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Ready to Go to New Zealand
Know Before You Go

There are many things you will need to think about before you depart for New Zealand. This section covers some of the basics. Please feel free to contact your program manager at any time as you prepare for your experience abroad!

In This Section:



Travel Documents for U.S. and non-U.S. Citizens: Passports and Visas


You will need a passport to travel to New Zealand. 
Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees.

Passports are valid for ten years unless you applied for one before age 18 in which case it is valid for only five years. If you already have a passport, it must remain valid for the full length of your stay abroad (and for three months beyond your intended return date to the U.S.). Immigration officials may deny your entry to New Zealand, or airline staff may refuse to let you board, if your passport will expire before the end of your program. It is not possible to renew an expired passport while overseas; therefore, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. You will not be allowed to leave the US with a passport that will expire before your program end date.

Allow plenty of time to apply for your passport, particularly in the busy summer months. Processing can take as long as six weeks. We recommend you apply as early as possible so that you're not caught at the last minute. More information is available here.

Visas and Certification of Student Status. 

You will need a visa to study in New Zealand. For information on entry requirements for New Zealand, please visit this page. 

After you have been accepted, your program manager will email you important supporting documentation for the visa application process. If you are not a U.S. citizen, it is your responsibility to obtain visas and/or special entry papers or documentation required. Please contact your program manager immediately for assistance with this process.


Health and Safety

Imunizations and Allergy Immunizations

Immunizations are not required for travel to New Zealand or to return to the US. The US Department of State recommends, however, that you check your health records to make sure your measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis immunizations are up to date. We strongly recommend meningitis inoculations, although they are not mandatory. For further information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Health and Accident Insurance

Special Medical Needs

If you have any medical or psychological condition that may require attention overseas from a physician or psychiatrist, please tell us about it. Because some conditions may be exacerbated or reactivated by the experience of living in a new country, you may want to report earlier conditions for which you have been treated successfully. If you have any doubt about these matters, check with your physician/psychiatrist.

Be sure to have your physician/psychiatrist prepare an adequate summary of the details of your condition so you can be properly treated by a physician/psychiatrist overseas. List all medications you regularly use, and be sure to have adequate supplies of special items. Brand names and dosages differ, and you may have difficulty tracking down the specific medication you want. Be sure all prescriptions you take with you are labeled with your name, the name of your physician and the generic name of the medication. We want you to provide us with any information that would help us assist you in an emergency.

This information will be treated confidentially and remain in our files only until you complete your Arcadia University program. We encourage students with a medical condition which might affect emergency treatment to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or pendant.

Physical and Learning Disabilities and other Special Needs

At Arcadia University we encourage students with disabilities to consider study abroad and we are committed to working with each student to find a program that suits his or her individual needs. Please keep us informed of any special needs, including dietary restrictions/preferences, physical concerns or learning disabilities, allergies and strict religious observances. Providing this information will not jeopardize your place in the program. It is much easier for us to help you if we know about your special needs ahead of time. Please visit the health and safety section of our website for further information and resources.

Health and Safety in Flight

For safety and comfort, wear loose-fitting, natural-fiber clothing during flight. Do not wear snug-fitting or heeled footwear! It is helpful to do seat exercises or to walk in the aisles in order to maintain good circulation.

It is always advisable to sleep during long flights (a flight attendant will provide you with a pillow and blanket). You should avoid alcoholic beverages in flight because they cause dehydration. The recycled air in a plane also has a drying effect, so you should drink non-alcoholic beverages regularly. If you require a special diet, notify the airline at least 24 hours before departure. If you suffer from the effects of jet lag, inquire about methods to combat this problem.


We list the following guidelines as precautionary measures, rather than to alarm you. All of the destinations we offer are located in areas that are, statistically, less crime-prone than the average American urban area. Still, it is important to protect yourself and use common sense.

Americans are easy targets. We dress differently, speak loudly, carry backpacks and have a distinct accent. Thus, the people you meet may see you with stereotypical eyes -- as rich as someone on television -- and an occasion may arise where someone may want to become friends with you in order to obtain in one form or another your money or your passport.

  • Don't stand out as a group or individual. Try to blend with your surroundings.

