregate within PSV grounds.
  • See photo album on their Facebook page here.

The down side to the Parnell apartments that TEAN students have commented on in the past is the 25 minute walk to campus. It’s a beautiful walk through the park, and there is a bus as an alternative option, but it is obviously further from campus than Carlaw Park Student Village. The positive though being the proximity to Parnell Village – with cafes, bars, and close walk to grocery stores.

Again, please note that while we make every effort to accommodate your first preference, the University of Auckland ultimately makes the final decision on your allocation.


Massey University  Palmerston North

Below are the housing options we recommend based on past student feedback. Please note that Massey University makes the final allocations based on availability, so it may not be possible for you to get your first choice.

Option #1: Matai, Miro, Tawa, and Totara

Key points:

  • Predominantly first year students
  • On campus
  • Catered – meal plan required

Option #2: Atawhai

Key points:

  • Mature students
  • Technically on campus, but 15 min. walk on wooded trail to class
  • Secluded
  • Self-Catered

Option #3: Ruahine and Tararua

Key points:

  • Same as Atawhai

Remember that “Self-Catered” apartments have no meal plan associated with them, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking.

You can also get general information about housing at Massey – Palmerston North here. Please note that meal plans are not included in your TEAN program fees and Massey will invoice you directly for any meal plans.


Victoria University of Wellington

Below are the housing options we recommend based on past student feedback. Please note that Victoria University makes the final allocations based on availability, so it may not be possible for you to get your first choice.

Option #1:
  Everton Hall

Key points: 

  • Predominantly second year students. More Kiwi students.
  • Near campus
  • Apt. style residential setting
  • IMPORTANT: TEAN fees do not include utilities or Internet for Everton. You will share & pay these costs with your roommates during the semester.

Option #2: Te Kotahinga

Key points: 

  • No first year students
  • Other study abroad/international students.
  • Near campus
  • TEAN fees include utilities and Internet. Usage above allocation may incur a fee from Victoria
  • This is the most popular option among TEAN students
  • These are small houses and flats that are near campus.
  • Each house/flat is different and TEAN cannot guarantee which houses students will be accommodated in.
  • They are all basic student accommodation.

All accommodation options are “Self-Catered,”, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking. If you are the type who prefers to eat out you’ll have plenty of options and opportunities in Wellington. We find most students studying abroad prefer the autonomy and control over food costs associated with a self-catered option.

You can also get general information about housing in Wellington here.


Massey University – WEllington

The Massey University Wellington campus offers 3 or 5 bedroom, self-catered, apartment style living. This is medium density living, located in the city center of Wellington. More details on the housing can be found here. Massey University makes the final allocations based on availability, so it may not be possible for you to get your first choice. The apartments are all “Self-Catered” apartments, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking. If you are the type who prefers to eat out you’ll have an inexhaustible number of options in Wellington. We find most students studying abroad prefer the autonomy and control over food costs associated with a self-catered option. Internet is not included in your TEAN program fees, you will have the option to set this up when you arrive.


University of Otago

All of our study abroad students live in university flats (apartment homes) located a short walk (5-15 min.) from the main part of campus. You can learn more about Otago’s flats here.

The flats are all “Self-Catered” apartments, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking. If you are the type who prefers to eat out you’ll have plenty of options and opportunities in Dunedin. We find most students studying abroad prefer the autonomy and control over food costs associated with a self-catered option.  You will live with other international students and a local (kiwi) student. Otago purposefully does not house students from the same program together.


University of Canterbury

TEAN students live in Ilam Apartments. They’re close to campus and are self catered. The units have basic kitchens and you will purchase your groceries and cook in your flat. More information on Ilam Apartments can be found here: Ilam Apartments


Lincoln University

Below are the housing options we recommend based on past student feedback. Please note that Lincoln University makes the final allocations based on availability, so it may not be possible for you to get your first choice.

Option #1: Self-Catered

Key points: 

  • Fully furnished flats (apts.)
  • All meals on your own (option to purchase meals from the dining hall)
  • The most autonomous option
  • Farm Road & The Crescent

Option #2: Catered

Key points: 

  • Living with first year New Zealand students
  • 19 meals per week provided (brunch & dinner on weekends). Note that TEAN fees do not include meals.
  • Colombo, Lawry, Stevens, Southland & Hudson Halls

If you want to live independently the Farm Road and The Crescent flats are ‘Self-Catered’ apartments, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking, and meal plans are not offered. The grocery store is a walk or short bus ride away from campus. However, you can also buy meals on a cash basis from the catered hall cafeterias.

