We have outlined here TEAN’s six easy steps to studying abroad. Your TEAN Program Manager guides you through the entire process, reminding you when and what we need from you as you traverse along the journey to studying abroad. These six steps also include all the vital information you need to know as you prepare for your time abroad. If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, then don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Get Started



It’s almost time! Now you just need to review some final information on insurance while abroad, follow our New Zealand packing tips, start planning how you will manage your money while abroad, review cell phone options and read up on details on your arrival to Auckland for Orientation. Our New Zealand-based staff are looking forward to meeting you when you get off the plane in Auckland! Step 6: Get Going explained in 60 seconds. 

TEAN Application


1. If you haven’t already started your application with TEAN, you will need to visit the apply now page to start the process. You will be asked to pay a $95 application deposit that is counted toward your total program fees.

2. Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the application deposit, our team will review your application.

3. After your application has been approved by TEAN you will receive an email from us with information on how to login to your account and access your application.

4. Now you can start to work on the checklist items listed for your application. You will see a list of things that need to be worked on including the following: 

  • TEAN Applicant Profile 
  • Copy of Your Passport – see the step by step instructions below (let us know if you’re renewing).   
  • Send the TEAN Statement from University electronically to your advisor at your home institution for completion 
  • Emergency Contact Info  
  • Academic Reference (if marked as required) 

As we move through the application process more forms and items will be added to your checklist by your Program Manager. So, continue to check back for updates! 

5. Submit your most recent transcripts

In order for us to fully accept you into the program, we will need to review your official transcripts. For students studying in the Spring semester, we will need transcripts including grades from the previous Spring semester. For Fall students, we require transcripts including grades from the previous Fall semester.

There are two ways you can submit your official transcripts:

1. Request an official copy of your transcript be sent via mail to our office:

5301 Southwest Parkway, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78735

2. Request an official copy of your transcript be sent electronically (directly from your Registrar’s office) to We are unable to accept documents that have been previously opened as they are then considered “unofficial.”

Program Acceptance


Once you complete the required forms in your TEAN application portal, your Program Manager will let you know that you are accepted to the program!  Once accepted, we will provide information on how you will pay for your program. If we do not have a billing agreement with your home institution, you will receive your program invoice at this time. Payment is due by your program’s payment deadline. We’ll send you more information on how to make payment, using financial aid, and the option of a payment plan. Please be prepared to make payment by your payment deadline in order to move forward with the program.  You can review more information regarding finances here 


Your TEAN Program Contract will be available in your TEAN application portal once you apply. You must sign and upload your completed Program Contract by your program’s payment deadline. Please familiarize yourself with the cancellation policy below prior to signing your  contract. 


The below cancellation policy applies if a student chooses to withdraw.  For our policy covering TEAN cancelling the program, please see here. 

This policy applies to all cancellations, regardless of the reason. Your request to withdraw and receive a refund must be made in writing to TEAN. The $95 application deposit is non-refundable. If your application is denied due to eligibility requirements, your deposit will be fully refunded. Alternative payment arrangements (financial aid, payment plans, etc.) do not exempt you from this policy. Payment deadlines can be found on our Dates & Fees page. 

If you withdraw…  

  • on or before the TEAN original payment due date, you are liable for the $95 application deposit  
  • 1-9 days after the TEAN original payment due date, you are liable for $750 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf  
  • 10-20 days after the TEAN original payment due date, you are liable for $1,250 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf. Summer program participants are liable for $1,000 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf.  
  • 21 or more days after the TEAN original payment due date but prior to the final deadline for withdrawal, you are liable for $1,750 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf. Summer program participants are liable for $1,500 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf.   

The final deadline to withdraw from any TEAN program is 14 days prior to the start date of the program. If you withdraw after this deadline, regardless of the reason for withdrawal, you are not eligible for any refund from TEAN.  

Signing and returning all documents in your student portal is your responsibility. If you fail to return the documents after repeated notification (email or call), you will be deemed withdrawn and will not be eligible for any refund.  

Housing confirmation fees are non-refundable after the TEAN original payment due date. If you change or defer to another TEAN program after your TEAN original payment due date, but prior to the final deadline to withdraw, TEAN will assess a $500 change fee plus costs incurred. Program changes are not permitted 1-14 days prior to the start of the program. Prior to your official acceptance, please refrain from booking flights for your program. TEAN reserves the right to adjust program dates to accommodate host university calendar changes and is not responsible for airline fare or ticket change fees incurred by program participants.   

Prices and dates are subject to change without notice. 


Apply/Renew your Passport

Obtaining a passport for international travel may take a considerable period of time as the State Department can often have a backlog of applications to work through. Therefore, it is crucial that you apply for your passport as early as possible to avoid any last minute complications. You can apply for your passport at your local U.S. Post Office.

You can obtain necessary information regarding passports from the U.S. Department of State: Passport Services Department,   download passport applications, find a nationwide list of passport agencies, etc. here.

Verify Validity of your Passport

As a condition of your student visa, your passport must be valid a minimum of six months post your anticipated return home. If your current passport is set to expire before then, you will need to apply for a renewal.

Inform TEAN of your passport details

  1. Scan a copy of your passport page with your photo and information on it.
  2. Upload the scanned image to your TEAN application where it states, “Please upload a copy/photo of your passport (signature and picture page only).” Alternatively, email the scanned copy of your passport to your TEAN Program Manager.
  3. Enter your passport information under the section titled, “TEAN Applicant Profile”.

Contacting TEAN

Contacting TEAN

Email is the primary form of communication during the application and enrollment period. Please provide us with an email address you use regularly, as important program announcements and instructions will be sent via email. Also, please check your email on a regular basis and make sure to update your online application if you change your email address. Please also periodically check your junk mail to ensure that messages from TEAN are not being filtered into “spam”.  If messages are being filtered into spam, please add the TEAN email address to your contacts.

In addition, please be sure to include your full name on all correspondence (including emails). We work with many students so providing your full name will ensure timely responses to questions and inquiries.

Mailing Address

The Education Abroad Network
2405 N Sheffield Ave #14522
Chicago, IL 60614

Telephone and Fax

Toll Free: 1-800-585-9658 (from within U.S.)
Local Number: 1-312-239-3710 (from outside of U.S.)
Fax: 1-312-239-3713

Office Hours

TEAN is open Monday – Thursday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, and Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Central Standard Time and observes all major holidays. If these hours are not convenient, you may schedule a time outside of our normal business hours to speak with us. If you are currently international, it is possible to set up a time to Skype and get to know your Program Managers.

