Whether you’re on the hunt for English’s sexiest accent or just looking for high-quality foreign language study, the island nation of New Zealand will blow you out of the water. Experience English in a whole new way in the country where being mean (cool) is a compliment and “taking the piss” means making a joke. For native English speakers, Kiwi universities and language institutes also offer a cornucopia of foreign language courses, including crowd favorites like French and more specialized languages like Dutch. Study languages in New Zealand and discover everything it has to offer!
Where to Take Language Courses
New Zealand may look like a few small islands at the edge of the map, but it’s a larger-than-life destination for language learners. Whether you’re looking for off-the-grid woodsy living or prefer the glam of city life, this country does not disappoint. Here are some of the best places to learn languages in New Zealand.
Auckland is a cosmopolitan center with an international business vibe, though you’re never far from nature in every direction. Here students can find everything from small language institutes to New Zealand’s largest university and undeniably some of the best language education the country has to offer. Keep in mind that city living comes with a price tag; as the city has grown, so have rent prices, and living expenses in Auckland are consistently the highest in the country.
A bit further south, Wellington dishes up hipster delight for aspiring language students. Littered with Victorian architecture on a hillside overlooking the Pacific, Wellington is a vibrant hub of arts and culture, chock full of galleries, museums, theatres, and dive bars. Portlandia’s southern hemisphere soul sister, students are likely to leave Wellington with at least one of the following: a sleeve tattoo, a mustache, or a pallet for craft beer — in addition to impressive new language skills, of course!
Dunedin may not have been on your radar, but as home to one of New Zealand’s top universities and the bedrock of the country’s Scottish heritage, it’s a lively and hospitable destination for international students. Rockin’ a lively indie music scene, Dunedin is an approachable student town surrounded by the natural beauty of the Otago Peninsula on the South Island.
Popular Languages to Learn
Students will find top-tier language programs, colorful accents, and bountiful speaking partners from the Fjordlands of the south to the northernmost tip of Great Exhibition Bay. Here are some languages you can study in New Zealand.
There are many program opportunities in English as a Second Language throughout the country for non-native speakers to study English in New Zealand. For native English speakers, Kiwi universities and institutes also offer opportunities to study major world languages Spanish, Russian, and Chinese.
Give a nod to the country’s heritage by studying Te Reo Maori (the Maori language), the language of the New Zealand’s indigenous inhabitants. Currently undergoing a major national revival, Maori is spoken by 23 percent of Kiwis and considered a national taonga (treasure). While you won’t find many speakers outside of the Kiwi islands, learning Maori will give students a leg up in pronouncing place names like Whangamomona and Ngunguru and earn major brownie points with locals.
How to Learn a Language in New Zealand
Programs range from beginner courses held a few hours per week to immersion programs. Students enrolling at a local university can count on group classes with experienced and highly-educated professors. Local language schools usually have both small group and private course on the menu, so students can choose the option that best suits their learning style.
Language programs in New Zealand generally include tuition and study facilities as well as excursions throughout the country. Some programs, especially those based at major universities, also offer accommodation and meals for an additional cost.
Accommodations in New Zealand
Kiwis will welcome you with open arms, whether you elect to live with a local family through a homestay program, angle for a dorm room on campus, or go the backpackers’ route and stay in hostels. Program housing is generally in a shared student apartment, dorm room, or Kiwi homestay. Finding short-term student rentals online in New Zealand is also a breeze.
Visas for New Zealand
International students who want to study abroad in New Zealand can get a three-month visitor’s permit on arrival. For students hoping to stay longer, it’s recommended to apply for a student visa in advance of the trip. This is generally as painless as completing an online application and paying a small fee, though some passport holders may be required to apply in person at the embassy. Visit the website Kiwi Embassy in your home country to learn more about visa options and requirements.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
New Zealand is a mint (awesome) destination for language study. The country boasts some of the world’s most impressive outdoor adventures, and the Kiwis live up to their reputation for being friendly and hospitable.
The only catch is that it’s an isolated island a hemisphere away, which means flights and living expenses can be pricey. Be sure to plan ahead so you can focus on enjoying adventures and opportunities in the area.
From food and history to landscapes to accents, embrace all that this island has to offer. Kia ora (be well), and ka kite i reira (see you there)!