Step 2.

Plan your budget

You may be able to support your studies by gaining an international student

scholarship or working for up to 20 hours a week.

Cost of living

As part of your student visa application, you must provide evidence that you can cover your living expenses while studying in New Zealand. If you’re studying in New Zealand on a scholarship or a sponsor/family member has agreed to accept financial responsibility for you while you’re here, you may not be required to show proof of funds.

If you will be studying in New Zealand for more than one year, you‘ll need to prove that you have at least $15,000 to support yourself for the first year. If you’re studying for less than a year, you must have at least $1250 for each month of study to contribute to your living expenses.

Living costs will depend on your lifestyle and which part of the country you live in. Some costs vary by region. For example, you may need to travel more in the main centres, and transport costs may be more expensive than in your home country.

As an example of how much to budget for, Victoria University recommends that students allow between $18,000-$27,000 each year, the University of Auckland recommends $20,000-$25,000, the University of Otago recommends $15,000-$17,000 and Massey University recommends $15,000-$18,000.

You may be able to offset some of your costs by working. Most student visas enable you to work up to 20 hours per week, or full-time in the holidays. See our section Working while you study for more details.

Check out our blog for more ideas on saving costs while you study in New Zealand.

Typical living costs


Choose from halls of residence, home stays or flats. Accommodation costs vary widely by region: the national median weekly rent for a three to four-bedroom house in October 2016 was $440, or $510 in Auckland.


Explore New Zealand’s stunning beaches, mountains, forests and lakes for free. Other free or cheap entertainment options include live music, festivals, outdoor movies, parks, gardens, museums and galleries. Many tertiary education institutions offer discount cards for students.


The University of Otago’s estimated weekly food costs for a basic healthy diet for an adult man in 2016 were: Auckland $64, Wellington $64, Christchurch $63, and Dunedin $65. Prices vary depending on where you choose to shop.


Most people have a choice of four to nine energy retailers, each with many different plans to choose from. Consumer Powerswitch and Glimp let you find and compare the best gas and electricity options in your area.


All New Zealand cities and most towns have buses, and some areas offer cheaper bus fares for students. Auckland and Wellington have train services to outer suburbs. Fuel prices are monitored by Petrolwatch.

Phone and internet

Choose from monthly account plans or pre-paid plans for mobile phones. A pre-paid plan that includes calling, texting and data starts at about $19. Free Wi-Fi is available in central Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Dunedin.

Living in New Zealand

Where could you live

New Zealand’s relaxed pace of life gives you the time to enjoy everything our vibrant modern cities have to offer. Enjoy live music, theatre, film, dance, free festivals or international sports fixtures, or hang out with your new friends at a cafe, restaurant or bar.

Most of our cities and towns are relatively small and uncrowded, making your daily commute easier and faster than back home. Wherever you live, you won’t be far from beaches, parks, walking trails and cycle tracks.

Quick facts about living in New Zealand

Explore our beautiful natural landscape without worrying about dangerous animals

We don’t have any. We’re known as the seabird capital of the world, and have many marine animals – you may see penguins, albatross, dolphins, seals and whales while you’re studying here.

New Zealand is very sunny, so don’t forget to use sunblock

We have high levels of ultraviolet radiation (UV), so wear a sunhat and sunglasses in summer.

The weather varies from warm and subtropical in the far north to cool and temperate in the far south.

The New Zealand summer runs from December to February; winter is from June to August.

Nowhere in New Zealand is more than 128 kilometres (80 miles) from the sea

So there are lots of stunning sandy beaches to enjoy. Many beaches are patrolled by surf lifeguards; stay safe by swimming between the yellow and red flags.

Students dress casually in New Zealand

So pack jeans, tee-shirts, jerseys (sweaters), sweatshirts and a warm waterproof jacket.

Most New Zealand cities are relatively small

So many students are able to walk or cycle to their educational institution.

Featured scholarships

NZEA features 35 Scholarships across all eight universities, offering an opportunity for Indian students to experience New Zealand excellence in various programmes.

Closes: 15 November 2017

Nationality: Indian