Kia ora (hello) from New Zealand!—the land of picturesque scenery, grazing sheep, and kids playing rugby. If you enjoy the outdoors, barbecuing, relaxing and meeting new people, this is the right place for you. New Zealand is a mix of European, Asian and Pacific cultures, and heavily influenced by the indigenous Maori people.

Teens are into all types of sports, from rugby, cricket, netball, soccer to ultimate frisbee and water polo. You can also check out surfing and whale watching on some of New Zealand’s gorgeous beaches!

AFS Youth exchange in New Zealand

Culture & Community

You’ll may live in a semi-rural or rural area, such as a farm, where you can feed cattle and milk cows. New Zealanders love the outdoors and you can expect that a lot of your family time will be spent in the garden, at the beach, and hiking. Expect to help out around the house with some chores and basic responsibilities.


You’re likely to attend a public high school and have subjects like math, English, art and science. You’ll also have the opportunity to study subjects like agriculture, film, digital art and outdoor recreation. There are lots of sports clubs, Maori cultural groups, choirs, and drama clubs to join.


New Zealand has three official languages, Maori, English and sign language. English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 98% of the population, and very similar to Australian English. There are a lot of Maori words in common usage and young people use many colloquial words in conversation. New Zealanders also talk very fast. Having a basic knowledge of English will be helpful. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in English as a second language classes at some local schools.


#lemonmeringuepie #afsnz @afsnz @sezzie_eng #desserttime #midwinterchristmas

A photo posted by Chloe Kincaid (@chocoholicbake) on

Many cultures moved to New Zealand during the 1800’s and the food is a reflection of that migration from European to Asian and Middle Eastern. Local food is known as Pacific Rim and includes fresh meat, dairy, and produce, fused with flavors from around the world. Good news for meat lovers: New Zealanders tend to eat a lot of meat. However, it’s also quite easy to get by as a vegetarian. Traditionally, New Zealanders love fish and chips and roasts along with desserts like Pavlova, a meringue-based cake. There are lots of cafés and eating out is common. You might even get to experience a traditional Maori feast, called a hangi.

Explore the Programs Available in Nuova Zelanda