You can get general information about housing Lincoln here.

Electricity

Electricity in Your New Home

Voltage & Plugs

The United States uses 110-volt electricity, whereas most countries outside North America use 220-volt electricity. You may need to use a converter or a transformer to change the 220-volt electricity into 110-volt electricity in order to use a 110-volt device overseas; however, most newer electronics convert voltage automatically.  Check your model to be sure.

Similarly, electrical outlets abroad have different numbers of prong openings and variations on their distribution.  Plugs on your devices will require an adapter in order to be used. You can find an outlet converter cheaply (around $5)  at online stores like Amazon.com.

The Hair Dryer Conundrum

We recommend leaving your hair dryer at home and purchasing a cheap model once you arrive in country. In some cases, it may be cheaper and significantly more convenient to simply purchase low-cost yet essential electronic devices once abroad. For example, hair dryers often take up much needed packing space and are inexpensive abroad, so purchasing a plug adaptor might not be cost effective. Use discretion when making these decisions to determine what’s best for you.

Doing it Yourself

Doing it Yourself

When it comes to off-campus housing, which is often the preferred alternative in many instances, some participants may mistakenly think it is easier or less expensive to find their own housing upon arrival.  Please think again.  While you may luck into a good housing situation, chances are you will run into some challenges and hassles that may complicate your stay, to say the least.  You may find that:

  • You are locked into a 6-12 month lease.
  • Safe housing near campus can be difficult to find.
  • Public transport is limited.
  • Many landlords and real estate agents are not willing to deal directly with students.
  • Set-up and payment of utilities can be a real hassle and sometimes not possible for international students.
  • Many units come unfurnished, meaning you must rent furniture (a costly option).
  • There is no one to serve as liaison with your landlord or roommates should a dispute arise.

Pre-arranged housing is truly your best option!

Get Booked

Overview

Snapshot

It’s time to book your flights! It’s really happening – get excited! This section details information regarding booking flights for New Zealand and optional mid-semester break excursions. We also provide advice about insurance if you plan to travel outside of New Zealand.

Flights

Booking Flights

Each semester The Education Abroad Network offers suggested flight itineraries with a partner travel agent in order to provide an easier booking process. The Education Abroad Network partners with Flight Centre (Corporate Traveller) to build itineraries for our students studying abroad across all of our locations.


Review Your Host University’s Calendar

  • Visit our Dates page to find more details regarding your host university calendar.
  • Make sure you are aware of the Queenstown 
Orientation dates.
  • Do not book your return flight before the last day of exams at your host university.
  • Make sure you are arriving on the correct date.

Important Tips before Booking

  • Pay attention to the taxes & fuel surcharges that will be added to the total fare. Sometimes these can be very high and surprisingly they can vary considerably between the different airlines.
  • Pay attention to any cancellation policies and ticketing fees. Many great deals are non-refundable and have quite a few rules and regulations for use.
  • We recommend booking any domestic flights from your home city on the same ticket as your international flight in order to get international baggage allowances as well as to ensure that you will be booked on the next available flight in the event that a connection is missed.
  • Keep in mind most travel agencies try and arrange a 1.5 – 3 hour window of time in between domestic and international connections.
  • If you need to re-check your bags in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Houston you should allow 4 to 6 hours between flights. This may seem like a very long time but with any potential flight delays it is better to be waiting at the airport for your international flight versus missing your flight overseas.
  • You will be given a pickup time window for your arrival in Queenstown to be eligible for the group pickup. If you miss this scheduled time and arrive late, then you will need to take a taxi or shuttle to the hotel. Further information on this will be provided closer to your departure.
  • If you want to arrive early before the start of Orientation, please keep in mind you will be responsible for extra costs for taxis and/or accommodations.
  • We strongly discourage booking flights with budget airlines (Spirit, Frontier, etc) as the customer service and dependability with these airlines can often times lead to travel disruptions on departure day.  
  • There are several benefits to booking your flight through our partner travel agency Flight Centre (Corporate Traveller), which include: personal attention from our partners who are organizing the flights; competitive booking options; convenience of assistance with booking domestic connecting flights; ease of not having to organize it on your own (Flight Centre has suggested flight itineraries); comfort of knowing there is the proper amount of time scheduled in between connecting flights and comfort of knowing that we will arrange your airport pickup if you arrive within the scheduled time.

