New Zealand is one of the world’s most geographically stunning and awe-inspiring countries, and as a high school study abroad student, it could be your new backyard! 

New Zealand program is perfect if you: 

  • Can’t get enough of the great outdoors – you typically spend your weekends hiking, mountain biking, surfing or doing anything that gets you closer to nature
  • Love the idea of speaking English on your abroad program
  • Place importance on giving back to the community or volunteering is your middle name
  • Can’t wait to learn about Maori life, one of the world’s oldest living cultures
  • Live for the thrill – things like whitewater rafting, surfing, rugby, and hiking are on your bucket list

Wait, do you see yourself in New Zealand already?! Here’s the program at a glance:

  • Host family accommodation provides full cultural immersion
  • No foreign language experience required — they speak English!
  • Program fee includes tuition, accommodation and so much more!
  • You can choose between term (2 months), semester or academic year lengths. Students can also go for 1 or two months over the summer.
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New Zealand

Program Dates

Application Deadline: March 15th 

  • Trimester: end of July – September
  • Semester: end of July – December
  • Academic Year: end of July – July

Exact dates of arrival and departure depend on the host family and school you are placed in, as each school has a different start date. You will know your exact dates once you are placed in a school and host family!

Arrival and Departure 

All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. You will be provided your exact arrival and departure dates after acceptance, as well as the exact timeframes you should arrive/depart, so that you can start to search for possible flights. Prior approval of a proposed itinerary is required before you purchase any flights.

Packaged into the Price:

  • Airport transfer from Auckland to Rotorua
  • Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
  • School fees (tuition, textbooks, uniform)
  • Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
  • Arrival Orientation with local coordinator in New Zealand
  • Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program for use on college applications.

Payment Details:

  • $1,500 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
  • $5,000 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
  • Remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date. If your program starts within 16 weeks of acceptance, the remaining program balance payment will be due at the same time as the commitment payment. 

Please note there is a non-negotiable $450 late application fee for any applications received after the stated application deadline.

Academic Info

Enjoy a range of memorable and cultural activities, make lifelong international friends and have unforgettable experiences while in New Zealand. With only around 1% of high school students studying abroad each year, this is your chance to embark on a unique academic travel adventure that will set you apart from most high school students in your class. How’s that for standing out on college applications?!

So, what about credits? 

Your host school abroad (Western Heights High School (WHHS) in Rotorua) does not provide high school credit. All credit must be granted through your home school in the U.S. or Canada. All U.S./Canadian schools have different policies.

In New Zealand, we cannot guarantee that WHHS will provide you an official transcript, but you will receive progress reports on your performance, behavior, and attendance. WHHS will provide documentation, letters, and any other materials you require upon request, dependent on your good behavior and attendance.

Then, you should take this documentation back to your home school as proof of your participation in the program. Your home school is responsible for awarding you credit for this program or not.  

Before You Go Abroad

You should meet with your U.S./Canadian high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for New Zealand with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.  

Though WHHS is flexible and accommodating, we cannot guarantee you’ll take any specific classes, it is important that you arrange the required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.  

You will be provided information about the general curriculum for your age level at WHHS, but you will not know your course schedule until after you arrive in country and start attending school. 

Support and Services: 

  • Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
  • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your US-based program manager! They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in New Zealand.
  • Support and counseling services from in-country staff upon arrival to New Zealand.
  • Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
  • 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.

Additional Expenses to Budget For:

  • Roundtrip airfare to/from New Zealand
  • Any personal spending costs
  • Public transportation
  • Personal excursions
  • Toiletries, meals eaten outside the home


In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:

  • Be between 15 and 18 years of age (at the time of travel)
  • Be from the United States or Canada
  • Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
  • Be in great mental* and physical health
  • Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
  • Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure

*What does it mean to be in good mental health?

Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.

Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and ultimately it is the in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic debilitating migraines
  • Bipolar Disorder

All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.  We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly, before securing these documents.

Please note that students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will not be guaranteed any academic accommodations plans by the host school abroad.