Study in New Zealand
COST OF LIVING

Work Rights

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Living costs vary from region to region, so your lifestyle and which part you choose to live in New Zealand will heavily influence your cost of living. Remember, you need to show proof that you have at least $15,000 to support yourself each year if you choose to study in New Zealand for more than a year, or at least $1250 for each month of study if you’re studying for less than a year to contribute to your living expenses, unless you’re studying on a scholarship or a sponsor/family member has agreed to accept financial responsibility for you for the duration of your stay.

Different courses, the duration of study and where you choose to have varying tuition fees for international students. If you take into account some of the bigger universities throughout New Zealand and see how much they recommend to budget for, it could be anywhere between $15,000 - $27,000 each year.

To see a full list of indicative university fees for international students in New Zealand (2018), click here

With study options to suit every budget, the cost of living in New Zealand is combined with an excellent work/life balance and a high quality of life. Remember, depending on the type of visa, most student visas allow students to work up to 20 hours per week, or full-time in the holidays. Masters and PhD students can work full time during both these times.

You can also see this online calculator that will help you determine your income and expenses while living in New Zealand. See some of the typical living costs that you might incur while living in New Zealand below:

  • Accommodation
    Whether you choose hostels, homestay or flatting, expect to see living costs varying by region. As in every country, rents depend on the quality, location and size of the property. Auckland’s median weekly rent for 3-4 bedrooms was NZ$600 in 2018.
  • Food
    While prices will of course vary depending on where you choose to shop, you can expect that a healthy diet for an adult can cost around $74-92 weekly, as at 2019. See University of Otago’s estimated weekly food costs for more information.
  • Power
    If power prices are on your mind, you have the flexibility to choose between four to nine energy retailers, each with different plans to choose from to suit different budget requirements. You can use sites like Glimp or Consumer Powerswitch which allow you to find and compare the best gas and electricity plans in your area.
  • Phone and Internet
    Enjoy the flexibility to choose from monthly or pre-paid plans (which start at about $19 and include texts and calls) for your mobile phone, and find comfort in knowing that there are plenty of options to choose to suit your budget. The main mobile network providers are:

    What’s better is that there are numerous Free WiFi hotspots that are generally found in the main cities throughout New Zealand, and public libraries provide a free wifi service. You may find some luck with free wifi in some cafes or restaurants that you visit.

  • Transport
    All cities throughout New Zealand offer bus services, and if you’re in Auckland, for example, students can enjoy discounted travel on buses, trains and ferries when they apply for a student concession on an AT HOP Card.
    For up-to-date fuel prices, see here.
  • Entertainment
    There are no shortages of numerous stunning beaches, gorgeous mountains, unique forests and lakes throughout New Zealand that you can explore for free. Make sure to swim, surf, sail, kayak or snorkel at an awesome beach.
    Other low cost entertainment can include live music, festivals, movies in the park during summer, and museums, among many more. Make sure to ask your university representative to see whether your university is offering discount cards for students.

Check immigration website for more information.