Excursions

Why enroll in a TEAN excursion?

  1. Value and awesome savings.  We know where to go, what to see, and who to work with in all of the locations we offer.
  2. Get inspired for your own travels. After participating in one of these guided tours, students will be more prepared to plan and execute their own adventures during the semester.
  3. Excursions are arranged to coincide with orientation dates and/or Australian universities typical semester break schedule.  While these excursions/dates are always subject to change, below is a list of semester break excursions we intend to offer for the semester.  All excursions/dates will be confirmed with the release of the program calendar.

Sample Excursions

South Island

New Zealand’s South Island offers some of the most magnificent natural environments this planet has to offer and is home to some of the world’s most extreme adventure sports! From the Southern Hemisphere’s highest (and original) bungee jump, to jet boating through ravines, whitewater rafting raging rapids and hiking glaciers, you won’t be bored or disappointed! This excursion is usually offered as a mid-semester break excursion.

Read More

Thailand

Take advantage of New Zealand’s ideal location in the South Pacific and explore exotic Asian destinations. With TEAN’s exclusive nine-day excursion to Thailand, you’ll find yourself bathing elephants in a river, learning to cook Thai food, visiting exotic temples and spending the evening with hilltribe villagers. With the culture of the north and the beaches of the south, this excursion, usually offered during mid-semester break, is not to be missed.

Read More

Travel Outside New Zealand

Travel Outside New Zealand

TEAN students are automatically registered for the StudentSafe insurance that is a requirement of studying in New Zealand, and this fee is included in your programs fees. This comprehensive travel and medical insurance covers you for a maximum of 16 days for temporary visits to Australia, Bali, Lombok and the Islands of the South Pacific and return to New Zealand during the Period of Insurance.

There are some limitations to Studentsafe Insurance. If you have any existing health concerns, contact your current insurance provider before you leave for New Zealand. Medical insurance for higher levels of need is your own responsibility. If you plan to travel outside of the above listed destinations during your time abroad, you may need to arrange your own insurance.

For more details, refer to the StudentSafe policy online.

Get Documents

Overview

Snapshot

This section is very important. It also tends to be a little boring, so please stick with us. Before you jet off for the time of your life, there are contracts you need to sign, forms you need to complete; a New Zealand student visa you need to apply for and be granted; and a final payment you need to make. Please read this section carefully, and when the time comes, your Program Manager will guide you through it all – step by step.

Contracts

Program Contracts

Sign Acceptance of Offer from University

After your application and courses are submitted to your host university, if accepted, you will receive a Letter of Offer.  In some instances the New Zealand university will require you to sign an acceptance of offer, or require you to go online to accept your offer and register for classes. Your TEAN Program Manager will talk you you through the relevant process for your New Zealand university.

Sign University Housing Forms

New Zealand universities will issue an offer of housing, that in most cases requires students to sign the university housing contract. TEAN staff will forward these contracts to you, and you will just need to complete the forms, and return them to TEAN by email.

Sign Contracts with TEAN

You will receive a contract from TEAN that will cover important notices and policies for you to keep in mind during your time abroad.  By signing the program contract this will also allow us to introduce you to your fellow TEAN New Zealand students prior to departure.  Both you and a parent/guardian will need to electronically sign the document to confirm your understanding of the terms & conditions of your program.

Student Visa

Student Visa

All students will be required to apply for a student visa to study abroad in New Zealand.  Your Program Manager will supply you with specific, step-by-step instructions when you are eligible to apply, but it is important to understand the process and what you can expect.

Letter of Offer

Upon acceptance into a New Zealand university you will be issued with a letter of offer.  You will not be able to apply for your student visa until you receive this offer letter.

Receive Visa Application Process & Instructions

You cannot apply for your student visa more than three months before your university commences classes. Your Program Manager will notify you when you are eligible to apply for your student visa, which is typically 10 – 12 weeks prior to your departure.  You will also receive step-by-step instructions on the process.

