Southern Institute of Technology

Pre-Departure Checklist for International Students: Get Ready for Your New Zealand Adventure!

Congratulations on securing your spot to study in New Zealand! This checklist will guide you through essential steps to ensure a smooth transition and a fantastic start to your academic journey.

At Least 3 Months Before Departure:

Documents & Administration:

  • Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least 3 months after your intended departure date from New Zealand and has sufficient blank pages for entry and exit stamps.
  • Student Visa: Double-check your visa validity period and any specific conditions attached to it.
  • Travel Insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and baggage loss.
  • Academic Records: Request official transcripts and certificates from your previous institutions to be sent to your New Zealand university/institution (if required).


  • Research and Book Housing: Explore your accommodation options (on-campus dorms, private rentals, homestays) and secure your preferred place well in advance. Consider factors like location, budget, and amenities.
  • Review Lease Agreement: Carefully read and understand the terms of your housing contract, including rent payment, utilities, and security deposits.


  • Open a New Zealand Bank Account (Optional): Consider opening a bank account in New Zealand for everyday expenses and receiving local currency.
  • Inform Your Bank About Travel: Let your bank know about your travel plans to avoid disruptions with card usage overseas.
  • Budget Planning: Research living expenses in New Zealand (accommodation, food, transportation) and create a realistic budget for your studies and living costs.
  • Explore Scholarship and Financial Aid Options: Investigate potential scholarships, grants, or financial aid opportunities offered by your institution or external organizations.

Health and Wellbeing:

  • Medical Checkup: Schedule a medical checkup with your doctor to ensure you’re healthy for travel.
  • Vaccinations: Research any recommended or required vaccinations for New Zealand and ensure you’re up-to-date on immunizations.
  • Prescription Medication: If you rely on prescription medication, bring a sufficient supply for the duration of your studies and obtain a doctor’s letter explaining the medication and dosage.
  • Register with a Doctor: Research healthcare options near your accommodation and consider registering with a local doctor for any medical needs during your stay.

Essentials & Practicalities:

  • Research Local Culture: Learn about New Zealand customs and traditions to ease your cultural transition. Familiarize yourself with greetings, social etiquette, and basic Maori phrases (optional).
  • Pack for the Seasons: New Zealand has a temperate climate with regional variations. Research the weather patterns for your chosen location and pack accordingly (comfortable clothes, raincoat, warm layers).
  • Download Offline Resources: Download essential apps for navigation, translation, and communication to use upon arrival before your phone plan kicks in.
  • Power Adapters: Purchase a travel adapter with compatible plugs for New Zealand’s electrical outlets.
  • International Calling Options: Research international calling plans or consider using internet-based communication apps like Skype or WhatsApp.

Optional but Helpful:

  • Learn Basic Te Reo Māori (Māori Language): While not essential, learning a few basic Māori phrases can show respect for the indigenous culture and make your experience richer.
  • Open an International Student Bank Account: Consider opening an international student bank account in your home country for managing some of your finances remotely.
  • Join Online Student Communities: Connect with other international students online or through social media groups to share experiences and build a support network before arrival.

Remember, this is a general checklist. Always refer to specific instructions or requirements provided by your university/institution for the most up-to-date information.

Start planning early, tick off the completed items, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure studying in beautiful New Zealand!