International FAQs

You probably have lots of questions!

We have a great A to Z guide to [almost] everything about life at Sacred Heart.  Here are answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions – you can also check out the School FAQs.

Do we have a home room? 

Yes, we do. Our international office is next to room 119. In our home room you can talk to staff, relax or eat your lunch.  Of course, once you make friends in the wider school community, you will want to be out with them rather than in our home room.

  • International FAQs

Do I need to bring a laptop?

Yes. Each student needs a Windows laptop as our school systems and online academic resources require specific configurations.

Ideally, international students should bring their own Windows laptop. The laptop should not be restricted in any way.  If you bring a school device which has security restrictions, it can not be used within our school.

For short term students, laptops can be hired on a per-term basis.  However, there are only a few laptops available for hire, and we need to know well in advance of your arrival date if a laptop is required. These laptops can be taken to your homestay to use for homework etc.

Students can also borrow a laptop on a daily basis.  Again, only a few are available. They must be collected in the morning before school starts, and returned at the end of the school day.

Please see this page for more details. 

Also, we highly recommend that you have a smartphone with a New Zealand Sim card.

What are the school rules?

Great question – you can check out our standards and expectations, or ask any of your teachers if you are not sure about something.

What if I don’t like the food at my Homestay? 

Food in New Zealand might be very different from what you are used to. Do try a variety of foods with your friends and Homestay family.

You should let your Homestay know the sort of foods you prefer.  You could offer to share some recipes with your Homestay family! Perhaps you could go grocery shopping with your Homestay family – especially for your lunches. Most Homestays will provide the ingredients for lunches but will expect you to make you own lunch. There is a canteen at school which is open at break times. You MUST NOT leave the school grounds to buy your lunch.

Hamilton City has people from all over the world, and you will be able to find places that provide food you like. (Hint: Miss Collette, Miss Lisa and Miss Monica love to talk about food and recipes!)

What time do I start school?

You must arrive by 8.20am Monday to Friday so you can prepare for your lessons and meet with international staff if you need to.

What if I am late for school?

It is very important to be punctual. If you are late, you need to go to the Student Centre, sign in and say why you are late. A note will go on your record we may need to talk with you.

What do I do if I am ill?

If you unwell at school, tell the Student Centre staff. They will call your Homestay, and someone will come and collect you. Your Homestay may register you with their local doctor. If not we will sign you up with a doctor near the school.  You need to let us know about any medical costs, so we can help you claim on insurance.

Can I join clubs at school?

Yes! Clubs are a great way to meet new friends. There are more than 50 clubs at Sacred Heart, and we encourage you to join any that interest you – see this page for a few.  Club members meet after school, at lunch times and weekends. We can also help you to join clubs in the community.

What time do I need to be back at my Homestay after school? 

Your Homestay family will talk to you about their rules. Most Homestays will need to know if you are going to be home later than 5pm. Make sure your Homestay family members have your phone number.

Who are the International Department staff?

Miss Collette is the Director. She is responsible for international marketing and promotion for Sacred Heart Girls’ College.  

Miss Collette will often meet with you to discuss your progress, write reports, help you set your learning targets, check on your progress, and talk to your homestay family, agents and parents. Her email address is:

Miss Lisa is the Homestay Co-ordinator. She keeps in contact with our wonderful homestay families and does her best to match your personality and interests with a family. Her email address is:

Miss Monica is the Administrator. She looks after insurance, visas, travel arrangements and any paperwork you need help with. Her email address is:

Miss Brandt is our English language tutor. She will help you improve your English lanuage skills.

You can read more about us here.

Where do I buy the school uniform?

There is a school uniform shop, NZ Uniforms, at 244 Tristram St in Hamilton. We have a few second-hand uniforms for hire. We will help you sort out a uniform (if you need one). See here for our school uniform details.

Where do I buy my bus tickets?

You will need a Bee Card. We have given you one with $10 on it, which you will need to top up regularly. See: our transport page or BUSIT for more information.  

How do I get a New Zealand bank account?

We will help you to open a New Zealand bank account if you need one. The bank will need to see documents such as your passport, student visa, as well as a letter from the school. You will need some money to put into the account.

What is Community and AKO time? 

Each Tuesday you meet with your CCM (Form) class. It is a time to reflect on work, make plans, and help those in need in the community. It gives you an opportunity to ask any questions and is also a time for assemblies and team meetings.

What happens if I find a subject difficult at school? 

Talk to Miss Collette in the first instance. She will work out a way around the problem with you and the teacher.  

Also, there is a homework club that meets once a week.  This is a good opportunity to go through your work and ask for help if you need it. This club meets in the international room.

Do we go on trips?

Yes, the International Department will organise a trip each term as part of your “Kiwi experience”.  Other school trips need to be approved by your Homestay, agents and parents.  

What is my school email address?

Your school email address will be

We will tell you your username and help you with Google Classroom during the first day of school. Please do check your school email and notices every day.

Is there wifi available?

Yes, again, we will help you with this on the first day of your time with us.

Are there any useful web sites or apps I should know about?

Yes! Gmail and Google classroom are useful apps for your phone or tablet.

NauMai NZ has information and resources to help you with coping strategies for your learning, relationships and dealing with any pressures you may face. 

The Stuff and NZ Herald apps are useful to keep up with local and international news. Hamilton weather can be very changeable, so we recommend installing the free NZ MetService app.

What is the 24/7 phone number?

We are always available to help you with emergencies.

  • Our emergency number is 021 279 9366.

Can I get refunds on money my parents have paid?

No, any refunds are paid to your parent’s bank account. Your Homestay is paid for the time you are here. There is no refund on this as we must pay the Homestay family. If you travel home, come back late, or leave early, then you do that at your own expense.

We do give refunds (to your parents) of any unspent contingency money.

The school account is not your bank account. We will help you open a bank account if you need one and we suggest NZ$50 a week will be enough for you to spend. This is not included in your contingency fund – this is for you to pay.