Making the most of your study opportunity

Posted by:
11 Feb 2015

What a great decision, you’re coming to New Zealand to improve your English skills! It can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s an experience you’ll treasure forever and of course your English will improve so much. 

Although New Zealand might be new and unfamiliar to you, don’t let your inhibitions hold you back from experiencing a new language, culture and place. This guide will help you to make your time in New Zealand the best and most rewarding it can be.




Attend class and be punctual

You’ll already know this but you will not learn anything unless you attend class! Attendance is important for both language progression and to maintain your Student Visa status.  Learning a new language is an investment for your future so make sure you do everything you can to learn each day.

Make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes before class so you can prepare and be ready to start class as soon as your teacher arrives. It’s an opportunity to practise your English informally with classmates. If you interrupt the lesson by arriving late you’re disrupting your classmates and teacher.


Speak English at school

The best way to learn English is to immerse yourself in the language. At every opportunity you should practise your English - at home, when you’re out and about, and especially at school.

Although you might be talking with someone from your own country, you should speak in English so that you both get the necessary practise to master the language. Speaking in English at all times will speed up your progress and give you confidence – everyone at school is in the same situation so it’s okay to make mistakes.



No matter what your first language is, the word homework just seems like a chore! Still, it’s important to complete any self-learning tasks your teacher sets as it could help you in the next day’s lessons.

The more prepared you are, the more you’ll enjoy the lessons and the more confidence you’ll have in the tasks you need to complete.


Participate actively in the class

We learn by making mistakes! Don’t worry about making mistakes as each mistake made is a learning opportunity and you’ll be supported by your teacher and classmates.

“Practise makes Perfect” - if you don’t try, you won’t succeed.

Don’t be shy in class.  All your classmates will be as worried as you are about making mistakes. If you sit quietly you’ll miss the opportunity to practise in a safe and understanding environment.  


Respect other students and make friends from around the world

New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and while studying at an English New Zealand school you’ll be studying with students from places all over the world.

Part of learning another language is maintaining an open mind about the culture, customs and beliefs of a particular nationality. You’ll learn more than just English and about New Zealand during your studies – your new friends can teach you about their languages and countries.

The point here is that it’s important to respect one another's cultural differences and customs. Some things may seem different to your norm, but take the opportunity to make friends with students of other nationalities and learn more about them.  Your school might have a cultural day as an activity where each different culture in the school is celebrated.


Talk to a staff member if you have any concerns or problems

If you have concerns about your class, study or learning, please speak to your teacher as soon as possible so that they can try to find a solution for you.

During your first week you’ll meet key people who can help you deal with anything you face, including if you’re homesick. If they can’t help you, they’ll refer you to someone who can and this might be a counsellor who can speak your own language.


Get active

English New Zealand schools will have a variety of social, sports and cultural activities that you’ll be able to experience while studying. You’ll meet a wide range of people and be able to take part in an activity that you enjoy (and are probably pretty good it!).  English New Zealand schools will often have after school and weekend excursions available at a reasonable cost.


Work while you are studying

If you have a Student Visa and are enrolled in a course of study of 14 or more weeks at an NZQA Category 1 provider, you can work up to 20 hours per week. This is a great way to practise your English with the general public and work colleagues - and you’ll earn some pocket money!



If you are an active participant and put yourself in different situations you’ll make good progress with your English skills. It’s not all hard work though, you’ll have plenty of fun and make good friends along the way!



Image Credits:

Books, by Christopher (CC-BY-2.0)