As their first welcome, to New Zealand, students are usually met at the airport and taken to their accommodation by the institute representative. The type of orientation programme offered depends on the size of the institution.
A typical language school orientation would involve a tour of the building and introduction to staff, followed by a talk – probably in your language – about life in New Zealand and what is involved in the homestay programme. Academic advisors, counsellors and study skills advisors provide ongoing support.
Special orientation programmes are provided for first-year international students. These are mandatory compulsory. The programme will mostly include an official welcome to the institution. Course advice and enrolment; an introduction to university life (student facilities, policies and procedures, and your rights as a student); tours of the university campus and the city, information about living in New Zealand, and a beach trip or other picnic. It is a good chance to meet other international students and the people who work in the institution’s international office.
At the beginning of the academic year, tertiary institutions organise a general orientation week for all students, to introduce them to the diverse cultural and social life on campus. There are cultural festivals, international food courts, wine tasting, concerts, bands, DJs, films and comedy performances. All the institution’s clubs and societies set up stalls.
Once you have settled in, your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau (toll-free 0800 367 222) (0800 FOR CAB) is a good “one-stop shop” for finding out where to go for help. The volunteer staff provide up-to-date information on consumer, budgeting, employment, tenancy, personal and family issues. The service is free. Some of the staff speak languages other than English.