As we get to know you through the application process to study abroad, it’s only fair that you know a bit about us too! Read on to learn more about the programs team behind all the emails and phone calls and our in-country staff who you will get to know during your time in New Zealand. And, of course, feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions!

Program Managers

Kate Hilby

Associate Director - Enrollment Management

Kate Hilby (aka Hilby, Hilbs or Hilbo Baggins) is a TEAN alum who studied in Melbourne in 2009 and has been working as a Program Manager for TEAN New Zealand for the last six years. She recently returned from a year living and working from New Zealand based out of Auckland. One of her favorite things about living in New Zealand was the opportunity to get out and explore the vastly different and gorgeous landscapes found throughout the country. Her tip is to take time to visit the amazing National Parks of New Zealand, found on both islands. Two of her favorites include Tongariro National Park and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.


Tell us a little about what you do at TEAN?
I currently work on our New Zealand, Fiji, Japan and Southeast Asia programs. My role as team lead and Program Manager is to make sure everything on these programs is running smoothly working with our team. It includes everything from making sure students have pre-departure information on time to making sure they submit all of the items they need to study abroad (i.e. transcripts, courses, contracts, arrival details, payments, visa confirmations).

Where did you study abroad?
I studied with TEAN in Melbourne, Australia at Deakin University. It’s a more traditional campus, just outside the city but being able to live in the city and commute gave me the best of both worlds. Honestly, Melbourne has something for everyone – think sporting events, art, music, theatre, comedy, laneway cafes/restaurants/bars, shopping, the list goes on. Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, so why wouldn’t you choose to study there? If you’re looking for a Melbourne equivalent in New Zealand, check out Wellington known as the coolest little capital in the world. It’s a smaller city, but that makes it an easy city to get around by foot. It’s a very accessible city for study abroad students.

What brought you back to Melbourne to live and work after graduation?
When I graduated, I knew I wanted to return to Australia. My time studying abroad had given me that exposure to living abroad and I wanted to spend more time there as a professional. For my career, It was great to gain work experience at a university abroad. I’m so glad I went down this path or I might not have ended up at TEAN today!

Packing for study abroad is always a challenge and popular topic, as a frequent flyer – what insider tips do you have for someone packing for the semester?
I’ve become pretty good at packing light over the years since there have been so many times earlier on where I’ve overpacked. I took half of my closet and never touched the majority of it. You will hear the advice – pack everything you think you’ll need then take half of it – and it’s so true. My other advice is to pack articles of clothing you can mix and match to create different outfits to help reduce items. Also try to keep the shoe situation under control, they take up a lot of room. Bring a couple pairs that are super versatile (and comfortable).

If you were going to study abroad tomorrow on a TEAN program where would you go?
I’m biased, but I would study on one of our New Zealand programs. Since working with our TEAN New Zealand students, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand several times and have visited all program locations. I also recently lived in New Zealand for a year based out of Auckland. I love the idea of going for a semester, joining a tramping club on campus and getting out into the beauty of New Zealand in my free time!

New Zealand Staff

Allison Ferris

Resident Assistant - Christchurch

Originally from Canada, Allison graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 2010 with a BA and completed her Bachelor of Honors in Elementary Education with a concentration in Inclusion and Special Needs. After graduation, Allison moved to South Korea where she taught at English language academies for three years. In 2014, she moved to New Zealand as an international student, studying towards an MEd in Inclusive and Special Education, and after six months, began working with international students through the campus halls of residence. Allison has worked in international education in Christchurch, New Zealand for five years. She loves showing off new places in Christchurch and visiting pop-up shops, as well as assisting students in acclimatizing to New Zealand’s unique culture and way of life.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


What are some of the common challenges students have to overcome to study in New Zealand?
Prioritizing why you are here versus all the activities you want to do – there’s so much to see, do and experience in New Zealand but it’s important to keep your focus on your studies as well! For making and maintaining relationships with Kiwis, many students find people here to be very friendly on a surface level but it takes more time to really invest in closer friendships.

Why should a student study abroad in Christchurch for the semester?
Christchurch is the most modern city in New Zealand with heaps of new buildings. It combines the best of a big city (second-biggest in the country) with the natural beauty of surf, ski and mountains. There’s also a very large cafe scene, vegan and vegetarian eateries, pop-up shops and more so there’s always some place new to try out.

Can you share some bucket list items for a semester in Christchurch?
A day at Sumner Beach with a walk up Godley Head and the flower track; Little High Eatery-a modern marketplace with eight different eateries including burgers, sushi and the most amazing milkshakes. Also visit Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, home to one of the country’s rescue and breeding programs for our most famous bird – the kiwi!

What is a must-see spot students need to visit in New Zealand?
Cape Reinga, at the top of the North Island, where you can see across the Pacific Ocean to understand just how far you have come and know that all the adventures lie just beneath your feet.

If you were going on a TEAN program leaving tomorrow, where would you go?
I would go to Seoul, South Korea. I used to teach English in Korea and have not been back for a long time. I would love to go during cherry blossom season (spring) to have the fresh vegetables and fruit and enjoy the divine flowers.

Rachel Fenton

Resident Director - New Zealand

Rachel has an extensive background in international education student services, marketing and university relations. She spent several years living and working abroad first in Japan on the JET program, then in London, England and Guangzhou, China. On return to New Zealand, Rachel managed the study abroad and student exchange programs at Massey University; her alma mater where she was awarded degrees in Business Administration and Marketing. She is now working at the University of Auckland, as well as representing TEAN as the New Zealand Resident Director.