How do student exchanges work?
A student exchange is the educational experience of a lifetime. It’s a chance to fully immerse yourself in a different culture. You will live with a host family, attend a local school, participate in the local community, and maybe even learn a new language.
NZIIU offers expert support to high school students seeking an overseas exchange by arranging placements, flights, visa, and insurance. Our thorough screening process ensures that students have the necessary skills and characteristics to enjoy a successful exchange. We take safety very seriously and make sure we prepare students as carefully as possible, and we provide ongoing support while they’re away.
We allow students to choose their study abroad country and the length of their stay – provided they qualify and pass our application criteria. Exchange students are not obligated to host in return.
Is an exchange right for you?
Going on a student exchange is a big commitment. You will need to be organised, committed to your studies, and open to new experiences. Here are a few questions to help you decide if a student exchange is right for you.
Willing to learn?
Living in another country is a chance to experience a new way of life and learn about the world. It’s important that you are flexible, responsible, adaptable, mature, open-minded, and willing to learn.
Excited to travel overseas?
Think about which country you would like to visit and why. Remember, if you choose a non-English speaking country you will be expected to learn and speak a new language.
Healthy and fit?
You need to be both physically and mentally healthy. You are expected to have sufficient immunisation (standard NZ vaccinations), although some countries are more flexible than others.
Supported by your parents?
You will need full approval and support from your parent(s). Tip: plan ahead, do lots of research, and have clear goals. Give your parents plenty of time to learn about the benefits of a student exchange.
Doing well at school?
You must be enrolled at a high school when you apply, and your school must endorse your plan to do a student exchange. You will also need to have achieved a “C” grade average (or higher) over the last two years. This is the equivalent of “Achieved” in NCEA.
Depending on the country and programme, a student exchange could cost between $7,000 and $15,000 (excluding pocket money). You will need to cover expenses such as the NZIIU programme fee, flights, insurance, visa fees, and pocket money.
Between 15 and 18 years old?
You must be aged between 15 and 18 years when you start your exchange. Some exceptions may be made for 19 year olds, but this depends on the country. In some countries, the minimum age requirement is 16 and the maximum is 17 years. Check our country pages for more info.
A New Zealand citizen or resident?
You must be a New Zealand citizen or hold Permanent Residency to be eligible.