While you are studying in New Zealand, you’re going  to find somewhere to stay. There are a number of ways that you can do this, so you have to be sure that you know exactly what you want to do and where you want to stay while you are studying in the country. Here are some of the most common options and some tips that you can help them out with it.

Halls of Residence

Halls of residence are available at most of the universities and tertiary institutions that are in New Zealand. They are usually near or on the campus, and they are in large buildings. Some countries may call these “residence halls” or “dormitories.” At some universities, you can get a room to yourself; other residence halls may have you share a room with a roommate. All of them have communal meeting areas, dining halls, and laundry rooms.

There are a number of advantages to living in a residence hall. First off, you will never be without company. Being in a hall of residence allows you to interact with other people so that you can make new friends and enjoy activities with them. There are usually people who run the halls, called “wardens” or “residence directors,” depending on the school you are at. These people can help you if there’s a problem with your room or the facilities, and they may even organize activities or events for you and the other people in the hall of residence to enjoy. Living in a residence hall is a very social option, so if you want to get the most exposure to other Kiwis and international students, it may be the way to go. It’s also relatively inexpensive; it costs about $7000 (NZ) per year. Talk to your admissions office or student life office for more information on halls of residence.

Homestay programs

As we’ve mentioned in other areas of the site, people in New Zealand are incredibly hospitable, which means that they are willing to home people while they are studying in New Zealand. These are called Homestay programs, which mean that you get to live with a family in their home with your own room. If you think that you will end up missing a “family” atmosphere, and you want something that’s incredibly cost-effective, a homestay program may be a great option.

If English isn’t your first language, the homestay program may be a big help because it forces you to interact in English with other people. You will also get a big dose of New Zealand culture; many families integrate their homestay students into their family life. They will provide you with meals and do fun activities and traditions with you as well.

There are several websites that can help you to find a homestay family. Here are a few of the best ones out there.

  • http://www.homestayfinder.com/Homestay/New%20Zealand.aspx#.UqioH_RDt8E
  • http://www.newzealand.com/us/homestays/
  • http://www.tourism.net.nz/accommodation/homestays

“Going Flatting” – Rentals

Many study-abroad students will look for rentals so that they can live on their own. Kiwis call this “going flatting.” You can rent apartments, homes, rooms, or whatever else you want to live in. You can live with whoever you want or with no one at all. Many realtors will own rental properties near the universities so that they can rent to students, both native and international.

Here are some of the questions that you need to ask and think about when you are looking for a flat in New Zealand:

  • What comes with the apartment? Many New Zealand properties have a yard and somewhere to park your car. Others will include large appliances, like ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.
  • What is included with your monthly rent payment? Does it just cover your rent, or does it include other utilities? Internet, electricity, gas, trash, water, sewer, and whatever other features that you may need, are they included? Are those things listed on the lease?
  • Do you have a pet that you are bringing with you or do you plan to get one while there? Then you may need to look for an apartment that is pet-friendly.
  • Will you be rooming with other people? Do you want your own room or do you want/need to share one with someone else?
  • What are you responsible for? Yard work, snow shoveling, etc may be your responsibility, but they may also be your landlord’s. Ask them if you want to know more about it.
  • How large is the place that you are renting? Will it seem crowded if you have additional flat-mates, or is it a comfortable size?
  • How much is it per month (or per week, depending on where you are renting) to live there? In that same vein, how long does the lease go for? Is it per year, per month, for your entire college career?
  • What is the security deposit? How much do you need to pay them upfront in order to reserve the spot that you want to live in? Will you get the deposit back upon moving out?
  • Are there any furnishing? As an international student, you may want to look for a rental that has furnishings, so that you don’t have to worry about purchasing them upon your arrival to the country. It may cost a little bit more, but the extra cost is worth reducing the hassle.

Of course, it can be difficult to try and find a rental when you are living on the other side of the world. The internet can help with that; there are even some websites that will allow you to tour the rental property while you are thousands of miles of away.

Always do your research before signing any agreement to rent, so that you can ensure that you are getting everything that you need with your monthly rent payment. You may also be able to get a list of potential rental properties from the university that you are attending; many universities will have that information readily available. You may even be able to find people who are looking for roommates as well, which can help to reduce your costs immensely.

As you can see, there are a number of websites that can really help you out when you are looking to study in New Zealand. If you need more information or need help finding somewhere to stay, contact the international studies office at the university that you are looking to attend. They will be able to help you find the accommodations that you need and they can help you figure out the expenses related to it as well. Good luck on your search for accommodations in New Zealand.

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