Internships Abroad in Queenstown

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A Guide to Interning Abroad in Queenstown

The beauty queen of New Zealand, internships in Queenstown are practically royalty. Confronted with the dizzying heights of the Remarkables mountain range and the mysterious depths of Lake Wakatipu, it is only natural that Queenstown has developed into a place of extremes. All of the adventure sports available make this a mecca for outdoors loving interns, but Queenstown is also the perfect option for anyone who likes stunning views with their morning coffee. Soak up the best New Zealand has to offer in this little slice of South Island paradise when you find an internship in Queenstown!

Internships in Queenstown

Small but mighty, internships in Queenstown can suit every stripe, spot, and professional goal. Whatever internship placement you end up in, you will benefit from a friendly working environment and a lively atmosphere all year round.

Tourism is a huge industry in Queenstown (you won’t feel out of place at all, surrounded by foreign accents). The whole town revolves around the international visitors that flock to the adventure opportunities and natural beauty of the locale. There are plenty of internships available in the tourism industry, as well as in hospitality placements. This is a great place to gain practical experience. There are several exciting opportunities to work with adventure travel providers in ski resorts.

Of course, there are lots of opportunities that delve into the nature and wilderness surrounding the town. Wildlife and environmental studies offer hands-on experience for international interns in Queenstown, and the opportunity to study some incredibly unique flora and fauna (kia birds, anyone?).

Life in Queenstown

When you clock off as an intern in Queenstown, get prepared for daredevil central. Locals will brag that this is the adventure capital of the world, and they have a point. Surrounded by lakes and mountains, Queenstown is basically a giant outdoor playground.

Some of the best adventures in the whole country are found in Queenstown, so interns never have a chance to get bored. If you’re no adrenaline junky, no worries. You can still enjoy Queenstown’s stunning beauty by simply catching sunsets down by the serene lakeside in the evenings.

If you get sick of the outdoors or it’s just a rainy day, there’s still plenty to do. Queenstown is famous for its foodie scene, with dozens of outstanding restaurants. You can’t miss the queue snaking out of the famous burger joint Fergburger, and there are lots of fancier places overlooking the lake as well. The nightlife in Queenstown is legendary, fuelled largely by wine produced from the sloping vineyards around town. If you’re more of a beer drinker, fear not: local craft breweries have you covered.

Queenstown has its own airport, connecting it to other cities all over New Zealand, and several destinations in Australia. This makes Queenstown a great base for exploring farther afield.

Salaries & Costs

Internships in Queenstown are typically unpaid. In place of a salary, internships offer real-world experience in your chosen field, and in some cases academic credit. Employers generally recognize their interns’ hard work however, and will throw in some great freebies and employee benefits wherever they can. Depending on your placement, you might get to take advantage of free activities, meals, transport passes, or accommodation.

Living costs in Queenstown for interns are high, especially if you want to take advantage of all of the adventure activities in and around the town, and jump in/off/out of as many things as possible. Activities range from $45 for a gondola and luge ride, up to $600 for a helicopter ride up and around glaciers. In between you can skydive, bungee jump, ride a horse through Lord of the Rigs shooting locations, and hoon around in a jetboat, but each activity will set you back a fair bit. When eating out, a takeaway meal will usually cost around $7, and a meal in a restaurant $20. Drinking in Queenstown is also costly: you will quickly notice that Kiwis always have “pre-drinks” before going out, as drinks in bars can cost $10 a pop.

Accommodation & Visas

Most internship programs in Queenstown will provide housing, the cost of which is included in your program fees. This will most likely be in shared accommodation, such as an apartment or house, where you will live with other international interns. Shared accommodation is typically lively and social, so if you would prefer something quieter you can look for an individual apartment, however these can be very pricey in Queenstown.

For short term internships in New Zealand, foreign interns can simply enter on a three-month visitor’s permit. For longer stays, international interns in New Zealand can apply for a Student and Trainee Work Visa. This visa is valid for up to 12 months, which means more flexibility and more time to explore the rest of the country. To obtain this visa usually you will need evidence of a confirmed internship placement or job offer. You will also need to be able to show proof that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your stay. It is important to note that on this particular visa, you will be limited to working only for the employer you named on your visa application. 

There is a separate Working Holiday visa that some interns may be eligible for if they want to seek work elsewhere once their internship is over. For more detailed information, check out the GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.

Benefits & Challenges

Obviously, one of the greatest benefits of interning in Queenstown is the fact that you will get to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Lord of the Rings may have been a fantasy story but the landscapes in the movies are real, and you can find them all around Queenstown. As an intern in Queenstown, you will have ample opportunity to explore the surrounding region (make sure to pack your hiking boots!).

Despite being a tourist magnet and international city, Queenstown is really only a small town. It is compact, easily walkable, and has a strong community feel. You might feel a little out of place at first but it won’t be long before you feel like you fit right in.

New Zealand is a fantastic place to intern abroad, and Queenstown has all of the best New Zealand has to offer. If you want to have the quintessential Kiwi experience, complete with bungee jumping (a sport proudly invented in Queenstown) then Queenstown is place for you.

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