Important Dates

Important Dates

We finalize our program calendar several months before each semester abroad. We work with our overseas partner universities in order to determine our orientation schedule. We will provide updated information on orientation, key semester dates, flights and excursions once our program calendar has been finalized. Once the calendar has been released, all dates are still subject to change. While we do not anticipate any date changes once the calendar has been finalized, we reserve the right to make changes, particularly if one of our partner universities institutes their own date modification. All program participants will be contacted in the event of a date change.


If you haven’t already, please start your TEAN application prior to your program’s application deadline.  Your payment for the program (unless we have a billing agreement with your home institution) and Program Contract are due by your program’s payment deadline. You can find both deadlines on our Dates & Fees page. You must also reach out to your home institution’s study abroad office to ensure you meet any of their deadlines to study abroad. 

Please review the cancellation policy in the ‘Program Acceptance’ section above for important dates should you choose to withdraw your application. 


Most airlines do not allow open-ended tickets and now require international passengers to select a return date at the time of booking their flight. Return dates can be changed, subject to availability, but program participants should initially book a return flight home no earlier than one day after their university exams are scheduled to finish. After receiving their final exam schedule, participants can change their return to an earlier date, if their schedule permits. However, participants should not rely on professors allowing exams to be taken prior to the official exam date, as professors are under no obligation to accommodate such requests. For example, if the student’s last exam is December 17th they should not rely on rescheduling it so they can return home early.

Housing Dates

Housing is provided until one day after the final day of university exams. Study abroad students generally finish their exams before the last scheduled exam date so students should have plenty of time to prepare for their departure. Please also pay particular attention to the housing move-in dates.

Program Start Dates

The program officially begins at the start of our TEAN Orientation in Queenstown. Students arriving in advance of our orientation will be responsible for their own transportation from the airport and any necessary accommodations prior to the orientation start date.

Program Dates by University

University of Auckland
AUT University
Massey University – Palmerston North
Victoria University of Wellington
Massey University – Wellington
University of Canterbury
Lincoln University
University of Otago

Diversity & Identity

Diversity and Identity

One of our main goals at TEAN is to make sure all of our students are thoroughly supported from day one of the study abroad process. Embracing diversity in all its forms is very important to us. We’re dedicated to providing the most information and resources possible so students can make an informed decision on what program will best suit them, both academically and personally. We encourage all students to read through our Diversity and Identity page of our website to find resources useful for you directly and learn more about the students you will be studying abroad with.

Get Schooled



This section contains information on how to select your New Zealand university courses and ensure you get credit for them, financial aid and how to navigate the system to ensure your aid transfers, details of the TEAN and other scholarships you may want to apply for; and some details on academic differences to expect in New Zealand. Step 2: Get Schooled explained in 60 seconds.

Courses & Credit

Courses and Credit

Once it’s time to select courses, your TEAN Program Manager will be in touch with instructions on next steps on how to find courses and submit them on your online application.

For course selection instructions click here.

Once you have entered your course selections in your online application, your TEAN Program Manager will submit your completed application for formal university approval.

Schedule Meeting with Academic Advisor

It is highly recommended that you have your academic advisor approve your classes before leaving if you wish to ensure you receive transfer credit. If you do not wish to receive any credit when you return home you may be able to forego the approval process. Some students tackle the credit transfer issues when they return from their program, but at the very minimum you should at least meet with your academic advisor/dean before departure so they are fully aware you will be studying abroad. They will be able to help you select courses that will count towards your major and that will be easily transferable for credit when you return.

Schedule Meeting with Study Abroad Office

Contact your study abroad office at your home university to discuss study abroad credit approval and other specific procedures to be completed for your program overseas. This is an important step as it may reveal crucial steps towards avoiding complications and making your transition abroad seamless. In addition, your study abroad advisor need to complete your “Statement from University” form. You can send this to them from your online application.

Financial Aid

Schedule Meeting with Financial Aid Advisor

While we strive to keep our programs affordable, we recognize that many students need financial help. The good news is that most financial aid you are currently receiving is applicable toward study abroad. Generally, you can transfer federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, that do not need to be repaid until after graduation.

See the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 102-325, 106 Stat.448):  The act was re-authorized in the summer of 1992 to include a number of provisions to facilitate the use of federal financial aid for study abroad.  (NAFSA:  Association of International Educators Newsletter, Volume 44, No 3/Dec-Jan 1993).

The U.S. Department of Education advised that the Perkins Loans, SSIG Grant Program, Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Stafford Loans, SLS loans, PLUS Loans and Consolidation loans can now be used for study abroad.  Your study abroad experience does not have to be compulsory for your degree program in order to apply your aid.  Please contact your home institution financial aid office to discuss your financial aid options for study abroad.


The Financial Aid Agreement form (FAA) is completed by you and your home university. The FAA acts as proof of incoming funds and allows you to defer a portion of your payment until your financial aid awards are released, even if that is after your program start date. Note: If your entire program is covered by aid, a down payment is still required to confirm your participation in the program. More information will be available via a link in your TEAN portal. 

  1. Download the Financial Aid Agreement from your TEAN application 
  2. Read the information carefully and sign and date the student portion at the bottom 
  3. Send your signed FAA to your financial aid office and ask them to either send to or return the form to you to upload to your TEAN application. 
  4. Pay your program’s down payment OR the balance not covered by aid (whichever amount is greater) by your program’s payment deadline.
      • For example: If your financial aid covers all but $700 of your balance and your program down payment is $1000, you would pay $1,000 by the payment deadline. This $1,000 would go towards your total program balance. 
      • If your financial aid only covers $5,000 of your $12,000 program balance, you would pay the difference ($7,000) at the payment deadline and then pay the remaining $5,000 once your aid is disbursed. 
  1. Pay your remaining balance once your financial aid is disbursed. Payment is due to TEAN within 5 business days of the date listed on your FAA form.

Your FAA is due by your program’s payment deadline. You can read more about financial aid and payment options here 

Consortium Agreements

If you are currently receiving financial aid (federal loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) from your home institution please follow these steps.  The financial aid you currently receive may not be processed in the same manner and the same amounts may not be awarded to you.

Step 1:  Visit your home university’s financial aid office and inform them you will be studying abroad through The Education Abroad Network.  Ask them how much of your current aid will transfer for a study abroad experience. You will also need to check if there is additional paperwork specific to your home university.

Step 2:  Ask your financial aid office if they have a “consortium agreement” (do not worry if this is a foreign term to you, they will know what it is!) which essentially means they will complete all paperwork regarding your existing financial aid while you are studying abroad.  This is the ideal arrangement as it makes the whole process easier for everyone.  You will also need to have a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form filled out that will be provided to you by your Program Manager.

