Living with a New Zealand family is a great way to improve your English and to get to know more about the Kiwi lifestyle.

If you are using our homestay service,  your host family, will meet you at the International Airport.   This helps to make your first day in New Zealand easy and stress-free.

Your host family is carefully chosen to meet your wishes concerning special food, hobbies and interests.

In the homestay you will have your own bedroom with desk, reading lamp and heater.  The family will give you morning and evening meals on school days and three meals each day at weekends and public holidays.  Your room is your private space, but you share the rest of the house, garden and facilities with the family.

You will be welcome to spend time with your host family, watch Kiwi TV and help with household duties such as cooking. Maybe you’ll introduce your host family to a new favourite meal! Spending time at your homestay is a great way to learn about Kiwi culture.

All homestay accommodation has been inspected by Canterbury College and host families have been checked by the New Zealand Police.

Canterbury College strongly recommends that you stay in a homestay for your course.  Not only is it an enjoyable cultural experience, but staying in a homestay is a great way to meet some friendly New Zealanders and give you an inside look at what it’s like to be a New Zealander.



Living in a rented apartment (flat), or flatting is popular with long-term students because it is usually cheaper than homestay and gives a more independent lifestyle.

Costs of renting apartments vary; you can expect to pay from NZ$160 to NZ$500 per week for rent depending on the location, number of people and number of the bed rooms and number of rooms.   You will also have to pay a bond (a maximum of 4 weeks’ rent) and pay in advance (2 weeks’ maximum).  The bond should be given back to you when you leave, provided the flat is clean and undamaged. Additional costs you must pay are food, electricity/gas and sometimes water, telephone, internet plus personal expenses.  Some apartments are unfurnished, and if so, you will need to buy your own furniture.

Sharing a flat with other students is also popular, because costs are shared. You can find flats or flatmates easily on TradeMe, Harcourts and NZFlatmates.

Tenancy Services is extremely helpful and is filled with information to help you as a renter. Please visit it to find out all your legal rights and find out more information about what renting is like in New Zealand.

Student Hostels and Backpackers

There are many student hostels and backpacker hotels in Christchurch. Prices range from NZ$210+ per week upwards, for a room (not including food). You can search on HostelBookers to find a hostel in either city.


Other typical costs in New Zealand (2016)

  • Bus fares:  Christchurch
  • Big Mac meal: $9.40
  • Pizza: from $5.99
  • Coca Cola (2.25l): $2.49 – $3.99
  • Loaf of Sliced Bread: $2.50 and above, depending on type of bread
  • Restaurant: from $14.00 (average per person excluding drinks)
  • Movie: $15 to $25
  • SIM card for mobile phone: Free to $35 
  • Internet cafe:  $1 to $3 per hour