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International students planning for their study in New Zealand

How to Plan for Your Arrival

Indian scholarship student Neeraj didn’t have all the information available in one place to help him prepare when he was planning to study abroad. So, he's put together a series of four blog posts based on his experiences which he hopes will become a one-stop shop for potential students thinking about coming to New Zealand. This is the second in the series.

Second up are some of my top tips to help you plan for your trip to study in New Zealand.

1. Start applying

So, after all the brain-storming sessions with friends and family members, jotting down all the pros and cons and convincing them; it is time to start applying to any of the universities (outlined in Why I Chose to Study in New Zealand) for your preferred course.

Firstly, you will get a conditional offer letter and then on meeting those conditions, you will be provided with an unconditional offer letter stating confirmation of your place at the university.

2. Get Visa Ready

Once you have the confirmation of your place at university you can apply for your visa.

Refer to Immigration NZ for all the details regarding this:


Generally, if you are enrolled as a full-time student, you will be entitled to 20 hours of part-time work during studies and 40 hours of full-time during semester breaks and vacations.

Students visas applications can take up to eight weeks to process. Make sure have applied in plenty of time before you intend to travel. You can apply up to four months prior to your intended travel.   

3. Book flight tickets and pack your bags

Once you have your visa you can book your flight.

Generally, look for flights which provide close to 40kgs or 2 pieces of luggage (don’t forget you will be away from home for close to a year!). I found that Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific were the best options.

Try to pack as much as possible in your check-in bags (except for edibles) as those don’t get checked as often. When packing include clothes such as thermals, sweaters and a decent amount of clothes as getting those in NZ will generally be quite expensive.

4. Arrange accommodation

Finding a place to live is very important. These are some of the sites that will help you find homestay/flats in and around NZ:






Also check with your university as they will have their own accommodation options and other recommendations.

Beware: There are lots of fake websites out there, so do research your flats first and then transfer the money.

5. Declare everything on arrival

It is a good practice to declare all your edible items so that you don’t get caught for carrying anything illegal and made to pay thousands of dollars. Remember to always carry a medical prescription for your medicines.

Refer for further details: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/travel-and-recreation/arriving-in-new-zealand/items-to-declare/

6. Get an idea of your monthly expenditure

Apart from Auckland, other NZ cities are quite affordable to live in.

Refer for further details on the cost of your daily consumables: https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/living-in-nz/money-tax/comparable-living-costs


By Neeraj NambiarIndian Scholarship Student

Updated 4 years ago

Indian student Neeraj Nambiar is is an Education New Zealand Scholarship recipient. Neeraj is studying for his Masters in Engineering Management at The University of Auckland. He chose New Zealand because of its "highly advanced educational institution ranked in the top 100 in the world."

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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