Take advantage of what’s on offer
If your university offers specific international accommodation, take advantage of it!
At the University of Otago, they offer “UniFlats” for international students. Before leaving, I was skeptical. UniFlats seemed pricey, and I wanted to live with locals. However, in retrospect, I’m so glad that I decided to live in the international housing.
We had “kiwi hosts” who lived in our flat, showed us the ropes, and were always there to help. The flats were much nicer than many of the other student accommodations, and the UniFlats community was great.
If your university doesn’t offer this, check out TradeMe.
Taylor Weckstein is a US study abroad student studying psychology and neuroscience at the University of Otago in Dunedin
Stay in a homestay
I have had a great time with my homestay family. It feels like a home away from home. They always support me and spend lots of time together. For example we’ll watch movies or My Kitchen Rules (MKR) together. We share our day to day life and talk every evening during dinner – we have conversations! My homestay family also encourages me to keep in touch with my own family using the internet.
Bai Yok from Thailand stayed in a homestay which was arranged for her by the high school she attended in Dunedin
Look for what’s most convenient
My top tip when looking for accommodation in New Zealand is to look for what is most convenient. Since I was only going to be there for a semester, I knew that I wanted to find a place that came with a lot of amenities and made my stay convenient.
I stayed at Ilam Apartments which included amenities such as cookware, furniture, laundry services and bedding. These amenities made it much easier for me to transition to living in New Zealand, especially since I was so tired from the plane ride and orientation week.
I would recommend thinking about what living situation would work best for you and then start searching from there.
Liz Stein is a US study abroad student studying speech therapy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch