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How to Make Friends in New Zealand

Wondering how to make friends when you arrive in New Zealand? Students share tips on how they made their first friends in New Zealand.

Flatmates and social functions

The closer and closer I got to leaving for New Zealand, the more worried I became about making friends. But it turned out to be really easy for me to make friends, and I met a lot of great people by the end of my first week in the country!

The first friends I met were my flatmates. Living together with other international students is a really helpful way to feel less alone when you are first starting out. This was my first time spending an extended time alone out of my home country, so knowing that I was living with other students who were also away from home was comforting because I knew they were in similar situations. 

Living together with other international students is a really helpful way to feel less alone when you are first starting out.

I made an effort to get to know the other students living in my house, and I attended the social functions thrown by the Victoria University hall staff. I also made an effort to introduce myself to other international students at parties and barbeques, and even at orientation. The first friend I made that I did not live with I met at a gathering for the university hall neighbourhood I lived in. We exchanged contact information and are now very close friends!

Emily Watkins is a US study abroad student studying political science, government & international relations at Victoria University in Wellington

University accommodation

Moving to study in New Zealand feels like a huge decision especially because it’s on the other side of the planet for most of us internationals. However, it is a beautiful country with a large community of international students, especially in Auckland.

I met my first group of friends in university halls. If you are traveling alone, living in university accommodation can be an easy option for you to meet other local and international students.

Stephanie Andraos is a Lebanese student studying for a PhD in Health Sciences at The University of Auckland.

Lifelong friendships

I can’t say I had a first friend in New Zealand. Many of the 26 students in our programme already knew each other from the University of New Hampshire in the US, and by the end of the first day, I knew everyone’s name.

Throughout the programme, I had the chance to really get to know everyone and formed some lifelong friendships which will continue at school next year!

Taylor Lindsey is a US study abroad student studying at Ecoquest in Kaiaua, near Auckland

Orientation week

It is really hard for me to differentiate who my first friend in New Zealand was. I made a group of friends very quickly within the first week of school – Otago Polytechnic has a week of orientation just for international students. It is during this week and the weeks that followed, that I made my friends.

After the first week, several of us started making plans for road trips and dinners. Some of these plans stuck, some did not. All throughout my semester, I did have a constant of at least four friends. We would go to the movies, hang out during breaks, take trips to the beach, and just talk to each other during the week.

As the semester continued our international office had trips for us including a city tour, bowling, dinner, and laser tag. These events helped me connect more with the other international students I did not meet originally.

By the time I left Dunedin, I had loads of friends from all over. Saying goodbye to these friends was very hard, and I cried so much, but knowing I have friends all over the world makes it worth saying goodbye for now.

Samantha Ross is a US study abroad student studying fine arts with a photography major at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin

Taylor Lindsay

By ENZ Kiwi Ambassadors

Updated 11 months ago

Taylor Lindsey (pictured), Emily Watkins, and Samantha Ross are all study abroad students from the United States. Stephanie Andraos is a PhD student from Lebanon.

Follow our Kiwi Ambassadors on Instagram: @studyinnewzealand

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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