Step 3:  If they have a consortium agreement, most likely they will have an existing agreement that is university specific. TEAN will likely have to sign this for you and send it back to them. It will not go to your overseas institution. The TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form should then be faxed or emailed to us.

Unfortunately, not all universities will have a consortium agreement nor sign a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form.  If this applies to your school please consult us immediately for further guidance.

Please note: The financial aid process is very complex and adequate planning is necessary.  You should contact your home institution’s financial aid office if you will, or think you may need to, apply loans or aid to your study abroad program. TEAN is not a lending institution so unfortunately, all financial aid and loan discussions will need to be made within your home university’s financial aid office.  



In addition to the current financial aid you receive, you may want to consider one of our many scholarships. Each year TEAN awards thousands of scholarship dollars to qualified program participants.  Awards range from $1,000 – $5,000, and we have a range of categories that students may qualify for. In addition, there are scholarship opportunities available through several external organizations. Review details of the available study abroad scholarships. If you are a returning TEAN student, review the option to apply for our TEAN Repeat Grant as well. 

Academic Differences

Academic Differences in New Zealand

Academic terminology overseas is different compared to American terms. For example, at some New Zealand universities a “course” actually means a “degree program,” such as “I am studying the Bachelor of Business course”, while a “paper” refers to an individual class/subject matter. Below we have outlined some of the main academic differences that American study abroad students have consistently noted.

Limited assessment/assignments

This will vary for each faculty but, in general, most courses have only limited assessments/assignments throughout the course of the semester. For example, some courses have one paper worth 20% and one final exam worth 80% of the final grade. This is very different from the American system where there is usually continual assessment, i.e. quizzes, essays, papers, midterm and final exams. In the American system students often know how they are progressing throughout the semester. With the limited ongoing assessment throughout the semester in the New Zealand systems, many students think there is no point going to class because there are fewer assignments. However, given that there are fewer assignments, each assessment becomes proportionately more important and can make it harder to get a good grade in a course. If you fail one assignment you will have a lot of ground to make up with the remaining assignment or exam, and how much ground you are able to makeup can be mathematically limited. Do not get lulled into a false sense of security. Do the coursework as the semester progresses. If you don’t, when the mid-term/final exam is upon you, it will be quite difficult to pass the class. At that point, it will be too late to withdraw from the class so the poor mark will be on your official transcript.

Emphasis on independent work

Even though there are limited assignments, it is expected that students are doing continuous independent research/study during the course. Students may not get extra points for attending class and participating, but if a student continually misses class the lecturer will notice and can factor the absences into the final grade. Additionally, some American students are used to having professors available daily for assistance if they are finding the course difficult. It may vary from department to department, but in general, students in New Zealand are expected to be independent, do the work and make sure they pass the class on their own.

Courses in New Zealand can be more difficult

As the degree programs are very streamlined (e.g. if you are a business major all you take is business — there are no general education requirements). In addition, New Zealand students have prepared for their degree in high school. As such, first year economics at the university, for example, is quite difficult, as it is assumed students had a significant background in economics in high school. In contrast, in the U.S. most first year students, regardless of their degree, take broader courses to satisfy general education requirements. Such general education courses tend to be a bit easier since they are intended to be taken by a variety of students from a variety of academic disciplines, and not necessarily by students specializing in that field. This also means New Zealand students have significant background in their area of study by the time they reach second and third year of college.

New Zealand Course Levels

Study abroad students will generally take a combination of 100/1000, 200/2000 and 300/3000 level courses. Course levels in New Zealand do not correspond to the same course level in the U.S. Because New Zealanders earn an undergraduate degree in three years versus the customary four years in the U.S., course levels are slightly different than what most students are accustomed to at their home institution. For example, a 400/4000 level course in the U.S. generally equates to a “senior” year course, but in New Zealand a 400/4000 level course would equal a “Graduate” course. Please see the chart below for more examples.

Because of these academic differences you should not take all 300 or 3000 level courses at your overseas university just because you are a junior. 300/3000 level courses in New Zealand are equivalent to “senior” year courses in the U.S.  “Senior” year courses assume the highest knowledge base going into the course, which many U.S. juniors or sophomores may not possess. Most universities will allow you to take some 300/3000 level courses, but they will strongly recommend you take a balance of first, second and third year courses to ensure you are not academically overwhelmed.

We will discuss these academic differences in more detail upon arrival. If you have any questions or concerns regarding academic differences please do not hesitate to contact us. The majority of our participants do quite well overseas, but it is important to be aware of the academic differences.  Participants need to be prepared for the pitfalls as there will be many potential distractions.


New Zealand institutions determine grades quite differently from U.S. institutions. It is common for U.S. students to start with a 100% when they turn in an assignment. As the teacher marks the paper and finds mistakes, the student is marked down until they reach a final grade. At New Zealand universities, however, students start with a 0% and are marked up as the teacher finds things correct until they reach a final grade for that assignment. As a result, students will generally end up with lower grades overseas than they would have received in the U.S. For example, overseas a 75% on a paper is normally a “Credit” which is equal to a “B” in the U.S. It is much harder to get a higher grade in New Zealand than in the U.S. This can affect students psychologically – that is, students accustomed to receiving grades in the 80 – 90% range will be disappointed to receive lower percentage scores (75%), even though the percentage translates to the same “B” grade.

Final Exams

You are required to take your final exam. Even if you could pass the course without taking the final exam based on your prior grades, you must take the exam to pass the course. If you do not take your final exam this will result in a Did Not Complete (DNC) on your transcript instead of a letter grade.

Grading Scale

Below is a general comparison of the New Zealand grading system and their American grading equivalencies. Please note this comparison is only general and your home institution ultimately decides the amount of credit you will receive and the grade equivalencies.

New Zealand Grade Percentage Range U.S. Grade
A+, A, A- 80-100% A
B+ 75-79% B
B 70-74% B
B- 65-69% B
C+ 60-64% C
C 55-59% C
C- 50-54% C
D (Fail) 40-49% F
E (Fail) 39% and under F

Please note: Most U.S. universities do not include overseas grades in the student’s total GPA. The credit is recognized as transfer credit, but is excluded from all GPA calculations. However, this may be different at your home institution. Please check with your home university regarding their transfer credit policies.

Get a Room



In New Zealand we have found preferred university housing for students both on and off campus housing in all locations. Past TEAN students have loved living with Kiwi students and other international students from all over the world. This section provides details on the necessary steps you need to take to secure housing in New Zealand, further details about the New Zealand housing options, information on finding your own housing, and utilities differences in New Zealand. Step 3: Get a Room explained in 60 seconds.

