New Zealand

High School


Semester — Spring 2019
Jan 22-25, 2019 -> Jul 8-11, 2019 Application deadline: n/a
  $16,000   Closed
Year — Spring 2019
Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2019 -> Dec 3-6, 2019 Application deadline: July 25, 2018
  $15,900   Available
Semester — Spring 2019
Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2019 -> Jul 8-11, 2019 Application deadline: July 25, 2018
  $14,300   Full

*Departure dates may vary within a few days of those listed.


By living with a host family and attending a local school in New Zealand, you’ll get to know why this country is celebrated for its friendliness and breathtaking natural beauty. Experience the casual Kiwi culture and pass your days with plenty of time outdoors, having a family barbecue or hiking to the nearest beach. You’ll be totally immersed in New Zealand society and learn all about its rich and diverse culture. This isn’t just a year abroad; it’s an adventure you’ll never forget!

Things to know

The culture of New Zealand is heavily influenced by the Maori people, the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand. You might get a chance to learn the Maori language and you’ll see Maori words and street names all over. While New Zealanders tend to eat a lot of red meat, it’s generally quite easy to get by as a vegetarian. Vegans, however, might have a hard time due to the prevalence of dairy.

Your journey to New Zealand

Arriving in Auckland

Your adventure will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet your fellow AFS students from the United States and attend an overnight orientation. You’ll also get a chance to speak to a cultural expert who recently spent time in the region. Then you’ll travel together to Auckland, where you’ll be met by AFS Staff or Volunteers.

On the way to your host community, you’re bound to see picturesque farms, grazing sheep, and kids playing rugby. You might also see people gathering outside for barbecues – a favorite way to pass a weekend day. There is a huge Asian and Pacific Island influence on New Zealand culture and you’ll probably notice that in the architecture, art, and music. In fact, many of the streets you pass may be named in both English and Maori, with the two names used interchangeably.

map graphic

Meeting Your Host Family

You might live anywhere in New Zealand but most AFS students live in semi-rural or rural areas. There is a possibly that you could live on a farm, where you get the added benefit of learning how to feed cattle, milk cows and make hay with your host parents and siblings!

New Zealanders love to spend time outdoors and you can expect that a lot of your family time will be spent outside in the garden, having picnics and going on hikes together. In general, you can expect to help out around the house with the same sorts of things that you’re used to doing at home.

See where past AFSers have lived

Settling into daily life

Teenage Life

As a teenager in New Zealand, a lot of your time will probably be spent with your host family and at school. In your spare time, you’ll find lots to do with your friends. Teenagers in New Zealand often hang out in cafes and go shopping, but most of all they enjoy playing sports and spending time exploring the beautiful landscape. The most popular sports are rugby, cricket, and soccer. You can also go surfing and whale watching on some of New Zealand’s countless gorgeous beaches!

Foods You'll Encounter

Since there are so many farms in New Zealand, you can expect to have lots of fresh meat, dairy, and produce. New Zealanders love fish and chips and pot roast, but Asian-style curries and stir-fries are also very popular. You might even notice a distinct Japanese influence in some of the foods. On special occasions, you could experience a traditional Maori feast, called a hangi, which is similar to a Hawaiian luau.

Your Host School

You’ll likely attend a public school – and remember, since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, their school year is opposite the U.S. in terms of start and end dates. Depending on what classes you’ve already taken, you may take math, English, art, and science. You’ll also have the opportunity to do extracurriculars like agriculture and outdoor recreation. There are lots of sports clubs, Maori cultural groups, choirs, and drama clubs that you could get involved with as well.

World head graphic

Returning Home

"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.

Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.

Meet the people who will be supporting you in New Zealand

Diana, AFS New Zealand Staff Diana
Doris, AFS New Zealand Volunteer Doris

Forgot password?

Your adventure
is waiting.

Select a destination and program to start.

AFS Faces of America Logo

Welcome AFS Faces of America Applicants
Your adventure is waiting.

Select a destination and program to start.