Living in New Zealand

and is a country of 5 million people and is quickly becoming the destination of choice. Tourist numbers are rapidly increasing each year as more and more people become familiar with the beauty and freedom our country offers.

New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world.  If we look at recent events such as COVID-19, our government moved very quickly to put processes in place, protecting all of its residents from the virus that had deadly effects in many other parts of the world.  Because of its size and isolation, New Zealand was able to very quickly bring the virus under control.  The total number of cases in NZ only reached 1504 with only 21 deaths across the whole country, sadly mostly being rest homes residents.  No Dunedin residents (our city) died as a result of this virus.  Schools were able to reopen after only seven weeks and operated under firm guidelines based on rigorous hygiene practices.

Known as “kiwis”, the New Zealand people are friendly and very welcoming and will greet you as you walk along the street or on the beach. Most are hard-working and enjoy the outdoors and will look for opportunities to have a barbeque and invite friends over. International students will feel safe in this friendly environment.

Secondary schooling provides the platform in which students can pursue their academic goals. They will be given opportunities they would not have had at home and the chance to develop interests in a supportive and caring environment. Take a few minutes to view these short video clips about our wonderful country.

 Information for international students planning to study in NZ

Dunedin is a beautiful city of 130,000 people situated near the bottom of the South Island.  It is famous for its education, culture and friendliness. Because it is smaller than some of the larger North Island cities we can offer a unique learning experience that is able to extend beyond the classroom.  (Can DN somehow be highlighted on this map)

The tertiary institutes (University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic) are world famous and provide a smooth pathway for students wanting to stay on in New Zealand for studies beyond secondary schooling. Courses can be tailored for the needs of the students, from those that want to improve their English skills, to those who want to become doctors or lawyers.  

Otago (Dunedin) secondary schools have the highest NCEA (National Qualification) pass rates in all of the country and have done for a number of years.

Dunedin is sometimes known as the “ten minute” city because we are bordered by forests, farmland and beaches, all within a ten minute drive of the city centre.

Being educated in Dunedin will be the best choice you ever make and will be a real adventure.

 Accommodation and Homestays

Most international students live with a host family while they are in New Zealand. It is also possible for students to stay with their parents if they are in New Zealand, or with a Designated Caregiver (friend of the member of the family). The Ministry of Education's Code of Practice states that international students at secondary school cannot live independently. At Kaikorai Valley College we highly recommend homestay accommodation, as it gives our international students the opportunity to fully participate in New Zealand life and make the most of their New Zealand experience.

Our Homestay Coordinator carefully interviews and chooses suitable host families who live nearby, most of them within walking distance to the school. The suburbs surrounding the school are clean, spacious and safe and within a short distance to Dunedin’s city centre.

Host families treat students like their own children, supporting and caring for them while they are in New Zealand. Homestay is an amazing part of the New Zealand experience and students frequently stay in touch with their host family for the rest of their lives. All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are provided by homestay families.

Details about the family are sent to the student before they arrive in New Zealand and we recommend students contact the host family before coming to New Zealand so they can start getting to know each other.

Lee from Japan

The “kiwis” are kind and welcoming, which made it easier to find my way around. My host family was a big part of the NZ experience and they made sure I was safe and happy my entire stay.


Because Dunedin is a slightly smaller city it is very easy to get around.  Most homestays are close to school, so you can walk to and from KVC. Some students only need to walk five minutes, but others around 20 minutes.

If you need to catch a bus to school, your host family will show you how to do this, and you will practice before you need to do that for the first time. Your host family will bring you to school for the first few days until you feel confident to take the bus.

The KVC school buses cost around $14.00NZD for 10 rides.

The public bus will cost $2.00 per ride anywhere in the city with a 'Bee card'. You will need to get a ‘Bee card’ from the bus driver, then register your card online.