TEAN Housing

Complete the Housing Forms

You will need to complete a housing questionnaire and housing preference form. Your responses on these forms are used by your TEAN Program Manager to complete your New Zealand university housing applications. All housing TEAN uses in New Zealand offer single rooms. Therefore roommate requests in the housing form refer to any students you may wish to share an apartment with. In some locations, it’s not an option to request housemates.

Your TEAN Program Manager will complete the New Zealand university housing forms on your behalf. In some instances we may need to ask you some further questions not available on our housing questionnaire, and obtain your preferences where there is more than one option. This process usually occurs in early October for Spring applications, and mid-March for Fall applications.

Review details about the housing options by program.

Catered vs Self-Catered Housing


Most student housing in New Zealand is self-catered, meaning you will do your own grocery shopping and cooking. We find most students studying abroad prefer the autonomy and control over food costs associated with a self-catered option.


There are only two schools (Massey-Palmerston North and Lincoln) where we recommend both catered and self-catered options. Meal plans are not included in your TEAN fees, and these costs will be billed separately. Most catered housing in New Zealand is aimed at first-year university students. Note that a catered hall in New Zealand is very different to what some students may be used to in the U.S. There are usually one or two main course options per meal and the variety is usually limited, so we don’t necessarily recommend the fully catered halls. Some past TEAN students have liked the Lincoln and Massey–Palmerston North catered options as it enabled them to meet a lot of local students, so those options are included by TEAN mainly for this reason.

Terms of Residence

We provide accommodation for the entire orientation program and the duration of your academic semester, including semester breaks. In addition, students are generally allowed to stay in units until one day after all university exams finish. Please reference the program calendar for exact dates. We can also recommend short-term housing for any participant wishing to stay past the program term.


Electricity in Your New Home

Voltage & Plugs

The United States uses 110-volt electricity, whereas most countries outside North America use 220-volt electricity. You may need to use a converter or a transformer to change the 220-volt electricity into 110-volt electricity in order to use a 110-volt device overseas, however most newer electronics convert voltage automatically. Check your model to be sure.

Similarly, electrical outlets abroad have different numbers of prong openings and variations on their distribution. Plugs on your devices will require an adapter in order to be used. You can find an outlet converter cheaply (around $5-10)  at online stores like

The Hair Dryer Conundrum

We recommend leaving your hair dryer at home and purchasing a cheap model once you arrive in the country. In some cases, it may be cheaper and significantly more convenient to simply purchase low-cost yet essential electronic devices once abroad. For example, hair dryers often take up much needed packing space and are inexpensive abroad, so purchasing a voltage adaptor might not be cost effective. Use discretion when making these decisions to determine what’s best for you.

Housing Commitment Fee

*Please note this section only applies to the programs listed below and to students who will be paying TEAN for their housing.  If the “Direct Bill Student” form is visible on your TEAN portal, then you will not pay the Housing Commitment Fee. 

The HCF applies to the following programs: 

All Australia programs 

  • The following New Zealand programs: 
    • University of Waikato 
    • Massey University Palmerston North 
    • Lincoln University 

Since TEAN will put down nonrefundable deposits for housing on your behalf, a Housing Commitment Fee (HCF) will be due by your program’s payment deadline.  This means you must decide by your payment deadline if you will be utilizing TEAN housing or opting to find your own housing independently.  

Since your exact housing won’t be confirmed until after the payment deadline, you will not be charged the full amount of housing on your program invoice.  Instead, your program invoice (due at payment deadline) will include a $1,000 Housing Commitment Fee. This ensures we can arrange housing for your program. 

Once housing is confirmed, about 1-2 months prior to departure, you will receive a housing invoice for your remaining balance. The $1,000 HCF goes towards this balance. Please be prepared to pay your housing invoice 1-2 months prior to departure. 

For example: 

You will pay the $1,000 HCF by the payment deadline. Six weeks prior to departure, you are confirmed for housing that costs $6,000.  Accounting will issue you an invoice for $5,000, since you’ve already paid the $1,000 HCF.  

Doing it Yourself

Doing it Yourself

When it comes to off-campus housing, which is often the preferred alternative in many instances, some participants may mistakenly think it is easier or less expensive to find their own housing upon arrival. Please think again. While you may luck into a good housing situation, chances are you will run into some challenges and hassles that may complicate your stay. You may find that:

  • You are locked into a 6-12 month lease.
  • Safe housing near campus can be difficult to find.
  • Public transport is limited.
  • Many landlords and real estate agents are not willing to deal directly with students.
  • Set-up and payment of utilities can be a hassle and sometimes not possible for international students.
  • Many units come unfurnished, meaning you must rent furniture (a costly option).
  • There is no one to serve as liaison with your landlord or roommates should a dispute arise.

Pre-arranged housing is truly your best option!

Get Booked



It’s time to book your flights! It’s really happening – get excited! This section details information regarding booking flights for New Zealand and optional mid-semester break excursions. We also provide advice about insurance if you plan to travel outside of New Zealand. Step 4: Get Booked explained in 60 seconds.


Booking Flights

TEAN partners with Student Universe to offer students a simple way to book their flights. We recommend booking with Student Universe however it is not a requirement.  

 Important: Do not book your flights until you have received the flight booking instruction email from your Program Manager. 

 TEAN strongly recommends that you purchase refundable airfare or flights with flexibility.  

Review Your Host University’s Calendar

  • Visit our Dates page to find more details regarding your host university calendar
  • Make sure you are aware of the TEAN Auckland/Rotorua 
Orientation dates. 
  • Do not book your return flight before the last day of exams at your host university. 
  • Make sure you are arriving on the correct date. 

Important Tips before Booking

  • Pay attention to any cancellation policies and ticketing fees. Many great deals are non-refundable and have quite a few rules and regulations for use. 
  • We recommend booking any domestic flights from your home city on the same ticket as your international flight in order to get international baggage allowances as well as to ensure that you will be booked on the next available flight in the event that a connection is missed. 
  • Keep in mind most travel agencies try and arrange a 1.5 – 3 hour window of time in between domestic and international connections. We recommend leaving yourself at least 3 hours. 
  • If you need to re-check your bags in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, etc. you should allow 3 – 5 hours between flights. This may seem like a long time but with any potential flight delays it is better to be waiting at the airport for your international flight versus missing your flight overseas. 
  • You will be given a pickup time window for your arrival in New Zealand to be eligible for the group pickup. If you miss this scheduled time and arrive late, then you will need to take a taxi or shuttle to the hotel. Further information on this will be provided closer to your departure. 
  • If you want to arrive early before the start of Orientation, please keep in mind you will be responsible for extra costs for taxis and/or accommodations. 
  • We strongly discourage booking flights with budget airlines (Spirit, Frontier, etc) as the customer service and dependability with these airlines can often times lead to travel disruptions on departure day.   


