New Zealand

High School


Global Choice - Year — Spring 2020
Jan 21-24, 2020 → Dec 1-4, 2020
  $25,000   Available
Global Choice - Semester — Spring 2020
Jan 21-24, 2020 → Jul 4-7, 2020
  $15,000   Available
Year — Spring 2020
Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2020 → Dec 1-4, 2020
  $15,900   Contact Us
Semester — Spring 2020
Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2020 → Jul 7-10, 2020
  $14,300   Contact Us

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


Choose your program:

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.

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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.


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.

Global Choice Semester Program

Global Choice gives you the opportunity to choose which area of New Zealand you want to live in and the school you wish to attend. Keep in mind that New Zealand high schools are sometimes called colleges, so don’t worry, we aren’t sending you off to college yet! This program is offered through AFS-USA and AFS-NZL and facilitated by Education New Zealand.

The price for the program includes:

  • Airfare
  • School tuition
  • Reimbursement for a host family
  • Assistance with Visa application forms (but not the Visa fee)
  • Insurance

The price does not include:

  • School Books
  • Uniforms
  • School Lunches

AFS will help you choose your school by evaluating your future career, advising you on program style, helping with your enrollments, arranging insurance, providing an arrival orientation and on-going check-ups.

Once you’ve been accepted, your school will match you with a carefully selected host family and regularly monitor your academic and personal welfare both at home and school.


Auckland, known locally as the “city of sails,” is the largest and most populated urban center in New Zealand. Aucklanders enjoy an easygoing, safe, Kiwi lifestyle with tightknit communities and great schools. Auckland is a multi-cultural, diverse city which is reflected in its festivals, events, and activities. While Auckland offers all the benefits of city living, nature is also close by. Beaches, boat trips to islands, forest trails as well as numerous parks and reserves are all available to you!

Map of Auckland
Western Springs College

Western Springs College

Western Springs College is a co-educational, uniform school located in central Auckland. Western Springs is known for the friendliness of its students, high quality of its education, as well as music and arts programs. There are 1,423 students at Western Springs, including 100 international students.

Western Springs College is a great fit for students who are:

  • Interested in a big city
  • Interested in art and design
  • Interested in journalism, media, and writing
Rangitoto College

Rangitoto College

Rangitoto College is renowned nationally and internationally for offering students a kind environment in which students can develop academically and personally. With 40 different kinds of sports to choose from including rugby or sailing, and 50 different performance art activities, including dance, drama, instrumental and vocal music, Rangitoto College offers an exceptional experience to its international students, who come from over 25 different countries and make up eight percent of the student population!

Special programs for international students include a combination of classwork and trips to some of Auckland’s greatest attractions, including jet boating around Auckland harbor, art galleries, Rangitoto Island, Rainbow’s End theme park, visiting a Marae and learning about Maori culture, or heading over to Arataki Visitor’s Centre and walking to Fairy Falls.

Rangitoto College is a great fit for students who are:

  • Interested in sports
  • Interested in performing arts


Wellington, famous for its flourishing art scene, is the center of New Zealand’s film and theatre industry. You can enjoy the buzz of the city and appreciate the abundance of nature just outside the city center with beaches and a beautiful harbor! Wellington is a vibrant blend of urban living, with a good transport system, the National Museum Te Papa, and natural landscapes, so you’ll never be bored!

Map of Wellington
Aotea College

Aotea College

Aotea College is a multicultural, co-educational school of 930 students, located in the beautiful Porirua Basin. The college has a long-standing tradition of welcoming international students and offering them an excellent education and a great introduction to the New Zealand lifestyle.

Aotea College offers a wide and responsive curriculum with a focus on the arts, music and sports, where students can engage in learning both within and beyond the classroom. Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) is also offered, in the form of class trips, camps, and “tramps,” which is a New Zealand term for overnight hiking or backpacking. In addition, kayaks and mountain bikes are available for Physical Education and Outdoor Education students.

Aotea College is a good fit for students who are:

  • Interested in being close to a city but enjoy the country and want to experience the outdoors
  • Interested in a smaller school experience
  • Interested in the arts and music
  • Interested in physical education and the outdoors


Rotorua, situated in a Geothermal utopia of erupting geysers and natural hot springs, is the Maori cultural center of New Zealand. It’s also the major tourist destination in the North Island, home to enchanted forests, thermal valleys, and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot waterfall! With bubbling mineral springs and spas, Rotorua offers relaxation, beauty, and adventure.

