International Student Stories

Ralika Chhay | Year 11 | Cambodia

Coming to New Zealand is an eye opening experience. It’s a chance to experience a whole new country with a distinct culture, lifestyle and education system.

The style of teaching is very different -the focus is on independency and time management instead of following all of teacher’s instructions. The teachers are very helpful and approachable, which I feel is an important part of learning. I find it really enjoyable to get to create my own work schedule, choose subjects that I’m passionate about and find learning styles that suit me individually. This encourages me to be confident in my learning ability as I’m not forced to learn something I’m not interested in and I don’t feel like I have no control over my education.

After school, there are also extracurricular activities that are available such as playing different sports, learning musical instruments or joining social groups. For me, I just came across a new interest of mine with softball, so this is a good opportunity to discover new talents and interests.

Along the way, I also made a lot of local and international lifelong friends, who I can rely on. Overall, I didn’t regret coming to New Zealand even one bit because I got the privilege to witness a completely new way of life unlike any other.

Mizuki | Year 13 | Japan





Hello, I’m Mizuki from Nagasaki, Japan. I’ve been living in New Zealand for almost 2 years.

Before I came to New Zealand I had stopped going to my Japanese High School for about 10 months. I still don’t know exactly why but  I think it there was a lot of pressure on me. I had 7 classes every day and I was studying about 10 subjects. Also I belonged to a sports club that I had to attend for 3 hours everyday after school and even on weekends, and I had a lot of homework as well… so I didn’t have enough time to do anything for myself. All of this limited my own personal time. I thought that there was no meaning to life so why would I want to continue this life. I wanted to live more freely and do the things I enjoyed. At the time I asked my friend what I should do.  My friend said “ You should go to another country.” That is how I ended up here.

I remember my first impressions when I arrived New Zealand. I thought the sky was very very beautiful and large. There were no clouds so and it was so bluel. Also I remember when I first met my host family –  I couldn’t even say my own name well because I was so nervous and shy. At school I couldn’t understand what the teachers said so it was so hard. Even though I had studied English for years in Japan I couldn’t understand  hardly anything. I was disappointed. From this experience I was determined to understand English as soon as possible. I always looked up the words using a dictionary during class and repeated a review of them at home. It became understandable little by little. However assessments were very hard for me. The first year I hardly passed anything but by the second year I was able to achieve almost every assessment. The biggest reason was because I could choose subjects by myself so I was able to study the things that I like. In New Zealand, there are so many options to study.  I really like the education system here. The second reason I was able to pass was because my teachers gave me a lot of support.

Another reason that living in New Zealand worked well for me is that New Zealanders accepted us (international people) warmly. To New Zealanders, accepting other cultures is not too big a thing or too difficult a thing. My host family was interested in and respected my culture, so I was also interested in New Zealand’s culture and respectful of it. To live in another country is not always easy and sometimes it is very difficult, but this experience has been the most important experience of my life. It made me strong.

Finally, I’m glad I came to New Zealand. I have many good memories, I’m glad I met many people and I grew as a person.  I am very grateful to my parents, my friends, my teachers, my agents and my host family. I had a great experience here. Thank you so much.

Enrico Zonta | Year 12 | Italy

Hello everybody, I’m Enrico Zonta from Italy and I have been studying at Green Bay High School for a month and a half. It is a short time and I really wish I could stay longer, because so far it has been an extremely amazing and exciting experience!

First of all, the school system is way different from the one in Italy, and I really appreciate this more interesting, involved and active type of lesson. In addition, I am impressed with the incredible number of subjects offered, from the most extravagant ones such as Fashion Design or Hospitality to really technical ones like Economics and Physics.

Then, it is a very welcoming and positive environment: everybody has been really helpful to me, not only the International Staff and the teachers, but even other students! As you arrive, you are assigned a buddy, a Kiwi student that helps you to get to know the school and how it works. Of course, everybody else is also really helpful and understanding, so do not be afraid of asking for anything, or to start a conversation with somebody: almost everyone will be happy to help you or to relate with you!

