10 South Island Schools for International Students to Consider in NZ

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The South Island is home to many great schools. Here’s a sample of ten schools, from primary to college level, that international students can attend. They are in order of location from the Northernmost schools to the Southernmost schools.

Note: This blog collects some of the schools in the South Island and is not intended to be a ‘top 10’ list. Rather this list provides examples of schools you can attend across the country. NZ has over 2,500 schools across the country. For a full list of NZ schools please click here.

1. James Hargest College (Invercargill)
This school in the deep South has two campuses comprising of a junior school (Years 7-8, ages 10-12) and a senior school (Years 9-13, ages 12-18). The school teaches using the NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) and ESOL (English as a Second Language) system for international students. These are administered by the NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority). James Hargest offers homestay opportunities for international students to stay with local parents/students and provides a buddy system for new students to help them get integrated into their new learning environment. Most homestays in New Zealand provide three meals a day, a private bedroom and a unique living experience in a different household/culture.

2. Otago Boys High School (Dunedin)

Founded in 1863, OBHS is one of New Zealand’s oldest boys’ schools. Due to its age and traditions, the school features a unique blend of modern facilities and heritage buildings. The school is for boys in Years 9-13 (ages 12-18). It offers the NCEA system, with credits for University Entrance available at Level’s 1-3. The school is also well-known for its sports programme.

3. Otago Girls High School (Dunedin)
Founded a few years after the boy’s school in 1870, this was the first state secondary school for girls in New Zealand. At Otago Girls High School, all international students are supported by the EL (English Language) programme. Once a student’s English level improves, they are moved into more mainstream (NCEA) subjects. Fee, application and orientation information can all be found here. 

4. Kavanagh College (Dunedin)

Using the ESOL and NCEA system, students from Years 7-13 (ages 10-18) learn a wide range of subjects at Kavanagh. Kavanagh is a 5-minute walk from the Dunedin CBD (central business district) and the campus has plenty of facilities. International students are invited to homestay.

5. Queenstown Primary School (Queenstown)

For parents looking to move to an incredible part of the country and for a great place to educate young children (Years 1-6, ages 5-11), QPS is an excellent option. With an inclusive culture that welcomes families from all over the world, the school is well set-up to provide high quality education for international students.

6. Mount Aspiring College (Wanaka)

The school has an ILC (International Language Centre), outdoor pursuits focus and a small-town feel. Mount Aspiring College (MAC) is a school for the adventurous student who is most at home in the outdoors. The outdoor pursuits programme is highly sought after as students can kayak, snowboard/ski and tramp during the term and earn NCEA credits. International students are invited to homestay with families around the Wanaka area – most accommodation is close to the school/town centre as Wanaka is a close-knit community in population and size. For international students, as well as NZQA qualifications, MAC offer the following internationally recognised qualifications; Pitman’s Basic, Elementary, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced: Cambridge – B2 English, B1, C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency; IELTS qualification (the prerequisite for immigration and entry into either Polytechnic or University); TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language); and TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), an alternative prerequisite for some universities and polytechnics.

7. Ilam School (Christchurch)

Catering for children from Years 1-6 (ages 5-11), Ilam embraces biculturalism and has a focus on Maths and English. There are over 500 children on the school’s roll. With the University of Canterbury located on the school’s Northern boundary, the school has a strong relationship with the University. Schoolchildren wear a distinct blue uniform and logo made up of an azalea flower, which highlights the diversity and educational excellence. Ilam is a suburb that is 10 minutes from the airport and a short drive away from the CBD, parks and beaches.

8. Lincoln High School (Christchurch)

With a focus on ESOL and NCEA subjects, international students from Years 9-13 (ages 12-18) study, and thrive, at Lincoln High School. Years 9-10 are assessed at SOLO level and once they progress to Years 11-13 they use the NCEA system. All international students will live in either a homestay arranged by the school; with their parents or legal guardian; or a designated caregiver.

9. Burnside High School (Christchurch)

Burnside is the largest secondary school in the South Island, with over 2,500 students in 2018 in Years 9-13 (ages 12-18). Burnside has a homestay programme and offers NCEA qualifications based on the eight essential learning areas of the NZ school curriculum (Mathematics, Sciences, Social Sciences, Technology, Languages, Physical Education, Health, English and Creative Arts).

10. Nelson College (Nelson)

Founded in 1856, this boy’s college is New Zealand’s oldest state school. Located in sunny Nelson, this secondary school offers courses for students in Years 9-13 (ages 12-18). Nelson College offers ESOL and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examinations. Nelson College has a policy of Year 9-11 international students going into boarding and for Years 12-13, students can choose either boarding or homestay accommodation. Boarders live in two boarding houses adjacent to the main school buildings. Homestays live with host families in Nelson that are within the college zone.

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