Map of Rotorua
Western Heights High School

Western Heights High School

Western Heights is a state, coeducational school with a student body of 1,550. It is Rotorua’s most popular and largest high school, offering a wide variety of extracurriculars, including equestrian activities, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and rowing.

Academically, Western Heights offers international language programs, visual and performing arts, and environmental sciences.

Western Heights High School is a good fit for students who are:

  • Interested in sports


Christchurch, a city of 350,000, is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. Renowned for its beautiful parks and gardens, Christchurch is only fifteen minutes from surf beaches, twenty minutes from outdoor rock climbing, thirty minutes from bays for sailing and one hour from numerous commercial and private ski fields.

The city center has many notable arts institutions including the stunning Botanic Gardens. Inner-city streets contain art projects and pocket gardens, dispersed against a cityscape featuring remnant stone buildings and sharp, modern architecture.

Map of Christchurch
Papanui High School

Papanui High School

Papanui High School is a coeducational, uniform school located in suburban Christchurch, which is ten minutes from both the city center and the airport. It has the benefit of being a city school surrounded by outdoor opportunities, including tramping, bushcraft, rock climbing, mountain biking, high and low ropes courses, alpine skills, skiing, snowboarding, river crossing, sea kayaking and more!

Papanui High School is a good fit for students who are:

  • Interested in Information Technology
  • Interested in outdoor activities
  • Interested in sports
Hillmorton High School

Hillmorton High School

Hillmorton High School is a coeducational school with approximately 750 students, including 20 to 25 international students. With a diverse student body, students come from over 40 ethnic backgrounds contributing to a rich and colorful multi-cultural experience.

Situated in the south-west of Christchurch, Hillmorton is ten minutes from the city center. They offer a wide range of activities including extensive sports and cultural opportunities, unrestricted park-like grounds, excellent facilities to support students’ learning, and individualized learning programs tailored to students’ needs.


Whanganui is a riverside town of 40,000 people on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Surrounded by mountains, beautiful natural landscape, and beaches, you’ll be sure to embark on endless tramping and wilderness trips. In addition, hidden deep within Whanganui National Park, you’ll find the Bridge to Nowhere, one of Whanganui’s most iconic attractions!

Map of Whanganui
Whanganui High School

Whanganui High School

Whanganui High School is a modern, co-educational school of approximately 1,500 students and over 160 staff. Their International Department has about 65 international students, which make up five percent of the student body. Their students come from a variety of countries including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil, Pacific Islands, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Norway, and the Peoples Republic of China.

Whanganui offers a wide variety of performing arts such as dance, drama, music, stage challenge, productions, Kapahaka, Pasifika, or a combination of several of these activities! Plus, a sports performance program that offers advanced athletic training.

Whanganui High School is a good fit for students who are:

  • Interested in performing arts
  • Interested in sports

Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty is a coastal town of 35,000 people on the East Coast of the North Island. This region is home to dazzling white sand surf beaches, native forests and waterfalls, and New Zealand’s only active marine volcano. Bay of Plenty is also famous for its delicious produce, with orchards producing everything from kiwis to avocados. While it is certainly a beach lovers paradise, Bay of Plenty contains endless unique regions to keep you captivated!

Map of Bay of Plenty
Whakatane High School

Whakatane High School

Whakatane High School is a uniform, coeducational public high school of around 800 students, with 25 to 30 international students. Whakatāne has a busy shopping precinct with numerous cafes and restaurants, a range of sporting and recreation outlets, fashion stores, and bookshops.

In addition, Whakatane has a fleet of charter boats, which provide the chance to dive the stunning waters of the Bay, go fishing, visit New Zealand's only active island volcano, or swim with dolphins.

Whakatane High School is a good fit for students who are:

  • Interested in Marine Studies and Outdoor Education
  • Interested in sports
  • Interested in music
Te Puke High School

Te Puke High School

Te Puke High School is a semi-rural, uniform, coeducational secondary school located in the township of Te Puke, approximately 10 minutes from the coast. Te Puke High School has a multicultural population of approximately 900 students, with a mission of providing a stimulating environment that engages and challenges very learner.

Some of the sports offered at Te Puke include: Badminton, Canoe Polo, Rugby, Water Polo, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, and more!

In addition, Te Puke offers a wide range of extra-curricular Arts activities, including Dance, Drama, Lip Sync, Rock Band, Silent Film Festival, and Visual Arts.

Te Puke High School is a good fit for students who are:

  • Interested in sports
  • Interested in the arts
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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.

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