International Website


Rebecca Lieberum – Immenhausen, Germany

Becca (pictured second right) on an Outdoor Education trip in the middle of the North Island.

I still cannot put all of this in words! It has been a year now but it does not feel like a whole year, more as nine months. This year has been a fast, eventful and emotional rollercoaster. And now I am back in Germany, trying to get back at normal.

To be honest, I have always dreamed to come to New Zealand since five years and I knew I want to go to Wellington because it seems to me to be a city with typical city life- business, shops and skyscrapers, but on the other hand it has nature around it. It seems very mixed up with both people and the sea nearby. What I did not know was that Wellington is one of the windiest places in the world! I almost got blown away. But it should not scare you… One time you will become resistant to the wind or even miss it! To put it in a nutshell, Wellington is the most beautiful city I have ever seen! The people, the atmosphere and the lifestyle is the most beautiful and peaceful place I have ever been. I never felt unsafe in Wellington. Once I walked home from town. It took about one and a half hours, but it was the best I could do. I saw so much and the people were so friendly! I always had to smile.

I loved being part of Wellington High! The school is very liberal and open-minded. Everyone respects you, it does not matter who you are. The school is not the smallest but it feels great to part of something big. Not only at school, also with the other internationals. We all come from other countries and speak different languages, but we were in this together. We all left our families, to live together with another family for a temporary time. We all wanted to improve our English and to have the best time in New Zealand. We grew together and now I have family around the world!

Wellington High School gives you the best opportunities because I think you won’t find a better school which is so tolerant, easy going, cool and a place to have fun!
I love our International Department, I do not think, there would be a better one. They are all lovely. They always listen to you and help you. They do not care how often you stop by, they are always happy to see you. A friend and I wanted to travel to the South Island in the holidays and usually you have to travel with an adult or as a group with a tour guide. But both did not work out. Our family had to work and the tour was too expensive. They listened to us and tried their best to find a way to do the trip. And it worked out! They organized a host-family where we stayed for a few nights and during the day we could see the city. It has been so awesome and I am so happy that there has always been people who have our backs, supporting us and are there for us.

This year has been indescribable. I literally would love to back and to have it as normal as it has been over there. It has been an adventure with the loveliest people I have ever met!

Hannah Spittler – Wurzburg, Germany

Hannah, far right, after receiving the first ever Leaving Certificate of Excellence with Distinction to recognise all the amazing opportunities she took and the contributions she made during her year at Welly High.


Kia Ora!

My year in New Zealand – studying at Wellington High School, while living with a host family in Wellington, has changed not only my life, but also me!

Thinking back, I have made hundreds of unforgettable memories, survived some of the craziest adventures and made friends for a life time!

Going to school at WHS gave me a completely new perspective on school and learning. With subjects like Outdoor Education (Out-ed), Photography and Hospitality I loved going to school. In a day I would do experiments in Physics and Biology, then after going to the swimming pool, rock climbing or longboarding along the waterfront in Out-education we finished the school day with a lesson in Hospitality, where I learned how to cook and bake a whole bunch of different dishes using different techniques while building up my knowledge around the kitchen. Apart from all the genius things you can lean here, the teachers are extremely nice, helpful and supportive.

Apart from “normal school” I was also able to join several clubs in school during lunch time and after school. For example I joined the tramping club, which gave me the opportunity several times to get out of town for a weekend and discover New Zealand’s native bush with others. Thinking back these adventures were a highlight of my exchange. I also loved being a peer supporter for the new Year 9´s which taught me a full range of tutoring skills and how to support others in the best way. That´s something I probably would have never learned in my German school. Through these and the other co-curricular activities I was involved in, I met a lot of new people and made some great friends.

Within the International Out-ed program I also had the opportunity to go with all my friends to TORA, Castle Point and Turangi where we did things like leaning to surf, diving for paua (a shellfish we ate afterwards), making a bonfire on the beach and eating marshmallows, going mountain biking, rock climbing and river rafting!

Throughout the year there were a whole bunch of ways to get out of town. I joined a North Island tour from an organisation in the first holidays. After Christmas I went on a trip to Sydney, Australia with my best friend where we watched the fireworks at New Year. Later I visited friends in Napier and Nelson, whom I met on the tour, I went camping with my family as well as visiting their relatives in Tauranga, going on Easter camp with my Youth Group, doing more tramping and then visiting friends and family in Auckland and Rotorua, which was awesome! One of the best things I did, was joining one of my friends, who started his own tramping club, on a weekend tramp to Mt. Taranaki and later on for a 5-day tramp in Nelson Lakes to do the Travers-Sarbine circuit. That was one of the coolest and craziest things I´ve done in my entire life!

