Students under the age of 18 years must have a designated caregiver or guardian while in NZ. If you are under 18 and coming to NZ and not living with your parents you must stay in an approved homestay family and complete an indemnity form.
For students over 18 years, finding accommodation can be difficult and you need to find accommodation that is right for you. There is a range of accommodation that students can choose in Christchurch, each offering different living arrangements.
If you are visiting New Zealand and Christchurch for the first time we strongly recommend you apply for homestay accommodation.
Homestay is an option that allows you to concentrate on your studies while living with a family. Unlike Halls and flats, your homestay family will provide you with a fully furnished room, as well as meals. You would be able to experience a kiwi lifestyle and focus on your study.
The cost of homestay is NZ$210 – 280 per week (three meals a day). An extra charge may be applied for the Halal diet. There is also a one-off homestay placement fee applied to around NZ$300.
Homestay families are well researched and undergo a process:
A family applies to host a student.
The family is visited and interviewed by the school representative.
A police check is conducted on those living in the house and is over 18 years of age.
The family is approved and matched with a student.
Students pay money to the school/homestay company, who then transfer the money to the family.
Most homestay parents work (both mother and father) and other family members may be in study or work
Students are always provided with their own room but may share bathrooms with other people in the house
The number of international students per homestay is generally limited to ensure the “kiwi” experience
Contact your institution if you are interested in applying for homestay.
Halls of Residence
Most universities and polytechnics provide halls of residence or university flats. These can be in high demand so early booking is recommended. The halls are usually on campus or a short walking distance. Most halls are now co-ed (have males and females but you may ask for single-sex ones). It is common for first-year students to stay in the halls and then move into flats in their second and following years. Room fittings and services include a single bed, desk, lamp, closet, heating, internet access. Shared facilities depending on the hall usually include a lounge area with TV, kitchen area with microwave, refrigerator, coffee, and tea-making facilities plus recreation and sports facilities. Washing machines and drying facilities are provided for your use.
Contact your institution if you are interested in applying for this option.
Flatting is another term for renting accommodation. Flats are an independent way of living where you join a group of people in a house and share costs. You may want to stay in pre-arranged accommodation (homestay or hall of residence) when you first arrive in New Zealand, as this will allow you time to adjust to living in a new country. However, after a while, you may choose to rent your own off-campus flat or shared accommodation or to move into an existing flat. Some flats are furnished; others are not. Flat rent often doesn’t include electricity, telephone, and the internet, so you will need to pay more each month for these services. Most landlords require you to pay a deposit, or bond, before you move in, to cover any damage you may cause.