Kia ora (hello) from New Zealand!—the land of picturesque scenery, grazing sheep, and kids playing rugby. If you enjoy the outdoors, barbecuing, relaxing and meeting new people, this is the right place for you. New Zealand is a mix of European, Asian and Pacific cultures, and heavily influenced by the indigenous Maori people.

Teens are into all types of sports, from rugby, cricket, netball, soccer to ultimate frisbee and water polo. You can also check out surfing and whale watching on some of New Zealand’s gorgeous beaches!

People & Community

You’ll may live in a semi-rural or rural area, such as a farm, where you can feed cattle and milk cows. New Zealanders love the outdoors and you can expect that a lot of your family time will be spent in the garden, at the beach, and hiking. Expect to help out around the house with some chores and basic responsibilities.

We played well today⚽️ #hawerahighschool #hawerahighschoolforthewin #hawerahighschoolgirlssoccerteam #missedsomepeople

A photo posted by Maria Daisy Joensen (@mariadaisyjoensen) on Aug 10, 2016 at 3:22am PDT


You’re likely to attend a public high school and have subjects like math, English, art and science. You’ll also have the opportunity to study subjects like agriculture, film, digital art and outdoor recreation. There are lots of sports clubs, Maori cultural groups, choirs, and drama clubs to join.


New Zealand has three official languages, Maori, English and sign language. English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 98% of the population, and very similar to Australian English. There are a lot of Maori words in common usage and young people use many colloquial words in conversation. New Zealanders also talk very fast. Having a basic knowledge of English will be helpful. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in English as a second language classes at some local schools.

#lemonmeringuepie #afsnz @afsnz @sezzie_eng #desserttime #midwinterchristmas

A photo posted by Chloe Kincaid (@chocoholicbake) on Aug 9, 2014 at 8:04pm PDT


Many cultures moved to New Zealand during the 1800’s and the food is a reflection of that migration from European to Asian and Middle Eastern. Local food is known as Pacific Rim and includes fresh meat, dairy, and produce, fused with flavors from around the world. Good news for meat lovers: New Zealanders tend to eat a lot of meat. However, it’s also quite easy to get by as a vegetarian. Traditionally, New Zealanders love fish and chips and roasts along with desserts like Pavlova, a meringue-based cake. There are lots of cafés and eating out is common. You might even get to experience a traditional Maori feast, called a hangi.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.