Why enroll in a TEAN excursion?

  1. Value and awesome savings. We know where to go, what to see and who to work with in all of the locations we offer.
  2. Get inspired for your own travels. After participating in one of these guided tours, students will be more prepared to plan and execute their own adventures during the semester.
  3. Excursions are arranged to coincide with Australian and New Zealand universities’ typical semester break schedule.  While these excursions/dates are always subject to change, below is a list of semester break excursions we intend to offer for the semester. All excursions/dates will be confirmed with the release of the program calendar.

Sample Excursions

South Island

New Zealand’s South Island offers some of the most magnificent natural environments this planet has to offer and is home to some of the world’s most extreme adventure sports! From the Southern Hemisphere’s highest (and original) bungee jump, to jet boating through ravines, whitewater rafting raging rapids and hiking glaciers, you won’t be bored or disappointed. This excursion is usually offered as a mid-semester break excursion.

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Take advantage of New Zealand’s ideal location in the South Pacific and explore exotic Asian destinations. With TEAN’s exclusive 9-day excursion to Thailand, you’ll find yourself bathing elephants in a river, learning to cook Thai food and visiting exotic temples. With the culture of the north and the beaches of the south, this excursion, usually offered for the spring mid-semester break, is not to be missed.

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Don’t miss your chance to explore the hidden gems of Melbourne. On our weekend trip to this uber cool city you’ll explore hidden alleys and be introduced to the sporting culture of Aussie Rules Football. Led by our local Resident Director, this is one place you absolutely must visit.

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Travel Outside New Zealand

Travel Outside New Zealand

TEAN students are automatically registered for the StudentSafe insurance that is a requirement of studying in New Zealand, and this fee is included in your program fees. This comprehensive travel and medical insurance covers you for a maximum of 16 days for temporary visits to Australia, Bali, Lombok and the Islands of the South Pacific and return to New Zealand during the Period of Insurance. 

There are some limitations to StudentSafe Insurance. If you have any existing health concerns, contact your current insurance provider before you leave for New Zealand. Medical insurance for higher levels of need is your own responsibility. If you plan to travel outside of the above listed destinations during your time abroad, you may need to arrange your own insurance. 

For more details, refer to the StudentSafe policy online.

Get Documents



This section is very important. Before you jet off for the time of your life, you’ll need to apply for a student visa for your program. Please read this section carefully, and when the time comes, your Program Manager will guide you through the visa application process.


Sign Acceptance of Offer from University

After your application and courses are submitted to your host university, if accepted, you will receive a Letter of Offer. In some instances, the New Zealand university will require you to sign an acceptance of offer or require you to go online to accept your offer and register for classes. Your TEAN Program Manager will provide instructions to you for the relevant process for your New Zealand university. 

Student Visa

Student Visa

Special Note: For the Fall 2022 semester, students are required to apply for a Working Holiday Visa rather than a Student Visa due to the border re-opening requirements. Your Program Manager has sent you specific instructions for the Working Holiday Visa Application. The Working Holiday Visa permits you to study for up to six months and also permits you to work while in New Zealand. 

All students will be required to apply for a student visa to study abroad in New Zealand. Your Program Manager will supply you with specific, step-by-step instructions when you are eligible to apply, but it is important to understand the process and what you can expect. 

Letter of Offer

Upon acceptance into a New Zealand university you will be issued with a letter of offer. You will not be able to apply for your student visa until you receive this offer letter. 

Receive Visa Application Process & Instructions

You cannot apply for your student visa more than three months before your university commences classes. Your Program Manager will notify you when you are eligible to apply for your student visa, which is typically 10 – 12 weeks prior to your departure. You will also receive step-by-step instructions on the process. 

Passport Reminder

If you don’t currently have a passport, you should apply for your passport as soon as possible once you apply for your study abroad experience in New Zealand, as this process can take approximately 4 – 8 weeks and will be required for your student visa application as well. 

Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the conclusion of your semester to satisfy New Zealand’s entry requirements. All countries have different requirements for passport validity so be sure to check details for any other countries you plan to visit before your final return home. 

Non-US citizens

You need to notify us if you are not a U.S. citizen and/or you are studying overseas for two semesters, as your visa application procedures will be slightly more complex. For example, students studying for more than one semester may require medical check-ups and other supplemental forms.  Please contact our U.S. office for further instructions. 

Cost of Student Visa

The New Zealand student visa for U.S. citizens is free as long as you’re applying outside of New Zealand. The cost of the visa is subject to change at the discretion of Immigration New Zealand. 

Working Rights

Students on a one semester visa are not eligible to work while in New Zealand. For more information on working while studying in New Zealand check out the New Zealand immigration website. 

Processing Time

Unlike other countries, New Zealand student visa applications do not require applying at a local embassy in person. In recent semesters, processing times have ranged from 2 – 4 weeks. .

Get Going



It’s almost time! Now you just need to review some final information on insurance while abroad, follow our New Zealand packing tips, start planning how you will manage your money while abroad, review cell phone options and read up on details on your arrival to Queenstown for Orientation. Our New Zealand-based staff are looking forward to meeting you when you get off the plane in Queenstown! Step 6: Get Going explained in 60 seconds.


Insurance in New Zealand

The New Zealand government through the Ministry of Education Code of Practice for Pastoral Care of International Students requires that international students studying in New Zealand have medical and travel insurance. The cost of this insurance is included in your final program fee and enrollment is automatic through the New Zealand University. This insurance, called StudentSafe, provides both medical and some travel insurance. 

If visiting a doctor’s office, hospital, specialist, urgent care clinic etc. that is not part of the university student health facility, there will be an out-of-pocket expense paid directly to that healthcare provider. A claim for reimbursement will then need to be submitted to StudentSafe. Students should always keep all their receipts and medical documentation from the visit to submit with their claim. 

Your medical insurance policy includes the following: 

  • Doctor visits 
  • Medical evacuation 
  • Hospitalization 
  • Non-elective surgery 
  • Emergency dental services 
  • Emergency optical replacement 

There are some limitations to StudentSafe Insurance. Some pre-existing medical conditions are not covered so if you have pre-existing health concerns, please contact your current insurance provider to learn about additional coverage before you leave for New Zealand and also notify your Program Manager. There is additional paperwork that can be completed and submitted to StudentSafe to determine whether or not the pre-existing condition can be covered though it may be at an additional cost. 

During the semester, if traveling outside of New Zealand, you will be covered by StudentSafe Insurance for up to 16 days for temporary visits to Australia, Bali, Lombok and the Islands of the South Pacific. If you are planning to stay longer than 16 days or are traveling independently somewhere outside these locations (Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, etc.) you will need to purchase supplemental health insurance. If traveling on a TEAN excursion, insurance will be provided for you as part of the excursion. 

StudentSafe Insurance also includes medical evacuation and repatriation of remains (in the tragic event of a death, a body will be returned to the home of the participant). 

Personal Articles Insurance

We recommend students put anything of value, i.e. cameras, smart phones, iPads, jewelry, musical instruments, laptops, etc., on a Personal Articles Policy (many homeowners already have this policy so students most likely can add their items onto their parents’ Personal Article Policy). This insurance often covers the full value of the items worldwide with no deductible. Typically, items valued up to $3,000 can be covered for an approximately $30 premium. We encourage students to take pictures of item(s) and note their model, make and serial number, as well as saving receipts when possible. Purchase of this insurance is left to the discretion of the student and their parents, since StudentSafe does have some coverage for personal items. 

We believe that the combination of the StudentSafe and a Personal Article Policy offers the broadest, most comprehensive coverage while students study and travel abroad. 

Travel Insurance

Trip insurance is optional and is not included in TEAN program fees with the exception of what is covered through StudentSafe. We recommend considering supplemental trip insurance to protect against unexpected mishaps (i.e. lost luggage, trip disruptions, etc.) that can occur while traveling. Plans range from $100 to $350 and can be purchased through various insurance carriers. If you would like to discuss plans with TEAN’s recommended travel liaison please contact Student Universe at 602-253-4743. 

Medications Abroad

Bringing Prescriptions

For your medications, you can bring up to three months with you (birth control medication and vitamins are typically okay for a six month supply), and you’ll want to have it clearly marked with your name/prescription on the label in your carry on luggage. Students typically do not have issues bringing the medications with them on the plane and in fact, it’s suggested that you keep them in your carry-on so you can answer any questions by customs and/or airport security if necessary.

However, if you need more than three months worth of prescriptions, you can have additional medications mailed to you. You will need to visit a doctor in New Zealand (doctors are available at most campuses) and ask the doctor for a letter indicating that you need to have the medications shipped in and that when the medication comes through customs (and is potentially searched) that it should not be intercepted and/or destroyed. In the package with your additional medication, you will also need to include a letter from your doctor at home indicating that you require this medication. Doctors will be easily accessible on campus and close to housing so it shouldn’t be too difficult, but just something you should be prepared for and take care of in the first few weeks on campus. You will get more information and advice on visiting a doctor once you arrive in country, but all of our students will have medical coverage and will receive insurance information during their university orientation.

Medications including amphetamine and dexamphetamine, such as Adderall have strict requirements as they are considered controlled substances in New Zealand. For further details regarding bringing medicines into New Zealand, please refer to the New Zealand Government website, Medsafe.  Any specific questions not answered on the website, can be directed to MedSafe New Zealand directly to get the most accurate advice:

Additional Resources

Medsafe General Information
Bringing/Importing Medication
Medicine Classification Database 

Packing List

Packing Advice for Your Semester Abroad

  • Follow the “less is more” theory or, as previous students have advised, “Pack everything you might need, then take half of it out”.
  • Seasons can vary greatly (windy, cool, damp, hot and humid). Google average temperatures in your destination. TEAN Dunedin alum have indicated that they did not expect it to get as as cold as it did – pack at least one warm jacket.
  • We suggest planning to layer clothing in cooler weather rather than bringing bulky clothing
  • Put labels on your belongings (especially on luggage)
  • Please refer to your airline carrier’s website for current baggage restrictions on international and domestic flights.
  • Past students suggest using a large backpack as your checked luggage, which is also useful for overnight hiking trips
  • Keep in mind that you will be bringing all of your luggage for the semester with you to Queenstown for orientation. Because of this, try to pack your orientation clothes in a spot of your luggage that is easily accessible without having to unpack all of your clothes.
Baggage Allowance

For exact baggage restrictions (including dimensions and weight) check your airline’s website. You’ll want to be sure you check the luggage allowances for all the airlines you’ll be flying. If you will exceed one checked item it is generally more economical, safer and easier to pay the airlines for additional checked baggage versus shipping items to New Zealand. However, you would need to pay excess baggage charges for each separate flight, and for your round trip flights the costs for an extra bag are expected to be over $300 USD. It’s typically cheaper to pay any additional baggage fees prior to arriving at the airport so we recommend contacting your airline to add any additional bags prior to travel.

Suggested Packing List

Please Note: The packing list provided is a suggested list. Triple check to ensure you have everything necessary! TEAN is not responsible for forgotten items. .

Necessary Items

  • A raincoat with warm lining (detachable is best) or waterproof Gore-tex jacket 
  • Jeans (multiple pairs because they tend to be expensive in New Zealand) 
  • Khakis/lightweight pants 
  • Pajamas 
  • Underwear and socks 
  • Shorts and T-shirts 
  • Two or three pairs of comfortable walking shoes:  tennis shoes, shoes for hiking (lace-up shoes) and casual shoes for school 
  • A fleece (for any cool weather) 
  • Cotton sweaters 
  • Cotton shirts – long and short sleeve (good for layering) 
  • Bathing suits 
  • Sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants/running pants 
  • Accessories (belts, jewelry, hair accessories) 
  • Sunscreen (UV rays are much stronger in the southern hemisphere) 
  • Beach towel or extra bath towel (optional) 
  • Hat (to protect from the sun) 
  • Contact lenses and solution 
  • Glasses: prescription (if necessary) and sunglasses 
  • Smaller backpack for books/weekend travel 
  • Prescription medicine (bring note/proof from doctor) – only a 3-month supply allowed. Contact us for instructions on what to do if you need more. 
  • Wall adapter for electrical devices that don’t require a voltage convertor (i.e. cameras, your laptop, etc.) 

Unnecessary Items

  • Extra toiletries – you can easily buy these in New Zealand so save room in your luggage 
  • Electrical appliances, including hairdryer, straighteners, curling irons, etc. – you can purchase them in New Zealand (otherwise you will need a voltage converter and electrical adaptor) 
  • All kitchen supplies – utensils, pots/pans, crockery/glasses 
  • Bedding/linens – TEAN has arranged for a bedding pack to be provided in all accommodation though towels may not be included

Carry On

While there is little chance of this happening, if you plan on the airline losing your baggage for at least 24 – 48 hours you will be prepared and avoid extra inconvenience. Pack travelsized toiletries, medication and change of clothes in your carry-on. This will more than likely not happen, but if it does you will be ready. 

