Study abroad in the USA, famous for its film industry, celebrity culture, national parks, and vibrant cities.

Why study in the USA?

Home to 321 million people, the USA is a vast and fascinating country. If you love Hollywood movies, contemporary music, delicious comfort food, and beautiful scenery, you’ll love the USA. Whether you study in sunny California or cosmopolitan New York, or anywhere in between, a student exchange to the USA is a wonderful opportunity to experience the famous American culture for yourself.

I really liked how diverse and open my school was. There were lots of options and all my teachers were very nice and helpful.

Fiona, Auckland


You can choose to study in the USA for one semester or one academic year. You must not be aged older than 18 years upon departure. Students must have also maintained a ‘C’ grade point average or higher in all academic classes to be eligible for this exchange programme. Placements could be anywhere in the USA, including Alaska. The map below shows where some of our students have been placed in the past. 

Placements with family friends can be requested – acceptance is based on the approval of our US partner and a signed agreement by the host school. You cannot be related to your host family. Double placements are common; you may be placed with another international student. All of our host families are carefully vetted. We conduct home interviews, inspections, and police checks to ensure our students are placed in a secure and supportive living environment.

NZIIU students have been placed in Nevada, California, Illinois, Washington DC, South Carolina, Indiana and North Carolina.

Application deadline
December 2019/January 2020
June 2020
30 August 2019
August/September 2020
January 2021
1 February 2020
Academic Year
August/September 2020
June 2021
1 February 2020

Covered expenses

Included in the fee:

  • School and family documents for your student visa application, including DS-2019 form
  • Placement in a suitable host family and school
  • Full board and lodging with a host family, excluding school lunch
  • Pre-departure orientation in NZ and arrival orientation in the USA
  • Meet and greet at the airport in NZ and at the airport in the USA
  • Transfer to your host community from the nearest airport (and back again)
  • Monthly progress reports to your parents
  • Ongoing monitoring by the host organisation
  • 24/7 emergency assistance in the USA and NZ
  • Certificate of completion upon return

Other costs

Not included in the fee:

Flights You are responsible for paying all domestic and international airfares between your home and your host community in the USA.
Insurance You will be required to purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance prior to your departure.
School setup Depending on your school and subject choices, you may be required to pay for expenses such as books, equipment, and extra-curricular activities.
Visas You are responsible for paying for your visa application and any associated fees.
Spending money We recommend allocating approximately $300 USD spending money per month to cover things like transport, school lunches, and weekend activities.
Optional trips It’s a good idea to save some money for optional trips organised by your host family or your host organisation in the USA.


Students must be:

  • Aged between 15 and 18 years prior to the programme start date
  • A New Zealand Citizen or hold Permanent Residency
  • Enrolled in a high school
  • Fit, well, and have a suitable personality profile
  • Academically motivated


You will be required to apply for a visa. There is a SEVIS fee (approx US$200) and a visa application fee (approx NZ$170). Most of the application is done online. You will also be required to visit the US Embassy in Auckland so please factor this into your budget.

I think almost anyone can do an exchange. The most important thing is that you truly want to do it and continue your enthusiasm once you get there. Take advantage of every opportunity given to you!

Austin, Kapiti

Make an enquiry

Information Days

Online Info Sessions

You don’t need to travel – or even leave your couch – to learn more about NZIIU’s student exchanges and how they work. Register for one of our online informational webinars, and you can find out all you need to know from wherever you are in the country.

‘Meet our Ambassadors’ Day

If you’d like the full lowdown on the student exchange experience, this is the event for you! Our NZIIU Education Perfect Ambassadors are students who have recently been on exchange and are enthused, ready, and raring to share their knowledge, experiences, and stories.’

Learn More »

Need extra pocket money?

NZIIU Scholarships

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NZIIU Fundraising Kit