  • Always be in contact with your site director and contact our in-country or Glenside office for help anytime. Keep emergency numbers handy.

  • Be careful of persons wanting to make your acquaintance very quickly, as they may have an ulterior motive. Meet people in public places during the day, preferably with a friend or two of yours.

  • Remain alert and never leave your bags unattended.

Driving in New Zealand

According to the U.S. State Department, hundreds of U.S. citizens are injured or killed in road accidents overseas every year. In New Zealand, people drive on the left and the road network reflects the country's often rugged terrain. Arcadia discourages students from driving in New Zealand. Your home school may have a policy that is more restrictive than Arcadia's; if you do plan to drive, you must first confirm that your home school's policies permit driving abroad. Once in country, you are required to follow all New Zealand regulations regarding renting/purchasing, insurance, and driving.

Special Considerations for Women

A woman traveling on her own may encounter more difficulties than a man by himself. Some of the best ways to avoid hassle are to fit in and try to understand the roles of the sexes in the culture in which you are traveling. Flexibility means observing how the host country's women dress and behave, and following their example. What may be appropriate or friendly behavior in the US may bring you unwanted, even dangerous, attention in another culture.

Try not to take offense at whistles and other gestures of appreciation, regardless of whether they are compliments, invitations, or insults. Realize that, in many countries, these gestures are as much as part of the culture as is the food, history and language.

But if a situation is dangerous – if you are made to feel uncomfortable – then act as if it is. Be extra careful when giving your trust. This applies generally, but is especially important when traveling alone. Avoid being out alone at night in unfamiliar territory — on the street, in parks, on trams, on trains. If, for example, at night you suddenly find yourself alone in a train car, move to another one where other people are sitting.

AIDS, Safe Sex and Relationships

If you are sexually active, take care of yourself and practice safe sex. Be aware that any type of relationship, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, entails the risk of a sexually-transmitted disease. Entering into a relationship overseas should, therefore, be approached with the same precautions you would use at home. The charm of a once-in-a-lifetime romance in another country may be tempting, but consider any relationship carefully and remember that you are only in your host country for a short time. There are different cultural values regarding dating and relationships.

When traveling abroad, be aware that some countries may require HIV antibody tests. Travelers should also know that some countries may not have the resources to screen blood adequately or provide sterile needles or medical facilities. While health care is generally at a very high standard, we recommend that you take normal, everyday precautions to avoid putting yourself at risk. Do not use intravenous drugs. Practice safe sex. Think carefully about administration of CPR if you are trained to do so. Do not share personal care items, such as razors, with others.


Taking Care of Things At Home

Home Campus Arrangements

You should notify your study abroad advisor that you are planning to take part in an Arcadia University program and be sure to take care of any necessary paperwork before you leave campus. Remember to cancel housing and meal contracts for the time you'll be away and make arrangements to reactivate them when you return.

If registration for next year's courses on your home campus will take place while you are abroad, ensure that the appropriate arrangements are made with your registrar or study abroad advisor so that you will receive your registration materials in a timely fashion.

Some students enrolled on semester programs decide when they are overseas to stay for the full year. This is possible. While home college approval for continued study can be obtained when you are abroad, it will be much easier to make the necessary arrangements and receive preliminary approval before you leave the US.

If you have been accepted to a semester program but want to leave yourself the possibility of staying for the full year, consult your study abroad advisor about what you must do now to facilitate continuing your stay for a full year should you decide to do this.

Yearbook Photos

If you are studying abroad during your senior year, make arrangements for your yearbook photo before you leave home. You don't want to be left out!

Voting by Absentee Ballot

You won't want to miss the opportunity to vote if you are overseas on election day.  Arcadia University’s Absentee Voting Information webpage is a step-by-step guide to voting by absentee ballot. Remember to start the process early to ensure that you have enough time to submit your ballot by the deadline.


LGBT Resources

New Zealand is a broadly gay-friendly place, and Auckland and Wellington both have genuinely vibrant gay scenes. Certainly there remains an intolerance at times, particularly in rural areas, but it generally stays well below the surface.