So, if you are looking for a welcoming and chilled environment, which offers an array of extra-curricular activities and sports, in a fancy area well-linked to Auckland’s city centre, Green Bay High School is the right choice. You will have a wonderful experience here!

Ciao a tutti, sono Enrico Zonta dall’Italia, e ho studiato nella Green Bay High School per un mese e mezzo. È davvero un periodo breve e vorrei molto stare piú a lungo, perché finora é stata un’esperienza straordinaria e grandiosa!

Prima di tutto, il sistema scolastico é molto diverso da quello italiano e mi piace molto questo modo piú interessante, coinvolgente e attivo di fare lezione.

Inoltre, sono rimasto colpito dalla varietà di materie che ci sono, dalle piú stravaganti come Fashion Design e Ospitalità ad altre molto tecniche come Economia e Fisica.

In piú, é un ambiente molto accogliente e positivo: tutti sono stati molto d’aiuto nei miei confronti, non solo l’International Staff e gli insegnanti, ma anche gli altri studenti! All’arrivo, ti viene assegnato un buddy, uno studente Kiwi che ti aiuta a conoscere la scuola e a capire come funziona. Ovviamente, anche tutti gli altri sono d’aiuto e comprensivi, quindi non aver paura di chiedere qualcosa o di iniziare una conversazione: quasi tutti saranno contenti di aiutarti e di conoscerti!

Quindi, se stai cercando un ambiente accogliente e rilassato, che offra tante attività extracurricolari e sport, in un’area carina e ben collegata con il centro di Auckland, Green Bay High School é la scelta giusta. Qui avrai un’esperienza magnifica!

Sydney Grabo | Year 11 | Germany

Hello, my name is Sydney and I’m a 16-year old exchange student from Germany. I attended Year 12 at Green Bay High School in Auckland for the first two terms in 2019.

I had a lot of fun here and really enjoyed coming to school every day. My subjects of choice were Dance, Business Studies, German and Geography which I really liked and that are taught by sympathetic and helpful teachers. My other two subjects were English and Statistics and the teachers in these faculties have really good personalities and teaching skills as well. Most of the teachers are really open to international students and will always try their best to help you if you need help.

Extracurricular activities I took part in were Cheerleading and the “Dance Club”, which are both offered to all Year Levels and are a great chance to find new friends and become part of a team.

The international department at Green Bay is also nice and helpful because they always try their best to make your wishes possible and help you meet your expectations of your stay here.

The short distance to the city centre is the ideal location to live close to nature and beautiful beaches and still have all the shops, restaurants and cafes you want and need nearby.

Hallo, mein Name ist Sydney und ich bin eine 16 jährige Austauschschülerin aus Deutschland. Ich habe das Year 12 an der Green Bay High School in Auckland für die ersten zwei Terms in 2019 besucht.

Ich hatte hier viel Spaß und es genossen jeden Tag zur Schule zu kommen. Meine gewählten Schulfächer waren Tanzen, Business Studies, Deutsch und Erdkunde, welche ich wirklich mochte und welche bei sympatischen und hilfsbereiten Lehrern unterichtet werden. Meine anderen zwei Fächer waren Englisch und Statistik und die Lehrer in diesen Bereichen haben auch sehr gute Persönlichkeiten und Fähigkeiten. Die meisten Lehrer sind sehr offen für internationale Schüler und werden sich immer Mühe geben dir zu helfen wenn du es brauchst.

Die Zusatzaktivitäten an denen ich teilgenommen habe waren Cheerleading und der “Dance Club”, welche beiden allen Jahrgangsstufen angeboten werden und eine gute Möglichkeit sind neue Freunde zu finden und Teil eines Teams zu werden.

Das International Department an der Schule ist auch sehr nett und hilfreich weil sich die Leute immer Mühe geben deine Wünsche möglich zu machen und deine Erwartungen an deinen Aufenthalt hier zu treffen.

Die kurze Entfernung zum Stadtzentrum und die Nähe zur Natur machen den Standort der Schule ideal weil man die Schönheit Neuseelands genießen kann und trotzdem alle Geschäfte, Cafes und Restaurants, die man gerne hätte, in der Nähe sind.

Salome Levrel | Year 11 | France

Green Bay High School is a great school. Even though I was only here for a short time, it was such a good experience and I met lots of fantastic people!

New Zealand people are very open-minded and my buddy Pim was really nice and she is a wonderful friend.

I am going back to France with an unforgettable experience to share with my family!

Merci beaucoup!




Montserrat | Year 11 | Chile

Hi! I came to Auckland, NZ at the beginning of this year. It was a wonderful experience; I met many new awesome people, I learned about the NZ culture and I improved my English a lot. Before I came here, I expected the 3 months to go very slowly, but I have to confess that they were the fastest months of my life. I was really scared and nervous before I left Chile but when I arrived at my homestay I forgot everything. My homestay was incredible, they were awesome with me, I’m so grateful for their care and patience. I went to Green Bay High School throughout the first term. The school is huge in comparison with my school in Chile. Initially, I thought that I would get lost. My teachers and classmates were really nice to me, especially my ESL teacher – that class has been my favorite because I felt more comfortable due to all of my classmates being international students like me. Auckland city is amazing. You have so many interesting places to visit and go with friends, I really enjoyed the hospitality in NZ. I hope to come back someday, to visit my friends and my host family, or maybe I will travel to Japan to visit the Japanese friends I made. I miss a lot of things but I’m happy to have had this wonderful experience.
I want to say thank you to all these people who supported me on this trip. And if you have the opportunity to live this experience don´t think twice just say yes, I promise you that you will not regret it.

¡Hola! Estuve en Auckland, Nueva Zelanda a principios de este año. Fue una experiencia realmente agradable, conocí a gente nueva y maravillosa,aprendí mucho sobre su cultura y mejoré mucho mi inglés. Antes de llegar allí, esperaba 3 largos meses, pero tengo que confesar que fueron los meses más rápidos de mi vida. Estaba realmente asustada y nerviosa, pero cuando llegué a mi homestay, y olvidé todo, mi homestay fue increíble, fueron increíbles conmigo, estoy muy agradecida por su cuidado y paciencia. Fui a Green Bay High School durante el primer trimestre, la escuela es enorme en comparación con mi escuela en Chile. Inicialmente, crei que me perdería. Mis maestros y compañeros de clase fueron muy amables conmigo, especialmente la profesora de mi ESLA, esa clase fue mi favorita porque me sentí más cómoda debido a que todos mis compañeros de clase eran estudiantes internacionales como yo. Bueno, la ciudad es increíble, tienes tantos lugares interesantes para visitar e ir con amigos, realmente disfrute de mi hospitalidad en Nueva Zelanda.
Espero volver algún día, para visitar a mis amigos y mi familia anfitriona. o tal vez tendré que viajar a Japón para visitar a mis amigos japoneses. Extraño muchas cosas pero estoy feliz de haber sido de esta maravillosa experiencia. Solo quiero agradecer a todas estas personas que se quedan a mi lado en este viaje. Y si tienes la oportunidad de vivir esta experiencia, no lo pienses más, solo di que sí, te prometo que no te arrepentirás.

Phuc Nguyen Ngoc | Year 12 | Vietnam

My name is Phuc Nguyen Ngoc also known as Alex and I’m from Vietnam. I’ve been in New Zealand for almost 1 year. I remember when I first arrived I was so nervous because it was very difficult due to the fact that I was in a different country on the other side of the world and so far from home. Don’t let that worry you – I promise you’ll get to know your second home very quickly. My first impressions when I came out from the airport were how extremely fresh the air is here, and how clean the roads are with very little rubbish to be found in the streets. The picture at the top is Auckland city. You cannot imagine how beautiful it is if you have never been here. It is a beautiful city with many luxurious yachts that you would have only seen on the movies or TV – it doesn’t feel real.

The reason I came here though was not to travel – I am here to study. It is not always easy, and in fact it can be extremely difficult to study in a second language, but don’t let that stop you. Mastering English is the most important thing, because you have to know English so you can understand what the teacher is saying in class. Try to communicate as much as possible with the Kiwi students and your host family to improve your English, and don’t be shy if someone comes and talks to you. Although I haven’t been here that long I have seen enough to know that the education system in Vietnam and New Zealand are quite different. This is not to say that one is better than the other but they are different and I believe it’s really important to see how other countries teach and learn. In New Zealand you can choose any subject you like and you can ask the teacher anytime you want. I promise they will be happy if you ask them questions. But in my opinion, wherever you study you need to focus and think about your future and do your best.

I can’t tell you where the best place is to live or study is but if you ask me, honestly I would prefer New Zealand because I have fallen in love with this country.

Chào mọi người, mình tên là Nguyễn Ngọc Phúc và mình đến từ Việt Nam. Mình đã qua New Zealand được gần 1 năm rồi. Tất nhiên không dễ để sống xa bố mẹ và gia đình mình khi bạn đang được sống một cuộc sống tuyệt vời khi ai cũng chăm sóc cho bạn thì bạn phải đi một nơi mà bạn sẽ tất nhiên không quen một ai cả cũng như là phải tự bươn trải cuộc sống của chính mình. Nhưng mình đảm bảo khi bạn sang đây bạn sẽ yêu ngay nơi này nó thực sự đặc biệt, khi mình rời khỏi sân bay đập vào ngay mắt mình là một sự đẹp đến không ngờ, không khí thực sự rất trong lành cũng như vấn đề rác thải bên này mình cảm thấy rất bất ngờ khi không ngờ nó sạch đến thế. Mọi người có thể nhìn thấy ảnh mình để trên cùng là mình chụp ở trung tâm thành phố Auckland. Mong rằng mọi người có thể mường tượng được thành phố nó như thế nào nó thực sự rất đẹp. Và nếu các bạn không biết thì ở New Zealand thực sự có rất nhiều du thuyền cực kì đẹp và sang trọng.

Nhưng trên tất cả mục đích của mình khi đến đây là học và tất nhiên để học ở một môi trường thực sự khác biệt với Việt Nam không phải dễ dàng. Theo mình sự khác biệt rõ nhất là tiếng anh bởi vì nếu bạn không có tiếng anh thì tất nhiên bạn sẽ không thể học mà cũng không thể hiểu được giáo viên giảng gì cả khi mà không ai có thể nói tiếng việt với bạn cả. Hãy cố gắng nói chuyện nhiều với những người bản địa để mình biết cách nói chuyện cũng như để nâng cao khả năng tiếng anh của mình và đặc biệt đừng ngại ngần khi nói chuyện với người nước ngoài. Thứ hai, có khá nhiều sự khác biệt giữa nền giáo dục giữa Việt Nam và New Zealand, bạn có thể chọn những môn mình thích để học thoải mái nhất có thể và nếu như bạn không hiểu những gì đừng ngần ngại hỏi thầy cô giáo bởi vì họ sẽ rất vui nếu được bạn hỏi họ sẽ tạo những cuộc trò chuyện như những người bạn ngồi nói chuyện với nhau vậy. Nhưng theo mình bạn học ở đâu thì cũng sẽ phụ thuộc vào bạn hãy cố gắng làm tốt nhất có thể để có một tương lai tươi đẹp phía trước.

Cuối cùng thì mình cũng không thể nói bạn phải chọn nước này hay nước kia để học tập hay ở, nhưng nếu bạn hỏi mình mình sẽ giới thiệu cho bạn về đất nước New Zealand bởi chỉ một lý do đơn giản là mình đã yêu đất nước này rồi.

Richard | Year 13 | Taiwan

I am currently an Engineering student at the University of Auckland. I graduated from Green Bay High School last year, and I have great memories from there. I like the environment there – it’s so quiet, and you will see many ducks chilling out around the school. Sometimes when you are sitting in a class, some ducks come to visit the classroom, which I think is quite interesting! You will also get to know people from different countries. There is an excellent chance to do some language exchanges and hang out with your buddies! I hope you guys have a good time there!

這一年裡,我很感謝國際部的這些老師們,Katrina,Kathryn 還有Carla,她們都是很熱心的老師,也經常會耐心地解答你們的問題。