Orientation and advice for international school learners

Orientation should not be a one-off activity. It can be a period of time over which international school learners get relevant information and support.

It could involve:

  • workbooks that students can take away
  • activities such as quizzes to re-enforce information
  • a mixture of activities such as applying what they learn, interacting with others and useful services, as well as team building.

It should be age appropriate and consider the living conditions that learners have come from.  

Important aspects of living in New Zealand

Below are some areas you might cover in orientation for international school learners.

What to expect in New Zealand

The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021

Living conditions and lifestyle

  • Weather and the seasons
  • Time zones
  • Daylight saving
  • Culture and lifestyle
  • New Zealand slang

Locating and getting goods and services

  • Where to shop
  • Business hours
  • How to shop and purchasing an item
  • Using Trademe

Getting around

  • Public transport (e.g. trains, buses, ferries)
  • Taxis
  • Bicycles
  • Driving, including cars and motorcycles

Getting accommodation

  • Choosing where to live
  • Where to look for accommodation

Types of accommodation

  • Homestay
  • On-campus
  • Rentals

New Zealand law and staying safe

  • The New Zealand justice system and laws
  • Legal services and advice (e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau)
  • Child protection laws
  • Home security
  • Contents insurance
  • Internet and online safety
  • Personal safety, including on public transport and while driving
  • Road rules and owning a car, including registration, warrant of fitness, drinking while driving, random breath testing, demerit point scheme and license requirements
  • Drug use, including alcohol limits, drink spiking, standard drink size
  • Smoking/vaping, including where this is not allowed
  • Hitchhiking
  • Dangerous areas and activities
  • Sexual assault
  • Reporting a crime against you or someone else

Here are some links to government websites on health and wellbeing:

Get free advice at Citizens Advice Bureau

New Zealand Police 

Human Rights Commission

Health and wellbeing


  • Dial 111
  • Emergency room at the hospital
  • Police services
  • Fire and ambulance services
  • Lifeline
  • Poisons Information Line
  • Emergency translations

Getting healthcare in New Zealand

  • Types of health care in New Zealand (e.g. public, private, general practitioners, specialists, pharmacies, prescriptions, dental, optical, alternative or homeopathic)
  • Going to hospital, including waiting times for treatment
  • Going to a clinic or general practitioner
  • Health services (e.g. x-ray, pathology, mental, physiotherapy, sexual)
  • Over-the-counter medicine and prescriptions
  • Getting an interpreter

Here are some links to government websites on keeping connected:

Water safety

Sun safety

Sexual health

Mental health

Driving safely

Drugs and alcohol

Getting ready for an earthquake or natural disaster

Websites for the district health boards

Keeping connected

  • Telephones, including mobiles and public telephones
  • Computer and internet access, including wifi
  • Making calls inside New Zealand
  • Making overseas calls
  • Using the New Zealand post system
  • Support and community groups

Here are some links to government websites on managing your finances and working in New Zealand:

Websites for regional councils

Ethnic communities 

Budgeting services

Managing your finances

  • Initial expenses
  • Ongoing expenses
  • Budgeting advice
  • Setting up a bank account accessing your money, including EFTPOS, telephone banking, internet banking and going to a branch
  • Using an ATM, including ATM locations near your home and study
  • Paying bills
  • Account statements
  • Banking hours, services and fees
  • Safety when carrying money

Working in New Zealand

  • Working while studying, including entitlements
  • Finding work (e.g. newspapers, university job boards, online)
  • Earning an income, including when to pay taxes

Further information

If you have any questions or concerns email the Code team

Code News is our dedicated newsletter about quality assurance of pastoral care under the Code. It is released regularly. 

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