Passport Reminder

If you don’t currently have a passport, you should apply for your passport as soon as possible once you apply for your study abroad experience in New Zealand, as this process can take approximately 4 – 8 weeks and will be required for your student visa application as well.

Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the conclusion of your semester to satisfy New Zealand’s entry requirements.  All countries have different requirements for passport validity so be sure to check details for any other countries you plan to visit before your final return home.

Non-US citizens

You need to notify us if you are not a U.S. citizen and/or you are studying overseas for two semesters, as your visa application procedures will be slightly more complex.  For example, students studying for more than one semester may require medical check-ups and other supplemental forms.  Please contact our U.S. office for further instructions.

Cost of Student Visa

The New Zealand student visa for US citizens is free as long as you’re applying outside of New Zealand. The cost of the visa is subject to change at the discretion of Immigration New Zealand.

Working Rights

Students on a one semester visa are not eligible to work while in New Zealand. For more information on working while studying in New Zealand check out the New Zealand immigration website.

Processing Time

Unlike other countries, New Zealand student visa applications do not require applying at a local embassy in person.  In recent semesters, processing times have ranged from two to four weeks.

Final Payment

FINAL PAYMENT

Final invoices will be sent out approximately 60 days prior to your departure. Financial Aid Agreements must be submitted by this time as well to account for any delay in payment. If you are relying heavily on Financial Aid funds, please note that we will require a minimum of $4,000 to be applied to your account prior to your departure.   

You can pay your final invoice by check, wire transfer or money order: You can make checks payable to: The Education Abroad Network and mail to us at:

The Education Abroad Network
505 N. LaSalle St., Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654

Credit card payments for the final invoices are subject to a 3% processing fee. 


 REFUNDS

Refunds Prior to Semester Commencement

If a student withdraws from the program prior to arrival overseas, we can only reimburse the portion of the program fee that has not already been allocated to some aspect of the student’s program (ex: housing, deposits, etc). Generally this will not include the $500 deposit (see above), but is subject to our program contract, though students are usually eligible to receive close to a full refund amount. See your program contract for the withdrawal date for your program. Any withdrawals after this date will incur a $2,350 cancellation fee plus any additional costs that can’t be recovered.

Refunds During the Semester

In these situations, refunds are only available for the amount of the program fee that is recoverable at the time the student returns home. The amount recoverable relates to tuition and housing fees only and is dictated by the refund policy of each host university. Our official refund policy is outlined in the program contract provided to each participant.


PAST DUE ACCOUNTS

All past-due amounts will accrue simple interest at 12% per annum.

Get Going

Overview

Snapshot

It’s almost time! Now you just need to review some final information on insurance while abroad; follow our New Zealand packing tips; start planning how you will manage your money while abroad; review cell phone options; and read up on details on your arrival to Queenstown for Orientation. Our New Zealand-based staff are looking forward to meeting you when you get off the plane in Queenstown!

Insurance

Insurance in New Zealand

The New Zealand government through the Ministry of Education Code of Practice for Pastoral Care of International Students requires that international students studying in New Zealand have medical and travel insurance. The cost of this insurance is included in your final program fee and enrollment is automatic. This insurance, called StudentSafe, provides both medical and some travel insurance.

Your medical insurance policy includes the following:

  • Medical evacuation
  • Hospitalization
  • Non-elective surgery
  • Emergency dental services
  • Emergency optical replacement

There are some limitations to StudentSafe Insurance. Some pre-existing conditions are not covered so if you have pre-existing health concerns, please contact your insurance provider to learn about additional coverage before you leave for New Zealand and also notify your Program Manager.

StudentSafe Insurance also includes medical evacuation and repatriation of remains (in the tragic event of a death, a body will be returned to the home of the participant).


Personal Articles Insurance

We recommend students put anything of value i.e., digital camera, iPods, jewelry, musical instruments, cell phone, laptops, etc. on a Personal Articles Policy (many homeowners already have this policy so students most likely can add their items onto their parents’ Personal Article Policy).  This insurance often covers the full value of the items world-wide, with no deductible.  Typically, items valued up to $3000 can be covered for an approximately $30 premium.  We encourage students to take pictures of item(s) and note their model, make and serial number, as well as saving receipts when possible.   Purchase of this insurance is left to the discretion of the student and his/her parents, since StudentSafe does cover some coverage for personal items.

