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study abroad students walking on a beach in New Zealand

Things to Do in Your First Week in NZ

After going through my own experience, here are some of the things I found most helpful to do in my first week of arriving in New Zealand to study.

The day I first landed in New Zealand to start my semester abroad, I was nervous, excited, happy, and exhausted. 

Because of so many different feelings, it can be hard to know where to start when you first arrive. There’s a lot of things that need to get done, and they’re all important in their own way:

1. Set up your phone

One of the easiest things to do right away is to set up your phone with a new SIM card. 

Whatever airport you land in will typically have shops for SIM card providers right inside the arrival area, and if they don’t there are shops downtown in every city that will be able to help. This makes it easy to compare your options and pick the SIM card that feels right for you based on the amount of data, texts and calls you can make for the offered price. 

It’s important to get a SIM card early because, without it, your phone is useless unless it’s on wifi. 

2. Set up your living space

Now that your phone is working, it’s time to leave the airport and head to your new home for the semester! 

Once there, make a list of things you need, such as kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom items, and your next stop should be a department store to buy everything you couldn’t bring with you. 

Getting all these items right away and setting up your living space will make it feel like home and help instill a sense of belonging in your new city. 

View of Auckland city 4 things to do in the first week in NZ 1125x700

The view out over the Auckland Harbour

3. Explore your city

Once I had a working phone and had moved into my room, I felt much more ready to go out and explore my new city. 

At this point, you'll want to start learning the layout of the city and campus. Some of the first things to look for are restaurants, grocery stores, class locations, coffee shops and any other businesses you feel you might want to go to on a regular basis. 

4. Start to make friends

By the time you've made it this far down the list, it’ll be a few days into your time in New Zealand. 

A great way to make some friends can be planning an easy day trip to something interesting nearby. 

Whether asking roommates or people you run into in your residence hall or posting on a Facebook study abroad page for your university, there are always people who are looking for new activities and friends! 

Things like visiting a museum, going to a local beach, or going for a walk are all great activities to do to bond with new friends. 

With all of these things out of the way, you’ll be well on your way towards an amazing semester!  


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Jake Zastrow study in New Zealand blog

By Jake ZastrowUS Study Abroad Student

Updated 2 years ago

Jake is a US study abroad student from the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he is studying mechanical engineering. Jake particularly loved all of the outdoor activities he was able to do while travelling around New Zealand such as bungy jumping, kite surfing and hiking across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing!

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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