Deciding where to live when you make the decision to further your studies may or may not be a difficult one. There are few options available to you if you are studying away from your home town. It may also be that you are in your home town and you wish to move out of home.

Living at home

If you are someone who is very money conscious and wishes to ‘study on the cheap’ then staying in the family home is the best way to save money while studying. This will considerably cut your costs.

There are also ways you can work your study around staying at home. The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand has a whole host of courses that can be study from your home extramurally. There are also a lot of course available through other tertiary providers that can be taken extramurally.

Living away from home

You’re living away from home. If you are studying straight out of school then chances are this is the first time you’ve lived away from home. Here are some accommodation options available to you

Halls of Residence

It would be fair to say that the majority of students who are ‘school leavers’ choose to spend their first year away from home studying in a Halls of Residence. A Hall of Residence is much like a boarding hostel for want of a better comparison.

Halls of Residence are generally located a short walk from campus or sometimes on campus.

Some halls may have single rooms, twin-share rooms or a mixture of the two. There will be bathroom/wet room areas that cater for a number of students at once and there may be very basic kitchenette facilities in your hall.

There is generally a communal laundry, lounge room and dining hall. Meals are usually provided, and all dietary needs can be catered for. At some tertiary institutes you can choose to live in a self-catering hall of residence.

A warden, who is generally a student of the institute who is slightly older, lives on site. This person is responsible for the ensuring any unruly conduct is seen to and keeps an eye out over the hall. He or she may also organise sporting and recreational activities from time to time.

There are benefits for going into a hall of residence as a new student. You’ll meet a whole host of new people who are likely to be heading down the same path you are. Halls can be very supportive, fun, social places to be.

There is a need to apply for a place in a hall of residence at most tertiary institutes. For more info on this process check with the provider. Doing an internet search for ‘Halls of Residence in New Zealand’ will provide you with website addresses for all the institutes that have Halls available to students.

To live in a hall of residence you generally need to budget for around $200.00 per week. This would generally include at least two meals a day. This may vary from provider to provider so the best place to check is with the provider you intend to attend.

Homestay/Private Board

Homestay means you live with a family in a residential house, just like being at home for the most part. You should have a room of your own if you choose to go down the Homestay route.

While it is up to the Homestay family and you to make arrangements that suit all of you the general expectation of this arrangement is that

  • Meals are provided by the Homestay family
  • You are responsible for your own washing
  • Transport is also your responsibility

Choosing to live in a Homestay will allow you to continue life in a family environment.

This option generally costs around $180.00 per week.


Flatting means you rent an apartment or house, generally with others. Flatting gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of who you live with as opposed to the Halls of Residence where you are placed with others you may not know.

This is normally an option taken by student in their second and following years of study once they have meet new people and decided who they may like to live with following on from the Halls of Residence.

There are often ‘clusters’ of rental accommodation available very close to the tertiary institution. The houses/flats generally have three, four, five rooms and are sometimes less than desirable…notorious in some areas!!!

Flatting will cost you around $290.00. Here’s a very general breakdown…

  Rent    $130.00
  Power $17.00
  Phone $20.00
  Groceries $50.00
  Transport $25.00
  Social Life $30.00
  Toiletries $6.00
  Lunch and “bits and bobs” $15.00

There are extra costs that are associated with going flatting. You’ll need to buy things like beds, desks, drawers, possibly a washing machine and all the other bits and bobs that make up a working house – cutlery, linen and so on.

There is also the bond expense that needs to be taken into account also. The bond is the amount of money you pay to the landlord that is held by them in case anything needs to be fixed or repaired once you leave the property. If everything is as it is was when you took the property on then the bond is returned to you.


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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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