We believe that the combination of the Student Safe and a Personal Article Policy offers the broadest, most comprehensive coverage while students study and travel abroad.


Travel Insurance

Trip Insurance is optional and is not included in TEAN program fees.  We recommend considering supplemental trip insurance to protect against unexpected mishaps (i.e. lost luggage) that can occur while traveling. Plans range from $100 to $350 and can be purchased through various insurance carriers. If you would like to discuss plans with TEAN’s recommended travel liaison please contact Flight Centre at 312-924-1258.

Medications Abroad

Bringing Prescriptions

For your medications, you can bring up to three months with you (birth control medication and vitamins are typically ok for more), and you’ll want to have it clearly marked with your name/prescription on the label in your carry on luggage. Students typically do not have issues bringing the medications with them on the plane and in fact, it’s suggested that you keep them in your carry on so you can answer any questions by customs and/or airport security if necessary.

However, if you need more than 3 months worth sent to you, you’ll need to visit a doctor in New Zealand (doctors are available at most campuses) in order to get a customs clearance form filled out. This form will say that you are allowed to have the medications shipped in and that when they come through customs (and are searched) that they should not be intercepted and/or destroyed. Doctors will be easily accessible on campus and close to housing so it shouldn’t be too difficult, but just something you should be prepared for and take care of in the first few weeks on campus. You will get more info and advice on visiting a doctor once you arrive in country, but all of our students will have medical coverage and will receive insurance cards during their university orientation.

Medications including amphetamine and dexamphetamine, such as Adderall have strict requirements as they are considered controlled substances in New Zealand. For further details regarding bringing medicines into New Zealand, please refer to the New Zealand Government website, Medsafe.  Any specific questions not answered on the website, can be directed to MedSafe New Zealand directly to get the most accurate advice: medclearance@moh.govt.nz


Additional Resources

Medsafe General Information
Bringing/Importing Medication
Medicine Classification Database 

Packing List

Packing Advice for Your Semester Abroad

  • Follow the “Less is more” theory or as previous students have advised “Pack everything you might need, then take half of it out”
  • Seasons can vary greatly (windy, cool, damp, hot and humid). Google average temperatures in your destination. TEAN Dunedin alum have indicated that they did not expect it to get as as cold as it did – pack at least one warm jacket.
  • We suggest planning to layer clothing in cooler weather rather than bringing bulky clothing
  • Put labels on your belongings (especially on luggage)
  • Please refer to your airline carrier’s website for current baggage restrictions on international flights.
  • Most past students suggest using a large backpack as your checked luggage, which is also useful for overnight hiking trips
Baggage Allowance

For exact baggage restrictions (including dimensions and weight) check your airline’s website. If you will exceed one checked item it is generally more economical, safer and easier to pay the airlines for additional checked baggage versus shipping items to New Zealand. However you would need to pay excess baggage charges for each separate flight, and for your round trip flights the costs for an extra bag are expected to be over US$300.

Suggested Packing List

Please Note:  The packing list provided is a suggested list. Triple-check to ensure you have everything necessary!  The Education Abroad Network is not responsible for forgotten items.

Necessary Items

  • A raincoat with warm lining (detachable is best) or waterproof Gore-tex jacket
  • Jeans (multiple pairs because they tend to be expensive in New Zealand)
  • Khakis/lightweight pants
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear and socks
  • Shorts and T-shirts
  • Two or three pairs of comfortable walking shoes:  tennis shoes, shoes for hiking (lace-up shoes), and casual shoes for school
  • A fleece (for any cool weather)
  • Formal wear – dress or dress-pants and collared shirt
  • Cotton sweaters
  • Cotton shirts – long and short sleeve (good for layering)
  • Bathing suits
  • Sweatshirt and pair of sweatpants/running pants
  • Accessories (belts, jewelry, hair accessories)
  • Sun screen (UV rays are much stronger in the southern hemisphere)
  • Beach towel or extra bath towel (optional)
  • Hat (to protect from the sun)
  • Camera and an extra memory card
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Glasses:  prescription (if necessary) and sunglasses
  • Smaller backpack for books/weekend travel
  • iPod/MP3 player
  • Compact travel alarm clock
  • Prescription medicine (bring note/proof from doctor) – only 3 month supply allowed.  Contact us for instructions on what to do if you need more.
  • Wall adapter for electrical devices that don’t require a voltage convertor (i.e. cameras, your laptop, etc.)

