In the past decades more and more overseas students decide to study in New Zealand to improve their English skills. But the schools usually have so much more to offer.

One reason why thousands of international students choose New Zealand is due to the incredibly good service offered by the schools. Many students have a lack of English and therefore have trouble following the classes and mingle with the locals. To improve the language skills students can take ESOL, a special language support for international students.

To prevent students from getting homesick they get support from their first day on. Each one has a contact person, usually a student in their class, who helps them getting along in the new surroundings. Besides every school has a coordinator who is permanently in contact with the host families.

Furthermore an extensive curriculum is offered. Contrary to other countries the students have the opportunity to choose classes they are interested in. “Since I was five I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, so why would I have to take subjects like Biology and Maths?” a 17 years old girl states. Instead she took classes like Sewing and Beauty Therapy. Therefore students have the chance to get a greater insight in their dream vocations which helps in their future job decision. Be it being a surf instructor, a video editor or an accounting manager.

New Zealand and Germany, two as far away from each other as possible; two different kind of cultures, that it is a real challenge for all exchange students to concentrate more on school than on the rest of the country.

I was an exchange student for 8 months myself and my experiences “on the other side of the world” were quite positive. I attended classes of year 12 and year 13 at Linwood College in Christchurch, although I was just in year 11 back in Germany.

But because New Zealand pupils start primary School 2 years earlier (with 5 years) than the Germans (with 7 years) I was the same age as my class mates. In Germany, you have compulsory subjects which you attend from 8am to 1pm. Even though school days are longer in New Zealand, I enjoyed the variety of courses I could choose from.

Subjects like Drama, Tourism or Media are not found in Germany although they would be helpful for someone’s future working life. Collecting credits between NCEA level 1 to 3 (year 11 to 13) is the most important task for pupils, especially when they want to go to University.

To be able to study at Uni, New Zealanders need 80 credits after they finished school with their final exams. The difference with Germany is that New Zealanders can go to University even when they did not achieve enough credits by the time they turn 20 years old.

This obviously differs a lot from the system in Germany, where the final exams in the “Abitur” are basically what your certificate of graduation and your New Zealand University entrance depends on.

In my opinion, the Study New Zealand school system is more easy-going, but it is not as esteemed as the German one worldwide.

Julia S.