New Zealand has four seasons and changeable weather. It's recommended that you bring:
UCOL doesn't arrange accommodation for international students, but we can provide some options nearby campus for you to consider.
There are hostels close to UCOL campuses with furnished rooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, offering both long term and short term accommodation. Our International Student Support Coordinators can provide advice on the following options:
Shared accommodation - flatting
Students also have the option to go flatting – i.e. renting a house or an apartment with friends. If you choose this type of shared accommodation, we recommend staying for the first four weeks in short term accommodation, as it can take some time to find a suitable place.
When flatting, you are responsible for providing your own furniture, paying your share of power/water/phone bills, cooking your own meals, doing your own laundry, and following the rental agreement.
Here is an example of what it may cost to share a flat with two other students (all costs are approximate and are given in New Zealand dollars):
- Bond (equivalent to two week's rent to be paid in advance) $600
- Two week's rent in advance $600
- Electricity $180 per month
- Phone $32 rental per month (tolls calls will be extra)
- Food $600 per month
- Rent $1200 per month
Students need enough money for buying any required furniture, bedding, cooking utensils and other household items.
Useful accommodation information
Tenancy Services provides information on the Residential Tenancies Act and the Unit Titles Act.
Housing Advice Centre also offers free 24 hour accommodation listing service for Palmerston North.
Cost of living
The cost of living in New Zealand is comparable to what you'll find in any OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) country. Use
Education New Zealand's cost of living calculator or
Immigration New Zealand's list of statistics to compare prices.
We understand how important it is to stay connected with friends and family. UCOL provides international students free SIM cards so you can get a New Zealand phone number.
In New Zealand,
registering for a doctor (general practitioner or GP) is free and easy.
For medical attention after 5pm and on weekends, there are after-hours medical centres and services available to all students across New Zealand.
If you have medical questions or concerns while in New Zealand, you can call
Healthline on 0800 611 116. Healthline is a free 24-hour telephone health advice service funded by the government's Ministry of Health. This service is operated by registered nurses who will assess a person's condition and health needs, and recommend the best course of action to be taken. They can also provide general health information and location of services.
For all emergencies, call 111.
You should bring only a small amount of cash to New Zealand. If possible, you should
set up a New Zealand bank account before leaving your country so that you can make credit card and cash withdrawals as soon as you arrive.
If this isn't possible,
UCOL's International Support Staff can assist you with bank arrangements soon after you arrive.
International student discounts
UCOL international students receive many community and retail benefits. Here's a few of our key sponsors:
- Steve Parsons Travel - Travel agent
- Office Max - Stationery and computer supplies
- 2 Degrees - Mobile phone and Internet provider
In the 2015 Global Peace Index Report, which compares 162 countries for the risk of personal violence, New Zealand was ranked as the world's 4th safest country, after Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Regardless, international students must take necessary precautions to keep safe. You can read some helpful tips in the
New Zealand Police's Guide to Keeping Safe (available in several languages) and water safety in New Zealand.
In the event of an emergency, please call the following numbers:
- Fire/Police/Ambulance - phone 111
- UCOL's 24-hour International Student Support Emergency number – phone 021-242 7625
Police in New Zealand do not routinely carry guns, and are friendly and helpful. Anyone who is arrested will be permitted to speak to a lawyer. If you want to know more about your legal rights in New Zealand make sure to ask at your Orientation.
Experience New Zealand
To find out about the visitor attractions near your local UCOL campus, see:
Consider getting involved in the local community via a sporting or cultural club. Ask UCOL's International Student Support staff for more information.
In Palmerston North, you can ride the inner-city buses for free, using your UCOL identification card.
UCOL provides free bus transport between our Palmerston North and Whanganui campuses for students and staff.
New Zealand's national public transport system includes buses, ferries and trains. Students planning a tour throughout New Zealand can obtain special student travel passes. Discount fares are also available for plane travel if booked early. Read more on
Immigration New Zealand's or
New Zealand Tourism's website.
Students must know the New Zealand Road Rules before driving in New Zealand. In general, you can drive using your overseas driver's license for up to 12 months, but after this time you must convert your license to a New Zealand Driver's License. Read more about the rules and regulations from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
UCOL Campus Maps
Working in NZ
Rules and regulations
You may be entitled to do some paid work whilst studying in New Zealand depending on your student visa conditions. To be able to work, you must meet one of seven requirements. The most common requirements are:
- your study programme is for at least two years
- the study leads to a New Zealand qualification that gains points under the New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category; or
- you are taking an English language course that meets conditions approved by Immigration New Zealand
Find out more about the work rules for students on the
NZ Study + Work website.
Job search websites
Careers NZ website can be used as a resource for researching jobs in your field of study and how to apply for jobs in New Zealand. Popular job vacancy websites include:
If you intend on working while studying in New Zealand find out about
your tax obligations on Inland Revenue's website.