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While you and your group explore the indigenous Maori culture and learn about the country’s spectacular wildlife, you’ll get to make an impact by contributing to various conservation projects and helping to protect local endangered species.

Plus, since all of The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed on location in New Zealand, you might even spot some famous sites as you wander the magical green landscape!

Eligibility Requirements

Age 16years 0month(s) to 17years 8month(s)

Language Medium English will ensure you can enjoy the program and are able to interact with the other multinational participants.

If you want an authentic experience to fuel your passion for social change, culture, nature, or science—make friends while making a real impact through AFS Global Prep!

Start Here!
With a simple formula, your AFS Global Prep will empower you to change your world, engage in hands-on activities, and create benefit for the community.

Thrive in an incredible new place, unlike anything you’ve experienced so far, and create authentic connections that will last a lifetime!

Where else can I go?

Pursue your interests, while becoming a real global citizen through an AFS structured intercultural learning program

What is Global Competency?

Leave your mark on the communities you touch and work to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Global Goals

What are the Global Goals?

Arriving in Palmerston

Arriving in Palmerston

You’ll arrive in Palmerston North, a major city in the North Island of New Zealand, where you’ll be met at the airport by local AFS Staff or Volunteers. Then you’ll continue on to your dorm at the IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute, a picturesque college focused on International Studies. As you settle into your new home for the next three weeks, take a moment to appreciate the casual Kiwi (a popular nickname for people who live in New Zealand) culture, and notice the Asian and Pacific Island influence on architecture, art, and music.

Apply now!

Your Volunteer Project


You and your friends will visit active volunteer project sites and contribute to local conservation efforts. These sites include Cape Sanctuary, a wildlife restoration center in the coastal Hawkes Bay region, and the Wildbase Recovery Center, a wildlife hospital in Palmerston North.

During your time in New Zealand, you may also have the chance to explore Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, where you can get up close and personal with endangered species like the kiwi bird and the tuatara, a reptile native to New Zealand.

Enjoy the area like a local!

Exploring the area

In your free time, you and your friends will experience the laid-back New Zealand lifestyle first-hand. You’ll also learn about the culture and history of the indigenous Maori people by visiting a marae (a religious and social meeting place) in a local Maori community. There you’ll listen to waiata (songs) and korero (stories) that will help you understand the importance the Maori place on environmental conservation.

When you’re not helping endangered species or discovering the unique local culture, you’ll take a trip to the capital of Wellington for a few days of sight-seeing. There you can take an immersive tour of the Weta Workshop, the design studio responsible for creating spectacular costumes and special effects for major films like The Lord of the RingsAvatar, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Apply now!



Palmerston North

You won’t be living in a Hobbit Hole! Instead, soak up New Zealand’s natural beauty while enjoying the convenience of life in Palmerston North. Your home base will be a private dorm on the IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute campus, where you’ll stay with your Group Leader and the other students in your program.

The city of Palmerston North is about two hours by car from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, and you and your group will have the chance to spend a few days in this cultural center.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.

Apply now!

AFSers in action:

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