Unnecessary Items

  • Extra toiletries – you can easily buy these in New Zealand so save room in your luggage
  • Bicycle – you can rent or buy a used one with less hassle
  • Electrical appliances, including hairdryer, straighteners, curling irons etc. – you can purchase them in New Zealand (otherwise you will need a voltage convertor and electrical adaptor)
  • All kitchen supplies – utensils, pots/pans, crockery/glasses
  • Bedding/Linens – TEAN has arranged for a bedding pack to be provided in all accommodation.

Carry On

While there is little chance of this happening, if you plan on the airline losing your baggage for at least 24 – 48 hours you will be prepared and avoid extra inconvenience.  Pack travel sized toiletries, medication and change of clothes in your carry-on.  This will more than likely not happen, but if it does you will be ready.

What Else
  • Obtain some New Zealand currency before you leave the United States.
  • Make copies of important documents (student visa, passport, driver’s license, credit/bank cards, flight itinerary, travel insurance info, etc.) – bring one set with you, store the others in various places in case your luggage or wallet is lost or stolen and leave one copy at home.
  • If you’re planning to have additional courses approved once you’re on campus, you should bring a current academic transcript that reflects your most recent semester grades.
  • Extra passport photos. They are cheaper to obtain in the U.S. and necessary for an 18+ card that you will need in New Zealand.

Arrival in Queenstown

Arrival in Queenstown

Please complete the Arrival Forms sent to you by your Program Manager. We use this information to help coordinate airport pick up when you first arrive in New Zealand as well as preparing for any domestic flights you will have after orientation.

Specific arrival details will be provided to you prior to departure but in general, you will need to arrive within the allocated arrival window provided to you during the flight booking process. If you arrive in Queenstown before 4:00PM, you will be met at the airport by TEAN staff and provided an airport transfer to the orientation accommodation.

It is your responsibility to notify TEAN in a timely manner if you experience flight delays and/or itinerary changes.


Contact Information

Prior to your departure your Program Manager will provide you with contact details for all key TEAN personnel, including your Resident Director, as well as information on your local embassy and emergency contacts.

Safety

Safety Abroad

Emergency Response Plan

We have created an Emergency Response Plan for our study abroad locations that will be implemented by both our Resident Director staff in New Zealand and our U.S.-based staff in Chicago.  Our staff will work with students, parents, and study abroad staff at both the student’s home and host university to provide the most up-to-date information regarding any situations that may arise while studying abroad.  Our participants will be given Emergency Contact Information before they depart the U.S. and also briefed at orientation on specific instructions to follow in case of an emergency.

TEAN Protocols

In the event of a health emergency, serious accident, natural disaster, crime, or death each program location has a contingency plan that can be activated. The Education Abroad Network will contact participants, their emergency contacts, and home universities in the event of such a situation.

Disclaimer– Nothing in this plan is a guarantee that any specific action will be taken in any given situation, nor is anything in this document a contract or part of a contract between TEAN and any other party, nor is any statement in this document intended to sell a service to a prospective customer, nor to attempt to persuade any party to avail themselves of any program or service provided by TEAN. Health, safety, and recovery from emergency situations are the sole responsibilities of each individual participant

After Hours Urgent Line

TEAN personnel are available to assist you with an emergency 24/7. In addition to having access to a Resident Director as well as instructions on contacting Police/Fire/Ambulance in your host country, you and your family will be able to reach us after hours in the event of an emergency. Although we will not always be your best resource to resolve an issue directly, we work in conjunction with our partners on the ground to make sure students get a quick resolution in crisis situations.

Please call 1-800-585-9658 or 312-239-3710 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5 pm, CST. For urgent assistance after business hours, please call 574.239.6545.

Safety While Abroad

We are committed to the health and safety of every participant.  It is very important that students make informed decisions about their study and travel destinations.  We continually monitor the safety and security of our study abroad program locations as well as popular student travel destinations.  We continue to advise students of the safety and health risks associated with studying and traveling abroad based on the information from the U.S. Department of State travel warnings, local law enforcement, the Australian and New Zealand government, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the World Health Organization.

Tips for Personal Safety

Emergency Contacts:  Be sure to designate a parent or guardian as your Emergency Contact.  This way, information regarding an emergency situation will automatically be passed on to your parents.  Also make sure to provide us with your Emergency Contact’s most up-to-date contact information.

Communication Information:  Provide The Education Abroad Network with accurate and up-to-date contact information regarding your telephone, cell phone, address, and email address.  Be sure to notify your parents and Resident Director in case of an emergency.

Keep Others Informed:  Tell others (your roommates, your parents, your Resident Director) your travel plans.  Keeping others informed will make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.

Stay Informed:  Research the political, cultural, and social climate of your study and travel abroad destination before heading overseas.  While abroad, read local newspapers and watch local news broadcasts for developments that may affect your health and safety.  If you have questions, please contact us either in the U.S. or abroad.

What about anti-American sentiment?  Although individual Americans are generally well liked abroad, there can be negative feelings toward U.S. Government policy.  Participants are urged to use common sense, keep a low profile, dress to blend in, speak softly, avoid overt displays of American patriotism, and avoid all public demonstrations.

Travel and Safety Links

Helpful travel and safety links are listed below.

State Department Travel Warnings
Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization
US Embassies

Orientation

New Zealand Orientation

Upon arrival in Queenstown, our in-country staff will host you for a six-day Orientation to Kiwi life. You’ll be introduced to New Zealand history, Maori culture, and given a taste of why this country is considered one of the adventure capitals of the world. You’ll also receive tips to help you adjust to life as university student in New Zealand. Your TEAN Program Manager will forward you further details about the Orientation program for your semester abroad approximately 2 – 4 weeks prior to your departure.


University Orientation

Your host university will hold a formal orientation lasting from just one day to one week. This orientation is mandatory. Topics discussed may include health insurance enrollment, medical facilities, security, university-sponsored trips and activities, academic enrollment/expectations, and New Zealand media and culture. Although there may be some overlap, your university orientation will touch on specific details for your campus. During this orientation most students will also finalize course registration and receive information on how to receive an official insurance card.

Communicating While Abroad

Communicating While in New Zealand

In consultation with past students, the vast majority have brought their U.S. unlocked smartphone and used the SIM card TEAN has provided upon their arrival in New Zealand. Students then purchase credit for texting and data based on their usage. These are pre-paid packages that you top off as you use them.   

If you plan to bring a phone from home, please consult with your current mobile phone service provider to ensure that your phone unlocked. If you do not do this your phone will not work with another service provider. This is an issue with your U.S. provider and TEAN will not be able to help you with this situation in New Zealand.

Alternatively, you can look into using your current phone with an international roaming plan. Check if your provider has an international roaming agreement with a network in New Zealand. Charges for this service are usually very expensive, so most students do not use this option.

If you’re not planning on bringing a smartphone or your phone can’t be unlocked, we will have very basic phone (think of the ‘Nokia brick phone’) available to you.


Skype

  • Computer to Computer- Skype is a software program that is free to download and use. It allows users anywhere in the world to call each other for free, provided both parties have downloaded the software. TEAN currently uses Skype to communicate with staff around the globe. Visit the Skype website.
  • To Mobile Devices- For a small fee, the same program can be used to call  mobile devices and regular landline phones. For more information on packages visit their website.

Internet Services

Internet services will vary for those students living in university managed accommodations, but all students will have access to Internet services in their accommodation and on campus at their host universities via university computer labs.

Finances While Abroad

Finances while in New Zealand

New Zealand Currency

Like the currency of the United States, New Zealand currency comes in the form of coins and notes.  The basic unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar.  New Zealand has no pennies and everything is rounded to the nearest five cents.  Taxes are also included in labeled prices.

Bringing US Currency to New Zealand

We do not recommend bringing large amounts of cash with you for security and safety reasons.  However, you may wish to bring a small amount of foreign currency for any initial personal expense needs.  Most major banks in large U.S. cities have foreign currency in stock, but smaller, regional banks may have to order the New Zealand dollars.  Therefore, do not wait until the last minute to place your order.  Alternatively, you can exchange money at the airport before you depart for the overseas flight.  This is slightly more expensive than using a local bank (1%-2% higher fees), but much more convenient.  Currency exchanges are not open 24 hours in Queenstown so you should obtain the foreign currency before you depart.

Money Access in New Zealand

Cash (ATMs): The use of an American ATM card is a convenient and fast method to withdraw money in New Zealand.  Most of these transactions are assessed the wholesale exchange rate that applies to large foreign currency transactions, which ultimately means savings for students.  Please check with your bank to ensure your PIN number and ATM card will work abroad.  Some New Zealand banks currently do NOT charge any fees for using ATMs, but see if your home bank will assess fees for foreign withdrawals.

TIP:  Before departing the U.S., determine if your current ATM/bank card is readily accepted at foreign ATM machines. Check if your U.S. bank has an affiliation with a bank in New Zealand, by contacting your current U.S. bank.

Upon arrival overseas, you can also survey several ATMs near your residence and university in order to get a good representative sample. If it appears that you have an obscure ATM card that is not widely accepted, you may want to make a New Zealand bank (and ATM) your prime source of obtaining cash.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are most commonly accepted in New Zealand.  Visa and MasterCard are accepted more regularly than American Express.  Please keep in mind there must be someone readily available to pay your credit card bill or your finance charges will quickly add up.  Most credit card bills can be paid online so you may be able to pay from within New Zealand without involving a third party.

TIPS

  • Your credit card must be in your name as shown on your passport.
  • Be aware that most credit card companies charge approximately 2% for foreign currency transactions.
  • Be sure to notify your credit card company you will be using your card overseas so as to avoid flagging for theft/fraud.

Prepaid Credit Cards

An easy option to help control your spending are prepaid credit cards which can be purchased online through the card web-site, i.e. Visa or Master Card. Prepaid cards can also be purchased at many convenience or large box stores. Prepaid cards work in New Zealand just like they do in the U.S. Some cards even offer the option of purchasing them with foreign currency already loaded like the one found here: http://www.cashpassport.com/

Opening a Local Bank Account 

If you decide to open an account overseas, which is recommended, you will need to bring your passport and some other form of photo identification. There is no need to open a foreign checking account, but having a New Zealand ATM card will ensure that you can access money from anywhere in New Zealand without worrying if your U.S.-issued ATM card will work.

With a New Zealand bank account, you will also be able to deposit funds into your account by doing a wire transfer from U.S. accounts (or other foreign accounts) and make the New Zealand bank your main financial source.

Most foreign banks will accept wire transfers from any U.S. bank, but there are some fees associated with wire transfers both for sending and receiving although this is the safest and most convenient way to send money. Sample rates include USD $20 – $40 for an outgoing wire from the U.S. bank and NZ $20 for an incoming wire to New Zealand.

Banking Recommendations and Summary
  • Our recommendation is to use a combination of the methods listed above, but generally we feel opening a New Zealand bank account is a wise choice.  Check with your parents and review all your options. Just keep in mind the following:
  • U.S.-issued ATM cards are generally not 100% effective in New Zealand. Plus, if lost or stolen it can take several days/weeks to get a replacement card.
  • Personal checks (or checks drawn on U.S. banks) deposited in New Zealand can take up to four weeks to clear.
  • The quickest way to receive money from home is to have the funds deposited into your home bank account and withdraw those funds with an ATM card.  Wire Transfers can take 3-7 days to reach New Zealand.
  • Most major credit cards are widely accepted in New Zealand, but we recommend Visa or MasterCard.
  • If possible, bring some New Zealand currency with you from the U.S. in case you arrive overseas during non-business hours, e.g., when banks and currency exchanges are closed.
Personal Spending

For day-to-day spending, excluding any major travel plans, students should budget approximately the same as they would for a semester at their current U.S. institution plus an additional 10-20% to factor in variances of cost of living and extra activities.  General day-to-day living expenses are comparable in New Zealand to that of major cities in the US; however, students tend to spend more on weekend travel and entertainment when abroad.

Please keep in mind that living in a large metropolitan area will be more expensive than living in a smaller town.