All this has partly come about in response to New Zealand's admirable recent history of resistance to anti-gay bigotry. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1986, and the human rights section of the legislation was passed in 1993, with none of the usual exceptions made for the military or the police. This also makes it illegal to discriminate against gays and people with HIV or AIDS, and makes no limitation on people with HIV or AIDS entering the country.

In 2004, the Civil Union Act was passed in New Zealand. The act provides the criteria, rules and processes for two people to have their relationship formalized as a civil union (by way of a formal ceremony) and officially registered in New Zealand. A Civil Union may be entered into by couples of the same sex or by couples of different sexes. Although this is not 'marriage', it is a breakthrough for gay couples who want their relationship recognized by NZ law.

For more information on study abroad support for LGBT students and to identify in-country resources, see, the website for NAFSA:  Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group. The site includes important considerations for LGBT students as well as a bibliography of books and websites.


International Calling

To phone the U.S. from New Zealand, dial:  001 + area code + number.

There are several options you may wish to consider for keeping in touch with friends and family back home.  Former students have often found a combination of the below options provided them with the best opportunities overseas.

Host-country mobile—to help you integrate with locals and provide a deeper cultural inclusion, Arcadia often recommends students purchase a mobile phone after arriving in-country.  During Arcadia orientation our staff will speak to the benefits of have a host-country mobile and explain how they can be purchased.
It is important to keep in mind that while these phones should help you connect with others in-country, they may not be the most cost efficient option for long conversations back to the United States.

International cell phone— many US cellular phone companies provide international phoning options, so an existing cell phone can work any where in the world.  This allows you to keep your same number and contact your friends and family just as if you were home.
One thing to remember when deciding whether to bring an international cell phone is any calls to your number from new friends in-country will be made back to the United States and not local.

Skype or VOiP—phoning home over the internet is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with others.  Students and their family can sign-up online prior to departing and plan ahead about when to connect.
It is important to remember that internet access, reliability, and strength may be vastly different to what you are familiar with at home.  Often times, students describe this difference as one of the most significant of their time abroad.  Be sure to review your program’s housing information to learn if internet is provided or available.

International calling card— often the most inexpensive and manageable way to call home, International calling cards can be purchased either before departing or in-country.  Calling cards allow for a specific allotment of call credit to be available for your conversations.
Telephones may not always be provided in your accommodations, so it is important to check your program’s housing information. All long distance calls from land lines are cheaper on weekends and after 6 p.m. during the week. You will find lots of cards available that offer competitive rates.


Time Change

New Zealand is located just west of the international dateline. Daylight savings time starts the first weekend in October and ends in mid-March. Thus, it is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time from mid-March - September and 18 hours ahead from October-mid-March.


Vacation Travel

For those of you planning to travel before your program begins, after it ends, or during the break, we offer the following practical suggestions.


You should take a look at the many excellent travel books available in campus or local bookstores. Popular budget guides are Lonely Planet, Let's Go or Berkeley guides.

Getting Around

New Zealand is easy to navigate whether by air, bus, ferry or train. Air New Zealand and Qantas are the most frequently used airlines within NZ, but there is a wide choice of airlines for travel to Australia, Fiji and other Pacific Islands. New Zealand's bus network is also extensive and some bus operators offer discounts for students. There are some bus companies that operate particularly for the backpacker market with clearly defined routes that pass through the most popular tourist areas -- see Stray, Magic Bus and Kiwi Experience. Finally, train routes are extremely few and it's usually cheaper to book in advance and get a cheap flight. Many Arcadia students buy or hire cars with friends -- Arcadia strongly recommends that students do not drive in New Zealand -- roads are more windy and narrow than in the U.S. and people drive on the left hand side of the road. If students do drive in NZ they need to make sure the vehicle has at least third party insurance and check the NZ road code as some of the rules are not the same.

Consult your guidebook for further suggestions on travels in New Zealand.

Youth Hostel Passes

Youth hostels are inexpensive student accommodations found around the world. Costs are kept to a minimum by asking hostellers to share jobs. You can join Hostelling International USA for $28 before you depart. Although you can purchase your membership abroad, many students like the peace of mind of having the membership in hand before departure.

YHA New Zealand National Reservations Centre (HI-USA in New Zealand) (

Tel. 03/379-9808

Other hostel resources: