Students under the age of 10 must live with a parent or legal guardian, unless they are accommodated in a school hostel.
Students under the age of 18 years must have a designated caregiver or guardian while in NZ. If you are under 18 and coming to NZ and not living with your parents, you must stay in an approved homestay family and complete an indemnity form.
For students over 18 years, finding accommodation can be difficult and you need to find the accommodation that is right for you. There is a range of accommodation that students can choose in Christchurch, each offering different living arrangements.
If you are new to New Zealand and Christchurch, we strongly recommend you apply for homestay accommodation. Homestay is an option that allows you to concentrate on your studies while living with a family. Unlike Halls and flats, your homestay family will provide you with a fully furnished room and all your meals. You would be able to experience a kiwi lifestyle and focus on your study.
The cost of homestay is NZ$220 – $290 per week. An extra charge may be applied for Halal diet. There is also a one-off homestay placement fee applied of around NZ$300. Often homestay fees are paid to the school/homestay company, who then transfers the money to the family.
Homestay families are well researched and undergo a process:
- A family applies to host a student
- The family is visited and interviewed by the school representative
- A police check is conducted on those living in the house and are over 18 years of age
- The family is approved and matched with a student
Most homestay parents work (both mother and father) and other family members may be in study or work. Students are always provided with their own room but may share bathrooms with other people in the house. The number of international students per homestay is generally limited to ensure the “kiwi”experience
Contact your institution if you are interested in applying for homestay.
Halls of Residence
Most universities and polytechnics provide halls of residence or university flats. These can be in high demand so early booking is recommended. Most halls are now co-ed (have males and females but you may ask for single-sex ones). It is common for first year students to stay in the halls and then move into flats in their second and following years.
Room fittings and services include single bed, desk, lamp, closet, heating, internet access. Shared facilities depending on the hall usually include lounge area with TV, kitchen area with microwave, refrigerator, coffee and tea-making facilities plus recreation and sport facilities. Washing machines and drying facilities are provided for your use.
Please contact your institution if you are interested in applying for this option.
Flatting is another term for renting accommodation. Flats are an independent way of living where you join a group of people in a house and share costs. You may want to stay in pre-arranged accommodation (homestay or hall of residence) when you first arrive in New Zealand to give you time to adjust to living in a new country.
When you're ready, you may want to rent your own off-campus flat or shared accommodation, or to move into an existing flat. Some flats are furnished; others are not. Flat rent often doesn’t include electricity, telephone and internet (utilities), so you will need to pay for these each month additional to your rent payment. You will need to pay a deposit or bond before you move in, to cover any damage you may cause. This is typically 2-4 weeks worth of rent.
You can find information about flats by checking TradeMe, Real Estate Rentals, NZ Flatmates, local newspapers and noticeboards or with property management agencies.
The average costs per week (based on 3 person share):
- Rent $100-$180
- Utilities $20-$35
- Food $80-$100