What Else
  • Obtain some New Zealand currency before you leave the United States.
  • Make copies of important documents (visa, passport, driver’s license, credit/bank cards, flight itinerary, travel insurance info, etc.) – bring one set with you, store the others in various places in case your luggage or wallet is lost or stolen and leave one copy at home. We also recommend emailing these documents to yourself so you have electronic versions easily accessible.  
  • If you’re planning to have additional courses approved once you’re on campus, you should bring a current academic transcript that reflects your most recent semester grades. Or, you can plan to use an electronic copy. 

Arrival in Auckalnd

Arrival in Auckland

Please complete the Arrival Form sent to you by your Program Manager along with uploading a copy of your flight itinerary. We use this information to help coordinate airport pick up when you first arrive in New Zealand as well as preparing for any domestic flights you will have after orientation. 
Specific arrival details will be provided to you prior to departure but in general, you will need to arrive within the allocated arrival window provided to you during the flight booking process. If you arrive in Auckland between 5:30am and 9:00am, you will be met at the airport by TEAN staff and provided an airport transfer to the orientation accommodation. 
It is your responsibility to notify TEAN in a timely manner if you experience flight delays and/or itinerary changes. 

Contact Information

Prior to your departure your Program Manager will provide you with contact details for all key TEAN personnel, including your Resident Director, as well as information on your local embassy and emergency contacts. 

Health & Safety

HEalth & Safety Abroad

Emergency Response Plan

We have created an Emergency Response Plan for our study abroad locations that will be implemented by both our Resident Director staff in New Zealand and our U.S.-based staff in Chicago. Our staff will work with students, parents, and study abroad staff at both the student’s home and host university to provide the most up-to-date information regarding any situations that may arise while studying abroad.  Our participants will be given Emergency Contact Information before they depart the U.S. and also briefed at orientation on specific instructions to follow in case of an emergency.

TEAN Protocols

In the event of a health emergency, serious accident, natural disaster, crime, or death each program location has a contingency plan that can be activated. TEAN will contact participants, their emergency contacts, and home universities in the event of such a situation.

Disclaimer– Nothing in this plan is a guarantee that any specific action will be taken in any given situation, nor is anything in this document a contract or part of a contract between TEAN and any other party, nor is any statement in this document intended to sell a service to a prospective customer, nor to attempt to persuade any party to avail themselves of any program or service provided by TEAN. Health, safety and recovery from emergency situations are the sole responsibilities of each individual participant

After Hours Urgent Line

TEAN personnel are available to assist you with an emergency 24/7. In addition to having access to a Resident Director as well as instructions on contacting Police/Fire/Ambulance in your host country, you and your family will be able to reach us after hours in the event of an emergency. Although we will not always be your best resource to resolve an issue directly, we work in conjunction with our partners and colleagues on the ground to make sure students get a quick resolution in crisis situations.

Please call 1-800-585-9658 or 312-239-3710 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm CST. For urgent assistance after business hours, please call 574-239-6545.

Safety While Abroad

We are committed to the health and safety of every participant. It is very important that students make informed decisions about their study and travel destinations. We continually monitor the safety and security of our study abroad program locations as well as popular student travel destinations. We continue to advise students of the safety and health risks associated with studying and traveling abroad based on the information from the U.S. Department of State travel warnings, local law enforcement, the New Zealand government, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the World Health Organization.

Tips for Personal Safety

  • Emergency Contacts: Be sure to designate a parent or guardian as your Emergency Contact. This way, information regarding an emergency situation will automatically be passed on to your parents. Also make sure to provide us with your Emergency Contact’s most up-to-date contact information.
  • Communication Information: Provide TEAN with accurate and up-to-date contact information regarding your cell phone, address and email address. Be sure to notify your parents and Resident Director in case of an emergency.
  • Keep Others Informed: Tell others (your roommates, your parents, your Resident Director) your travel plans. Keeping others informed will make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • Stay Informed: Research the political, cultural and social climate of your study and travel abroad destination before heading overseas. While abroad, read local newspapers and watch local news broadcasts for developments that may affect your health and safety. If you have questions, please contact us either in the U.S. or abroad.
  • What about anti-American sentiment? Although individual Americans are generally well liked abroad, there can be negative feelings toward U.S. government policy. Participants are urged to use common sense, avoid overt displays of American patriotism and avoid all public demonstrations.


It is recommended to have general vaccinations up-to-date including tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, etc.

Please note TEAN requires all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate on programs. If you have any questions, please contact your Program Manager.

If you have any health conditions that may cause issues, please make sure to consult a doctor before departing.


Helpful travel and safety links are listed below.

State Department Travel Warnings
Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization
US Embassies


New Zealand Orientation

Upon arrival in Auckland, our in-country staff will host you for a four-day Orientation to Kiwi life in Auckland and Rotorua. You’ll be introduced to New Zealand history, Maori culture and will also receive tips to help you adjust to life as a university student in New Zealand. Your TEAN Program Manager will forward you further details about the Orientation program for your semester abroad approximately 2 – 4 weeks prior to your departure. 

University Orientation

Your host university will hold a formal orientation lasting from one day to one week. This orientation is mandatory. Topics discussed may include health insurance enrollment, medical facilities, security, university-sponsored trips and activities, academic enrollment/expectations, and New Zealand media and culture. Although there may be some overlap, your university orientation will touch on specific details for your campus. During this orientation most students will also finalize course registration and receive information on how to receive an official insurance card. 

Communicating While Abroad

Contacting Home

Below are some suggested ways that you can easily stay in touch with your family and friends while studying abroad.

We recommend setting up a contact plan before you depart, deciding how and when you’ll be available while abroad. Whether that looks like daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly check-ins, it’s good to have a consistent way to get in touch, as well as back up alternatives in case of an emergency. While studying abroad can be a time to spread your wings and become more independent, it’s important to regularly touch base with your loved ones so they don’t worry while you’re away.

No matter which method you choose, we recommend downloading your preferred applications before leaving home and testing them out to make sure any accounts and contacts are set up properly.

Local SIM Card

TEAN provides all students a local SIM card at the TEAN orientation that can be used for calls, texting and data. Phone plans vary depending on location and more details will be provided by your Program Manager. It is recommended to only use your local phone number to call home in cases of emergency since long distance calls can be expensive but there are plenty of ways to call internationally for free or very cheap (keep reading!).

Unlocking Your Phone

In order to use the local SIM card, you need to make sure your phone is unlocked and able to accept SIM cards from other mobile carriers. “Unlocking” your phone means that your phone is not locked to one specific carrier. If your phone is unlocked you will be able to use a foreign SIM card while you are abroad. If you’re unsure if your phone is unlocked, it’s important to call your current service provider to check. If you cannot get your current phone unlocked, you will need to bring a different unlocked phone from home or plan to purchase a phone while in your host country.

