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Living in New Zealand as an LLM Student

Students in New ZealandWith an education system that is based on the English higher education system, it is no wonder that studying
an LLM in New Zealand is popular. International students come from all over the world to attend university in New Zealand, and Law is a very popular subject for both undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Heading off to university for the first time is never easy and if your LLM year coincides with leaving home, you should take some time to prepare for it, especially if you are going to study in another country or even continent!

To help you on your way here's our introduction to living in New Zealand as an LLM student, highlighting some key points for consideration.

Prepare to leave home

Do some research and speak to current or recent students, so you know what to expect. Social media is brilliant for this and most law schools will have student societies you can contact through all sorts of social media. If you're an international student, then you can speak to your law school or university's international office and find out any extra information you might need to know. Bring a couple of things from home to make your new student accommodation feel like home, and if you have the budget, buying a few things like cushions and lamps will make it feel more comfortable. 


What climate should you to expect? 

New Zealand has a predominantly temperate climate, but the country runs quite far south and this brings colder winters with it. The far north, including Auckland, is sub-tropical and you can expect the summer, October to March, to be warm with an annual mean temperature of around 16C. The far south of the South Island has an annual mean temperature of around 6C, which is much cooler in comparison to the north of the North Island. There are also many alpine areas, especially in the South Island, that have severe winter conditions. However, where most people and law schools are located the climate is pleasant and warm with quite a lot of rain. 

What is the social life like for LLM students? 

Every law school in New Zealand has student societies and joining one is a great way to settle in. Most will have a dedicated Law Society, such as the Society of Otago University Law Students or the Auckland University of Technology's Law Students' Society. These societies will give you an idea of what events and social occasions will be on while you are studying. There are also a number of national law societies like the New Zealand Society for Legal and Social Philosophy that encourage debate and discussion between law students. As you can see from the table below the different law schools in New Zealand cater differently to their LLM students when it comes to clubs and societies. If the social and networking element of studying al LLM in New Zealand is important to you then you may be happier at the University of Aukland or the University of Canterbury than at the Auckland University of Technology or Victoria University of Wellington. However, the variety of LLM programs on offer at these other universities in New Zealand may appeal to you more, so make sure you do your research.

LLMs and Societies at New Zealand law schools


Culture in New Zealand 

People in New Zealand are a friendly bunch and are often up for a drink in a bar, a BBQ or Hangi, or just a chat. Drinking alcohol is a big part of the culture in New Zealand, as is sport, particularly rugby and cricket, but if you're not into drinking or sports no-one will mind, but you'll still get invited. People have a pretty relaxed way of life and you should expect to see people walking around with no shoes on, even in Wellington the capital city. 

What's the teaching like? 

Students from Europe and the UK will find the system of education in most law schools in New Zealand fairly familiar. Most law schools, like the Victoria University of Wellington, employ the Socratic Method of teaching where students are questioned on the texts they have been set to read. English and Maori are official languages in New Zealand, however, most legal education is conducted in English, so a good command of English is a pre-requisite for entry onto all LLM courses. 


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