Friday, 12 August 2011

Studying in New Zealand

Queens English
Studying in New Zealand

This is something some of my readers will want to do, so here's some advice from me (as a teacher who has worked at half a dozen schools in Auckland).

First, get online and find out what city to go to. There are a number of things to take into account - not least, the cost of living. Auckland is pretty expensive, but the good thing about Auckland is that it's the biggest city in New Zealand, and as there are many overseas students here, the population is well used to seeing you all here.

Then choose your school. That's where my advice could come in handy for you. Choose one close to the city, and ideally, you will find accommodation in the city or nearby, which will save on travel costs. Many schools can organise a home stay for you, and one that I know of has a residence (dormitory) for students.

You will probably have to fight off recruiters for various schools who want to sign you up - but don't make a hasty decision. Look for a school which takes your pastoral needs as seriously as it does getting fees from you. Look for one which has a lot of students from your country, as it will no doubt surprise you how homesick you are. Look for a school which will be firm about putting you in at the right level - sometimes you're not ready for IELTS, and will only be wasting your money if you're in an IELTS class too soon.

Here are the names of some schools, and some comments:

Auckland English Academy
I have worked there, and it is with sadness that I recommend you avoid this school. Students have been put in classes at the wrong level, because the school is more interested in your fees than your future. Many (perhaps most) of the teachers are good, and care about your future, but management doesn't seem to, and that applies to the senior teacher as well.

The same remarks as for Auckland English Academy apply, as they do to Goldstar.

Whitireia International
Highly recommended. The staff are strict, but that is a good thing, and they really care about your future.

AIS St Helens
Also recommended. AIS St Helens is in a suburb out from the city (although not far) and it has a dormitory for students, also it can organise home stays, so that's a worry off your mind. The local community is a friendly one, which is another advantage.

And to finish, a bonus - a remark about an idiom. How many meanings has the word stir? Many! As a noun, it has the figurative meaning of 'prison'... as a verb, it can mean to foment trouble, or to hasten progress in an endeavour.