Student exchange

We help high school students study abroad in 14 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

How do student exchanges work?

A student exchange is the educational experience of a lifetime. It’s a chance to fully immerse yourself in a different culture. You will live with a host family, attend a local school, participate in the local community, and maybe even learn a new language.

NZIIU offers expert support to high school students seeking an overseas exchange by arranging placements, flights, visa, and insurance. Our thorough screening process ensures that students have the necessary skills and characteristics to enjoy a successful exchange. We take safety very seriously and make sure we prepare students as carefully as possible, and we provide ongoing support while they’re away.

We allow students to choose their study abroad country and the length of their stay – provided they qualify and pass our application criteria. Exchange students are not obligated to host in return.

 

Is an exchange right for you?

Going on a student exchange is a big commitment. You will need to be organised, committed to your studies, and open to new experiences. Here are a few questions to help you decide if a student exchange is right for you.

Willing to learn?
Living in another country is a chance to experience a new way of life and learn about the world. It’s important that you are flexible, responsible, adaptable, mature, open-minded, and willing to learn.

Excited to travel overseas?
Think about which country you would like to visit and why. Remember, if you choose a non-English speaking country you will be expected to learn and speak a new language.

Healthy and fit?
You need to be both physically and mentally healthy. You are expected to have sufficient immunisation (standard NZ vaccinations), although some countries are more flexible than others.

Supported by your parents?
You will need full approval and support from your parent(s). Tip: plan ahead, do lots of research, and have clear goals. Give your parents plenty of time to learn about the benefits of a student exchange.

Doing well at school?
You must be enrolled at a high school when you apply, and your school must endorse your plan to do a student exchange. You will also need to have achieved a “C” grade average (or higher) over the last two years. This is the equivalent of “Achieved” in NCEA.

Financially able?
Depending on the country and programme, a student exchange could cost between $7,000 and $15,000 (excluding pocket money). You will need to cover expenses such as the NZIIU programme fee, flights, insurance, visa fees, and pocket money.

Between 15 and 18 years old?
You must be aged between 15 and 18 years when you start your exchange. Some exceptions may be made for 19 year olds, but this depends on the country. In some countries, the minimum age requirement is 16 and the maximum is 17 years. Check our country pages for more info.

How are host families selected?

We take extreme care to select a suitable host family for our students. Every host family is thoroughly vetted for safety and suitability. Our selection process includes an in-home interview, inspection, and background check. Host families must demonstrate the desire and ability to provide rich experiences while also ensuring safe and healthy living conditions.

How do I apply?

Choose a country

Choose a country

You can choose from 14 amazing countries across four continents: Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Please note you will be expected to learn the local language in non-English-speaking countries.

Do your research

Do your research

Make sure you do plenty of research into student exchanges before submitting your application. Our Application Checklist will help you decide whether a student exchange is right for you.

Initial application

Initial application

Register your interest for a student exchange by filling out this simple online form. You will need to provide a copy of your passport, a profile picture, and make a $50 deposit. Apply now.

Full application

Full application

After you register your interest, we’ll send you the full application form. This is the most time-consuming part of the application process. Be prepared to go to your GP for a medical check-up and ask your school to complete some forms.

Interview

Interview

Come in and meet the NZIIU team. Be prepared for lots of questions, but don’t be scared! Your NZIIU coordinator will provide you with detailed information about your exchange and you can ask them lots of questions, too. Your interview is also the time to discuss scholarships if you’re applying for one.

Acceptance

Acceptance

If your application is successful, you will be notified within 1-2 weeks after your interview.

Pre departure orientation

Pre departure orientation

Congratulations! Your life-changing experience is about to begin. Your NZIIU coordinator will help you make all the necessary preparations for your exchange.

Departure date

Departure date

The big day is finally here. Your NZIIU coordinator will meet you at the airport to make sure you check-in without any problems and to give you last-minute tips and reminders.host

Arrival in your host country

Arrival in your host country

Either your host family or a representative of your host organisation will be at the airport to pick you up. You will receive an orientation within 1-2 weeks of your arrival.

Where can I go?

Choose from 14 incredible countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Learn more »