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The Experience

Immerse yourself in the “Kiwi” culture of this magical island nation.

Playing beach volleyball after school and watching rugby matches on the weekends. Going on bike rides and taking a dip in the ocean. Walking barefoot through town and drinking coffee in a local café. It’s all part of the laid-back lifestyle in this magical island nation. Before long, you’ll pick up the local Kiwi slang, as well as Māori words and expressions. Five days a week, you’ll take classes (taught in English) for eight hours a day at a local public or private high school with your New Zealander peers. Rest assured, you’ll still have plenty of time to volunteer, do extracurricular sports and activities, or just chill on the beach.

Girl standing by cliff over looking ocean
Rugged coastline is ripe for exploration.
Students in front of waterfall
Natural beauty abounds.

“Both the cities and wilderness are so breathtaking, you’ll probably fall in love with New Zealand instantly. New Zealand is [also] home to some of the friendliest people I have met. All of my classmates want to learn more about America and ask me tons of questions! My host family is also lovely. Weekends are filled with looking around town with my host family or friends, playing with my host sister, going to the beach and enjoying sunsets, eating sushi, lots of laughing, and doing lots of homework.”

–Olivia O., CIEE High School Abroad Participant


Upon arriving in New Zealand with your fellow participants, you will be met by staff in Auckland, where you will begin your two-day orientation. During orientation, you will participate in a series of workshops focusing on a variety of themes — culture, academics, social norms, and current events — all designed to best prepare you for your experience in New Zealand. You’ll also see some of the best that Auckland has to offer!

The Destination

Beaches, mountains, glaciers, fjords — you’ll never forget the natural wonders of New Zealand.

Picture yourself in New Zealand:

Enjoying an afternoon at a gorgeous, sandy beach, or spending a weekend exploring the breathtaking Southern Alps with your host family. Learning about indigenous Māori culture in class, and brushing up on local Kiwi phrases while hanging with your “mates” after school.

From the snowcapped peaks and lush green valleys of “Middle-earth” to the bright lights of Auckland, New Zealand offers landscapes and culture uniquely its own. Regardless of your placement, you’ll have the opportunity to discover that vibrant culture, both in class and through your own explorations. You’ll develop an understanding of what it means to be from New Zealand through relationships with your host family and new friends, while gaining the important life skills needed to be successful in college and beyond.

Red blossoming trees in front of ocean
to take nature-watching to new heights
Students sitting, with arms around each other, on beach
to make friends for life
Bright city lights
Prepare to be dazzled

The Take-Aways

Local Transcript

You will receive an official record of classes and grades from your local school in New Zealand. Credit transfer will vary from school to school, country to country, so please consult with your U.S. school guidance counselor.

Global Citizenship

After immersing yourself in unfamiliar practices and customs, you’ll become better equipped to interact with people from other cultures — in school, on the job, or in your personal life. In today’s interconnected global economy, intercultural skills have never been more important.

94% of participants said their intercultural understanding and knowledge improved as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program, while 93% said their experience made them more aware of global issues.

Student standing in front of city marina
The picture of global citizenship.

Independence & Resilience

Come home better prepared to make transitions, take control of new situations, and appreciate challenging experiences for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow.

90% of participants said their level of independence increased as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program.

“I learned things that aren’t taught in schools: what is really important to me, what I want out of life, and how to be more open-minded and confident.”

– Sophie R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

College Readiness

Studying abroad gives you the kinds of life skills that can’t be learned in a classroom — and shows college admissions reps that you’re already one step ahead in terms of initiative, maturity, and independence.

79% of participants said their experience with CIEE helped shape their college applications.

“Everyone is shocked to hear that I studied abroad when I was 15 years old. I’m shocked myself — yet, quite frankly, I’m shocked that it isn’t more common to study abroad in high school. CIEE gave me an opportunity that most people have never heard of. The program transformed me into the person I am today, with impeccable people skills and the ability to adapt to any environment. I owe a huge thanks to the CIEE program. I am proud to be a CIEE alumnus!”

- Alex A., CIEE High School Abroad Alumnus

Passion & Direction

Upon return, you’ll likely have a better sense of what you want to study in college or even pursue as a career.

86% of participants felt their experience with CIEE impacted their educational or career pursuits and goals, while 96% of participants said they regularly use the knowledge and skills they acquired while abroad with CIEE.

Sample Activities & Excursions

Island exploration and adventure travel abound in the astonishing natural beauty of New Zealand.

Consisting of two main islands, New Zealand is surrounded by water and covered with mountains, lakes, glaciers, and other distinct features. There are several national parks, some with fjords and volcanoes! You’ll have a whole year or semester to discover the country with new CIEE friends, and with your host family.

Looking for more adventures? You’ll have three optional excursions available (at an additional cost) to see even more of the spectacular sights of New Zealand and beyond. Possible options include:

  • North Island Discovery Tour
    Take off on an 11-day adventure through the North Islands, including Wellington and Auckland. Test your spirit with exciting activities like luge rides, surf lessons, and sitting in boiling mud pools! You can also explore the set of the Lord of the Rings movies and learn about Māori culture through art, dining, and village tours.
  • South Island Adventure
    This 12-day tour of the South Island will take you to Christchurch, Queenstown, Kaikoura, Moteuka, and other tourist favorites. You’ll have your pick of activities like hiking, beach trips, whale watching, and even checking out a seal colony.
  • Australia Tour
    Journey Down Under for an 11-day trip through Sydney, Brisbane, Fraser Island, and Surfers Paradise. You’ll hit all the highlights, including Australia Zoo, the Sydney Opera House, botanical gardens, and an amusement park. You’ll even get to cuddle a koala!
Students smiling in front of city
Ready for excitement in the city and beyond.
Girl in tree
What will you get up to?

Meet the Staff

Nina Wineburgh

Enrollment Coordinator

Nina’s passion for international education stems from her own experience living with a host family and attending a local high school in a small town outside of Avignon, France during her sophomore year of high school.

Upon her return to the U.S. with refreshed perspectives and yearning for cross-cultural exploration, Nina continued to pursue her interest in the French language and immersive experiences.

As a French & Francophone studies major in college, she spent a semester studying and living in Nantes, France, and a semester in Rabat, Morocco, on a CIEE-led program. She is thrilled to help facilitate short and long term study abroad programs for high school students with the hope that their experiences are as transformative and inspiring as hers was.

Rachel Babich

Enrollment Coordinator

Rachel has been committed to supporting study abroad since high school, when she traveled through Europe on a cultural exchange program. Returning home with a greater understanding of her world, she sought out opportunities to see new cultures. Through studying in the South of France, living and working in Paris, and traveling to over 25 countries, Rachel has seen firsthand the power of immersive study.

Since then, she has been helping American and international students experience the transformative opportunities study abroad can bring. She is excited to help high school students and their families have a great experience studying with CIEE!

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