Student Awards are now closed for 2017.

AFS New Zealand manages the Ministry of Education Language Immersion Awards for students who want to study in a country that speaks a language they are studying. Are you….

  • Interested in improving your fluency in the language you’re currently studying?
  • Wanting to be part of a new school and make friends in a new country?
  • Keen to be immersed in a new culture with new places to explore?
  • Up for completely new experiences?

Well it’s all possible. Live the semester of a lifetime, as a local, not a tourist. All Awards are fully funded by the Ministry of Education for travel in 2018 for a semester.

LIA is a chance for you to experience and learn about another culture by living like a local, immersed in the language you’re learning and increasing your fluency.  You’ll live with and become part of an AFS host family, make new friends, have a ton of fun!

Apply Now to begin the Language Immersion Award for Student application, there’s one application round per year for beginning and mid-year departures in 2018.

To be eligible to apply, you must be studying one or more of these languages:
Chinese, Cook Islands Maori, Vagahau Niue, Gagana Tokelau, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Gagana Samoa, Spanish.

And you must be:

  • Be 16 or older when you are due to leave on the Award
  • Be studying and apply for one of the languages above and be in year 11 or 12 in 2017
  • Be studying that language at school and/or the Correspondence School
  • Be a New Zealand citizen or have permanent residency (in accordance with Government funded programmes)

Costs of the programme, including travel, insurance and visas are covered by the Award, you will be responsible for spending money.

You must participate in all orientation processes offered.  You must provide written reports for the Ministry of Education during the experience and upon return as required. After the programme is over, you will complete a series of evaluation reports and continue the experience by sharing your knowledge and skills within your school in New Zealand.

Submitting an application for the AFS exchange is NOT an application for an LIA, they are two separate applications.

For more information please contact [email protected] or call 0800 600 300.

The Awards are funded by the Ministry of Education through the New Zealand Government’s Growth and Innovation Framework and support the development of language skills considered necessary for New Zealand to move toward a globally-connected economy. They also support the Government’s economic, social and cultural goals.

Phoenix Hale, Kiwi student learning Spanish, who spent a semester in Argentina

My expectations of the trip were very broad. Better language skills and a deeper worldly understanding weren’t top of my list. I just wanted to enjoy myself. It was only at the AFS orientation camp that I realised how much I wanted to know about the Argentine way of life. Needless to say, my trip did more than fulfill those expectations. And of course my language skills improved massively. I’d say those are the most important things that I took away from the experience.
In school we weren’t really encouraged to speak except for our speech assessment, so talking Spanish all the time really changed things for me. I never thought I’d be able to communicate so fluently – the fact that I managed to survive in a Spanish speaking country really made me feel good about myself.
I was also impressed with the cultural understanding that I came with it. I’m now able to define social problems from different points of view. I also feel that this trip has helped me stop making such impulsive decisions and allowed me to see things more holistically.

Emma Thomson, Kiwi student learning German, who spent a year in Austria

When my mum told me about this amazing exchange programme that’s practically free run through AFS, I made it happen.
I knew I had been immersed in the culture when I started mixing my German up with my English. When I returned to NZ, I found it strange to say ‘nearby’ and would tell mates we could meet somewhere ‘in der Nähe’. Instead of ‘sorry’ I’d say ‘entschuldigung’. I was thinking in both English and German and these phrases that had been so foreign to me once, were just popping out instinctively. I was even busted sleep talking in German!
I applied for University when I was over there. I’m doing German as part of my arts major and went straight into stage 3 because my language ability and experience level was so high.
What made it even easier was that AFS has a really strong chapter over there. They match you with a counsellor, who helps you settle in and smooths over any problems that might crop up.