International student support

Kia ora! Welcome to UC. We are delighted that you have chosen to study with us. This page contains a range of important information to help make your studies as successful as possible, and your time at Canterbury an enjoyable and memorable experience.

COVID19 updates

Please note that for the latest information for international students related to COVID19, see the COVID19 webpage under the 'Information for International students' tab.


Your international support team

Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care is your international support team at UC. We understand that studying abroad is full of excitement and the unexpected, and we are here to guide you through each step of the way. We are open-minded, knowledgeable, and diverse student advisors who enjoy meeting and working with students from around the world. We provide confidential consultations which you can access by booking online, by sending us an email, or by dropping in to our office

Student Care Advisors are different from the advisors in the colleges. We provide practical and developmental support rather than academic advice. This means that, while we can’t advise you on which courses to take, we can work with you on how to manage your time and cope with pressure better. There all kinds of things that Student Care can help with:

  • if you are feeling isolated or lonely
  • if you are not feeling well and are considering your options
  • cultural support
  • concerns that may impact my visa
  • if something happens outside of University and affects your ability to focus on study
  • if you need help contacting your insurance or healthcare provider
  • if you have issues with your flatmates or landlord
  • providing advice on how to manage your relationship with your supervisor

And much, much more. If you're in doubt about anything, or have a question and just don't know who to ask, come talk to us. 

Book an appointment with Student Care

Other supports and services at UC


The Academic Skills Centre | Pokapū Pūkenga Ako (ASC) is an advisory service and resource hub that focuses on writing and study strategies to maximise student achievement at all levels – from first year through to PhD. It's like Google maps, but for working out how to succeed academically at UC.

ASC can help you understand instructions for assignments, improve your grammar or manage your time better. For postgraduate students, ASC can help with things like writing proposals and literature reviews, or give you feedback on your preparation for any upcoming oral presentations. You can book an individual consultation with a learning advisor to discuss a specific assignment, attend one of many workshops on offer, or access online resources, which provide information on a wide variety of academic skills.

How to make an appointment

Email with your UC email address. Please include a contact phone number. 


The English Language Support Programme is a year-long programme run by the Academic Skills Centre and is designed to help students to improve their academic English. Workshops are 50 minutes long and take place once per week during term time.

Reading and Writing for English Language Learners workshops focus on key reading and writing skills. These stand-alone workshops are a more flexible option than the English Language Support Programme and may be better suited to undergraduate students.

Speaking and Listening for English Language Learners workshops provide opportunities for students to practise conversation and discussion with native and non-native English speakers.

Giving an Oral Presentation helps students improve their public speaking and presentation skills. The 2-hour workshop is open to all UC students but is particularly useful for English language learners who would like to practise their speaking in a supportive environment.

Students who wish to improve their written English may also benefit from attending The Writing Process and Making Sentences Work.


Te Rōpū Ākonga o Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury Students' Association consists of a services team and a governance team (consisting of a student-elected student executive). The core function of the governance team is to represent the student voice, and it is responsible for the overall performance and direction of the activities and affairs of the UCSA. Exec members sit on a range of college and UC committee bodies to make sure students’ voices are heard and undertake special projects. You can vote for Student Executives yearly.

Student events

The UCSA Events and Resources team organises a large number of events throughout the year, including Orientation Week (O-week), Winterlude (Semester 2 orientation), and end of lectures Coffee Party and Tea-Party.

Independent advocacy and welfare support

The UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team provide free and confidential advice independent of the University on anything. You can get advice on issues ranging from academic and financial to tenancy and accommodation. If they cannot specifically help with the issue, they can discuss, advise and refer students to relevant external agencies.

Student clubs

The UCSA has more than 150 student-run affiliated clubs and societies that you can join. Whether it involves chess, gaming, outdoor walks, rock climbing, debating, music, or eating food, there's very likely to be something that interests you there. You can check them all out here

International student representation

The UCSA Executive includes a representative for international students. Their role is to act as a voice for international students, both to the UCSA and to UC. If you would like to email them about anything, you can do so at

And much, much more

The UCSA run a number of cafés and bars on campus, including Shilling Club, Café 1894 and The Foundry. Other initiatives that the UCSA run include the Borrow-a-bike scheme, Menstruation Emergency, UCSA Optometry, UCSA Dental, Good One Party Register, and UCSA Help Volunteers. Check out CANTA Magazine and the UCSA social media accounts (Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram).

Telephone 03 369 0555



The UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team administers the Foodbank, Food Support Service, Hardship Grant and Mickle Fund Loan. You can find more information about these financial supports on this page, or by contacting the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team directly. For information on a range of other financial supports and services, please see this page on Financial Support

UCSA Foodbank – if finances have gotten a bit tight and you need some help with groceries, the Foodbank might be able to help you.

UCSA Hardship Grants – if you have something unforeseen or unexpected happen to you, and you have exhausted your options in finding a means of payment, the Hardship Grant might be able to help you.

UCSA Mickle Fund – if you’re a student of ability and good character who would not be able to complete your studies because of your financial circumstances, then there might be a recoverable loan available to you.

USA Financial Loans – If you’re an international student from the USA coming to UC, your home country might be able to provide you with financial help.



The UC Rec and Sport team provides UC students with a range of sport, fitness and recreation experiences and facilities that complement your education. You can stay active in sport through our Social Sport Leagues, Inter-Hall Sports, Competitive Uni Leagues, Sport and Recreation clubs, or join the Sport and Fitness Academy group training tribe. Drop-in and Learn to Play sessions are also on offer during term time. All activities take place on campus, either on the Ilam Fields or at the UC RecCentre.

The UC RecCentre is your campus fitness and sport facility on campus. You’ll have all the usual gym offerings at your fingertips, and much much more. Try out their extensive group fitness programme, including the ever popular Zumba, HIIT and Yoga classes, or simply hit up the gym for your weights and cardio fix. They have a Zen Zone set aside for quiet activities like yoga, meditation, pilates or just to take some time out on the beanbags. We also have a boxing studio and climbing wall, for something a bit different! If you’re new to the gym, check out the StartZone. It’s smaller and quieter, with lighter weights for beginners. We also set aside Women’s only times each day in the StartZone. 

All UC students issued with a UC Student ID Card are eligible for free membership. You must still sign up online, or in person, and agree to our terms and conditions of use, and code of conduct. Your UC Canterbury Card becomes your membership card and you must present this every time you visit to gain access.

For hours, services and information about our facilities, visit the RecCentre webpage.

Telephone 03 364 2433



Te Ratonga Nohonga | UC Accommodation Service provides information and advice on the halls of residence, homestay and renting privately. You can also contact UC Accommodation Services with any concerns or feedback on your accommodation or arrival experience at your hall or village.

Telephone 03 369 3569


'The support that the University offers is magnificent. There's just so much that the University has to offer, from international help to the Academic Skills Centre, Careers advice and UC Mentors'

—David Thoo Sheng Wei

International Student Care Handbook

The International Student Care Handbook is a treasure-trove of information designed to provide you with everything you need to know for living and studying in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand. From information on how to set up a bank account, insurance and eligibility for medical services, academic life at UC, religion, safety, healthcare, transport, adjusting to life in New Zealand, and so much else, this handbook covers an extensive range of topics. 

The Pastoral Care Code

The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 is commonly referred to as 'The Code'. It is the New Zealand Government’s safeguard that international students will be looked after and experience a high standard of education in Aotearoa New Zealand. As a signatory to the Code of Practice, the University of Canterbury is required to ensure a number of different things, including:

  • Clear, accurate and up-to-date information about studying and living in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • A safe study environment.
  • Support to complete your enrolment, such as checking that you have met student visa and insurance conditions.
  • The opportunity to participate in an orientation programme.
  • Support for your overall wellbeing.
  • Information on the range of advice and support services available to you on campus.
  • Access to information about UC grievance procedures.

To find out more about the Code, and what you can do if you believe there has been a breach of its requirements, see this page here

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