International Phone Plan

While all students are given local SIM cards at the TEAN orientation, some may decide to keep their US number and opt for an international phone plan. In most cases, this allows students to utilize their phone domestically in their host country and internationally. The cost of this can vary based on service provider. If you are interested in this option, you should get in touch with your phone service provider to get the relevant fees and service options. Be sure to consider costs for dialing local numbers as it can sometimes make an international plan undesirable for calls within your host country.

Purchasing a Phone in country

This would only be a viable option if you do not want to or cannot use your current U.S. phone. Reasonably inexpensive phones can be purchased in all locations for costs anywhere from $40-$100 depending on quality This may be a good option for a student who is looking to use a phone for just texting and calling while in country, as non-smart phones can be purchased cheaply in most countries. If you are worried about losing your U.S. smartphone, you may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive phone in your host country.

Free International Contact Options

While all students will have access to a local number, there are free ways to get in touch with people across the world while connected to the internet or data.


Allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while using WiFi or data. This allows for calls between two parties both using the Skype app downloaded. The Skype app can be downloaded onto you phone, tablet and computer. You can also purchase Skype credit which allows you to call international landline and mobile phone numbers directly (so both parties don’t have to have a Skype account). These calls typically cost around $.05 for the connection and $.03 per minute, making it an affordable option.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook’s Messenger app allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while on WiFi or data.


While we don’t suggest going out of your way to purchase an iPhone for this option, it is a great feature for any students who have these phones already. iPhones use iMessage and FaceTime while on WiFi or data at zero charge to the provider plan.

Other Free Messaging Apps

You probably already know or use WhatsApp, which allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while on WiFi or data. WhatsApp is popular outside of the U.S. as well.


It may seem obvious but email is a great way to continue to stay in touch with people back home regardless of the time differences. If your host institution gives you a new school email, but sure to update friends and family with the email address you will be checking most frequently throughout your program.

Internet Services

Internet services will vary for those students living in university managed accommodation, but all students will have access to Internet services in their accommodation and on campus at their host universities.

Finances While Abroad

Finances while in New Zealand

New Zealand Currency

Like the currency of the United States, New Zealand currency comes in the form of coins and notes. The basic unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar. New Zealand doesn’t have pennies and everything is rounded to the nearest five cents when paying in cash.  Taxes are also included in labeled prices. 

Bringing U.S. Currency to New Zealand

We do not recommend bringing large amounts of cash with you for security and safety reasons. However, you may wish to bring a small amount of New Zealand currency for any initial personal expense needs. Most major banks in large U.S. cities have foreign currency in stock, but smaller, regional banks may have to order the currency. Therefore, do not wait until the last minute to place your order. Alternatively, you can exchange money at the airport before you depart for the overseas flight. This is slightly more expensive than using a local bank (1%-2% higher fees), but much more convenient. Generally, currency exchanges are not open 24 hours in Auckland/Rotorua so you should obtain the foreign currency before you depart. Students can also use their U.S. debit/credit cards in most places throughout New Zealand. 

Money Access in New Zealand

Cash (ATMs):The use of an American ATM card is a convenient and fast method to withdraw money in New Zealand. Most of these transactions are assessed the wholesale exchange rate that applies to large foreign currency transactions, which ultimately means savings for students.  Please check with your bank to ensure your PIN number and ATM card will work abroad. Some New Zealand banks currently do NOT charge any fees for using ATMs, but see if your home bank will assess fees for foreign withdrawals.

TIP:  Before departing the U.S., determine if your current ATM/bank card is readily accepted at foreign ATM machines. Check if your U.S. bank has an affiliation with a bank in New Zealand, by contacting your current U.S. bank.

Upon arrival overseas, you can also survey several ATMs near your residence and university in order to get a good representative sample. If it appears that you have an obscure ATM card that is not widely accepted, you may want to make a New Zealand bank (and ATM) your prime source of obtaining cash.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are most commonly accepted in New Zealand. Visa and MasterCard are accepted more regularly than American Express.  In the past, students have had issues using Discover cards in New Zealand.  Please keep in mind there must be someone readily available to pay your credit card bill or your finance charges will quickly add up. Most credit card bills can be paid online so you likely will be able to pay from within New Zealand without involving a third party. 

  • Be aware that most credit card companies charge approximately 2% for foreign currency transactions.
  • Be sure to notify your credit card company you will be using your card overseas so as to avoid flagging for theft/fraud.
Opening a Local Bank Account

In recent months, there have been anti-money laundering laws put in place that make opening a bank account in New Zealand for less than 6 months more difficult. Study abroad students are able to open a New Zealand bank account, however the account needs to be opened prior to arrival in New Zealand. Most banks offer an international student option.

You can open an account with most major New Zealand banks from outside New Zealand. You can find information on how to do this on each bank’s website. The major banks in New Zealand are:


Having a New Zealand bank account will ensure that you can access money from anywhere in New Zealand without worrying if your U.S. issued card will work.

With a New Zealand bank account, you will also be able to deposit funds into your account by making a wire transfer from U.S. accounts (or other foreign accounts) and make the New Zealand bank your main financial source.

Most foreign banks will accept wire transfers from any U.S. bank, but there are some fees associated with wire transfers both for sending and receiving although this is the safest and most convenient way to send money. Sample rates include $20 – $40 USD for an outgoing wire from the U.S. bank and $25 NZD for an incoming wire to New Zealand.

Banking Recommendations and Summary

Our recommendation is to use a combination of the methods listed above. Check with your parents and review all your options. Just keep in mind the following:

  • Major US credit and debit cards are widely accepted throughout New Zealand but it’s important to check with your US bank about any international transaction fees. We recommend Visa and Mastercard.
  • Personal checks (or checks drawn on U.S. banks) deposited in New Zealand can take up to four weeks to clear.
  • The quickest way to receive money from home is to have the funds deposited into your home bank account and withdraw those funds with an ATM card. Wire transfers can take 3-7 days to reach New Zealand.
  • If possible, bring some New Zealand currency with you from the U.S. in case you arrive overseas during non-business hours, e.g., when banks and currency exchanges are closed.
Personal Spending

For day-to-day spending, excluding any major travel plans, students should budget approximately the same as they would for a semester at their current U.S. institution plus an additional 10-20% to factor in variances of cost of living and extra activities. General day-to-day living expenses are comparable in New Zealand to that of major cities in the US, however students tend to spend more on weekend travel and entertainment when abroad.

Please keep in mind that living in a large metropolitan area will be more expensive than living in a smaller town.