Communication in New Zealand

While you are abroad it is important to find ways to stay in touch with family and friends. They will all be anxious to hear about your experiences, and you will want to know what is happening at home. A quick phone call or e-mail can make them feel much better.

Some students have said that it is helpful to set up a communication plan with family and friends so everyone will know when you are available to make a call or receive a call. With time differences, inconsistent internet access, and the many excursions and activities you will be participating in, sometimes it can be difficult for you and your family to connect. Keep in mind that you are only abroad for one term, so you will want to make the most of it and be present for every experience that you have.

One way some students have stayed in touch and shared their experiences with many friends and family is through keeping a blog. This is an excellent way to communicate as it touches many people and can be flexible with time.

Communication Apps
Smart phone apps also work very well and allow students to text and call back home with ease. Viber, Whatsapp, and Facetime are all recommended. The most common communication tool however, is Skype, which allows for free calling from one Skype device to another or very inexpensive calling from Skype to a landline or mobile phone.


#Cisabroadtip add $5 to your skype account before going abroad to make calling phones back home easy right from the beginning.

Cell Phones
Experienced travelers all agree: it is best to buy a phone and SIM card in-country once you arrive. If you choose to bring your American phone, make sure you turn off your data usage and voice roaming. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to set your iPhone for international travel to avoid paying huge roaming fees.

Vodafone, Telstra, and Optus are the three large telecommunication companies in New Zealand which offer pre-paid cellphones with basic rate plans.

Australia Vodafone Australia TelstraAustralia Optus

You will be able to purchase a basic phone and SIM card in-country. You can then send an international text message to your family so they know your new local number.

Your phone minutes and texts will be prepaid by you.  You “top-up” (prepay) your phone with $5-20 at a time at many locations. Your on site staff can explain this in more detail in-country and will provide you with times to go purchase a New Zealand phone.

If you have an American phone with a SIM card, it may be possible to only buy the SIM card in-country and not need to buy a basic phone.  Please contact your cell phone provider for specific instructions.

Plan on not knowing your local cell phone number until you are in-country.
The country code for New Zeland is +64

This website will help friends and family to know how to call you in New Zealand and will help you know how to call home: