Despite being one of the world’s smaller countries – smaller even than the U.K. or Japan – New Zealand has an exceptional amount to offer its international student population at every level. It boasts breath-taking backdrops on top of a globally-reputed education system, and alongside a pretty low cost of living, it also boasts an exceptionally high quality of life. In fact, there really is nothing of this mystical region that doesn’t sing with inspiration to the young and foreign student.

Anyone who has caught even a glimpse of Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy is aware that New Zealand is a fantasy-filmmaker’s paradise. From the rampant alpine beauty of Fiordland National Park to the underwater of stunning Harrison Cove, New Zealand is a real-life wonderland that can enlighten any soul.

Pic: Fiordland National Park

No one quite captures the extent of the beauty in New Zealand’s landscape quite like Douglas Adams, best-selling author of books like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In his book Last Chance to See, Adams writes: “Fiordland, a vast tract of mountainous terrain that occupies the south-west corner of South Island New Zealand, is one of the most astounding pieces of land anywhere on God’s earth, and one’s first impulse, standing on a cliff top surveying it all, is simply to burst into spontaneous applause. It is magnificent.”

And magnificent it most certainly is.

One thing that makes New Zealand stand out as a desirable destination for secondary school students is that while they pursue an education that is nothing short of world-class, kids also have the opportunity to be at one with the outdoors – and, generally speaking, the outdoors of New Zealand is nothing like they have seen before.

Pic: Diocesan School for Girls

It’s a part of the world that is blessed with wide and dramatic open spaces, all of which are accompanied by a comparatively small population (4.5 million, to be exact), and learning in such an inspiring natural environment is something that will benefit a young mind long into later life.

“There’s a paradox,” says Stephen Moss, a British naturalist, broadcaster and author. “More kids today are interested in the natural world than ever before; they watch it on the telly, they may well visit a nature reserve or a National Trust site with their families. But far fewer are experiencing it directly, on their own or with their friends, and that’s what counts: this is about more than nature.”

“Nature is a tool,” adds Moss, “to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.” So climbing a tree, he says, is about “learning how to take responsibility for yourself. Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk and reward.”

Pic: Auckland Grammar School 

And if there’s one thing we know for sure, there’s nowhere else on earth where students can directly experience nature as much as in New Zealand. Sending your child to school in this most stunning part of the world is not just sending them on a journey to uncover the natural world; it’s sending them on the most rewarding voyage of crucial self-discovery.

Read on to learn about some of the leading boarding schools for international students in New Zealand…

Located in Epsom, Auckland, Diocesan School for Girls is an independent, Anglican school for Pre-School to Year 13. 

The school’s outstanding and consistent record of academic excellence is the result of a unique and personalised approach to learning that challenges thinking, nurtures knowledge, develops strong relationships and inspires all students to take the lead. 

Diocesan is a leading school in New Zealand and while the academic learning takes high priority, the future of the girls and their lives beyond the school is equally important to us.

We believe that education is the art of human learning, a venture that should perfectly blend creativity with imagination, discovery with experimentation, individuality with co-operation and discipline with respect. Therefore, Diocesan girls are given every chance to develop a cross-set of skills and become well-rounded individuals with transferrable expertise.

While Boarding is an accommodation option, Diocesan offers carefully selected homestays with close ties to the school. They value the opportunity to work with us in giving the necessary support to international girls living away from home.  

Pic: Diocesan School for Girls

Often referred to as ‘The Grammar Way’, Auckland Grammar School sets its standards very high, demanding excellence across all aspects of daily life.

Providing an education for young men from Year 9 to Year 13, the school offers an academic programme based on both national and international syllabi, catering for a range of students from diverse backgrounds, socio-economic groups and ethnicities. 

A history of 147 years of academic prowess has earned Auckland Grammar a reputation for all-round excellence in academic, sporting and cultural pursuits. This, paired with an innate sense of confidence and pride in all young Grammar men, is what has led so many of the school’s esteemed alumni down the path of success at Oxbridge or a prestigious American ivy league university.

The school’s strong alumni network extends around the globe, with a host of CEOs, professors, heads of state and sporting champions – including a number of gold medallists –  all carrying the Auckland Grammar name. At Grammar the educational benefit is not only about success in academics or individual pursuits, it’s about the chance to network and forge important bonds that will last a lifetime.

Pic: Auckland Grammar School 

Wellington College is a state secondary school for boys with a proud tradition dating back to 1867. The college places a strong emphasis on excellence, whether it is academic, sporting or cultural.  The school’s student achievement in external examinations places it in the top echelon of New Zealand secondary schools. 

Set on well-landscaped grounds, Wellington College projects an image of rich history and an environment of order. The college is sited on 12 hectares (30 acres) of land between Wellington’s green belt and the city, and is close to government, business, sporting, tourist and cultural facilities.

Otago Girls’ High School, founded in 1870, was the first state secondary school for girls in New Zealand and reputed to be the sixth oldest in the world. Many families have an association with the school that spans over four generations.

The school has always promoted the highest standards of achievement for all young women in every field: academic, sporting and cultural. A warm, welcoming and secure environment is provided to all students, their whanau, staff and the community. Extensive guidance network provides personal, social, educational and vocational support.

Pic: Otago Girls’ High School

At Napier Girls’ High School, each student is encouraged to fully develop her potential. This means developing her academic and social skills, while participating in a range of sport, music and cultural activities and taking advantage of leadership opportunities. Students here are keen to succeed and encouraged to do so by staff and their peers.

The school has developed songs and activities that reflect local, national and international cultural values so each girl will identify with New Zealand culture and be open to that of others. The school has its own song, hymn, waiata and haka composed by staff and students, a repertoire that is continually evolving.

Main image: Morning fog over Auckland, by Siyamalan / Flickr.

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