Living in New Zealand

Your life as a secondary school student in New Zealand will be very different to the routines and expectations that you are accustomed to in your home country. The only way to learn the New Zealand way of life is to live it, but here is a little bit of information to get you thinking about what your life in New Zealand might look like.

A New Zealand House
A New Zealand home is usually built out of wood, brick or roughcast. Most homes have at least some insulation and are heated by a woodburner or a heat pump to keep us warm over the winter months. In the summer, it is much warmer and New Zealand families will either open up their windows or utilise the air conditioning function of their heat pump to cool the home down. All New Zealand homes are equipped with things like fridges, freezers and washing machines, and some homes will also have dishwashers and clothes dryers.

In Richmond, most houses are built on flat sections and are unattached from the neighbours’ homes. Many families have a large back yard, and some even have swimming pools. In the summer time, New Zealand families will often get together for a typical kiwi barbeque – a shared meal together in the back yard or deck.

A New Zealand Family
During your time in New Zealand, you will be matched up with a host family that shares similar interests and values as you. Your host family will welcome you into their home and teach you about their way of life. They will become part of your family and perhaps even visit you in your home country in the years to come.

New Zealand families are all different. Some of our more common host family configurations include:
• A mother, a father and younger children
• A mother and father whose children now live away from home
• A single parent raising their children
• A couple with no children
New Zealand is proud of its multi-cultural heritage. We have many different backgrounds and cultures, but we are all New Zealanders. It is a condition of becoming a Waimea College host family that English must be the primary language spoken within the home.

A Typical New Zealand Day
New Zealand teenagers get up around 7:00am to prepare for the school day. Breakfast usually comprises of toast or cereal and a hot or cold drink. Some teenagers will make a packed lunch to take with them to school and others will purchase their lunch from the school kiosk. If you live close to Waimea College you will probably walk or bike to school in the morning, and if you live further afield your host parent will drop you off or give you a ride in their car.

School begins at 8:45am and goes till 3:10pm. There are two breaks in the middle and students are required to remain on the college grounds all day. You will have 5 one-hour lessons during this time. After school, many students will have a sports or music practice, or will have a club activity like debating, rocket-building or adventure racing. On days where you do not have an after-school activity, you might spend time at a friend’s place or meet with your friends at the Richmond Mall.

New Zealand teenagers are expected to be home before dark and you would normally have dinner together with your homestay family around 6:00pm. After dinner you might do things like complete your homework, spend time time doing activities with you host family or go out to a sports match. New Zealand families normally go to bed between 9:30pm – 11:30pm.