After school, in my free time and on the weekends, spending time in Wellington was just the best! It´s not too big nor too small, just right so you can do pretty much everything you want to do! The bus system is, for New Zealand, amazing which means you are independent and can easily go out on your own! One of my favourite things were the Waterfront on a sunny day, rock climbing at Fergs, the Saturday market and the night markets! Apart from that this city has the best chocolate (Whittaker´s +Wellington chocolate), peanut butter (Fix&Fogg) and ice cream (Kaffe Eis) in New Zealand! (for me even the entire world!) And as a tip, research you interest and hobbies on Facebook and have a look around. There is so much to do and people are nice and welcoming, even if you are a bit younger! I joined an acrobatic yoga group with my friend, went to the Soup Kitchen to help there and joined the local tramping club. And on Friday nights it´s quite popular to go to Youth Groups which is an awesome place to make friends!

Here I´ve spent one of the best years of my life, I can totally recommend the experience. Use every opportunity and, don´t forget, you decide how awesome your experience is –  the more you give, the more you can get out of your experience! I´m already looking forward to the time when I come back in a few years. I love this place and it will be hard to say goodbye.

Nikola Lange – Cologne, Germany

Nikola LangeMy year in Wellington, New Zealand has been the best year of my life. I experienced so much and gained lots of awesome memories. My host family and the friends I made here supported me the whole year and had the biggest influence on my experience being that awesome. I’m so grateful that my parents made it possible for me to come to WHS and encouraged me throughout the year. Also, the school (especially the international and sports office) made my stay so much easier and were always there to answer the same stupid questions over and over again.

I got involved with sports from the beginning which also had huge impact on my wellbeing and happiness. I played football in the 1st XI and went on tournament with the team for a week in September. That was one of the best things I did during the year. I played squash once a week for a couple of months as well. It was great having a chance to continue my favourite sport (football) and also try out a new sport (squash). Being involved in heaps of different co-curricular activities makes it so much easier to make friends at school.

The school-life here is very different to what I was used to back in Germany but it was awesome to try out new subjects. It was never a problem to swap around classes either. I tried out classes like Practical Woodwork, Outdoor Education and Fashion Design, Outdoor Education being my favourite. In Outdoor Education we do a lot of adventurous activities and go to the beach or to the pool once a week and do water sports. Another amazing week was our Outdoor Education camp where we went canoeing down the Whanganui River. It was tiring, but loads of fun, canoeing all day long through New Zealand’s beautiful nature.

In the holidays I did quite a bit of travelling with my host family and a travel company for international students. With my host family we went to the Nelson Lakes and for a 4-day fishing trip in the Marlborough Sounds. With the travel company, I went up North for 4 days and toured the South Island for 10 days.

All in all, it has been an amazing year and I don’t regret anything I did. I was lucky being in such an awesome host family who treated me as part of their family. I’m going to miss them and my friends here so much and hope that I’ll see them again sometime soon.

(Nikki is on the left of the picture kayaking off Worser Bay,Wellington)

Laura Weber

My name is Laura Weber and I am 16 years old.

I come from Wunsiedel in Bavaria, Germany. It`s a much smaller town than Wellington so it was very exciting to live in such a colourful, big city that still has the personal charm and character so you feel welcome and at home.

I stayed at Wellington High School for one year. One year of exciting events and experiences. My sister came here 3 years ago and did a year abroad also at Wellington High. When she arrived back home she told me all those awesome stories and as soon as I got old enough I thought I really should try this. The first thing I did was making a list of pro and contra and I saw there was not much on my contra site. Of course I would be missing my family and friends and my usual life but I love adventures and new experiences.

Thanks to WHS I had a year of my lifetime and was able to achieve lots. I built some speakers in Woodwork, sewed my own prom dress in Fashion and Textile Design and got a lot of knowledge in Photography, Hospitality and Electronics. I would never have done all those things in Germany.

When I came to New Zealand my English was not bad but not perfect and now I can just talk as fast as German and it´s so much fun being able to communicate with Kiwis and teachers like in Germany.

I went on heaps of trips with school and privately. The first trip was the ski trip to Mount Ruapehu. It was amazing being able to ski and snowboard on a volcano. I did some other trips around the North and South island with lovely friends I met at Welly High. It was an amazing time I will never forget. Then I went on a trip to Nepal. As a part of the New Zealand experience probably the best trip in my life. I went trekking for 8 days. Every day about 5 hours of walking. It might sound crazy but I really enjoyed it. Thanks to Mr Pancha and all the people I met on the Nepal trip 2012. You guys are amazing! It was an honour to be part of the group and getting to know everyone. Thanks for an incredible experience that was so different compared to Germany and New Zealand. I am glad I was able to see the beautiful mountains, lakes, cities with buddhism and hinduism as local religions. I still can’t really believe we actually did the trek up to 3193m in Poon Hill.

Thanks Wellington and Wellington High! You made my year enjoyable. It gave me so much and I’ll miss you all!


Mein Name ist Laura Weber und bin 16 Jahre alt.

Ich komme aus Wunsiedel in Bayern (Franken) in Deutschland. Wunsiedel ist viel kleiner als Wellington, weshalb es sehr aufregend für mich war für ein Jahr, ein Jahr voller spannender Ereignisse und Erfahrungen, in die Hauptstadt Neuseelands zu ziehen. Wellington ist anfangs sehr groß und besitzt trotzdem noch den gewissen Charme, sodass man sich hier zu Hause fühlen kann.

Meine Schwester hat vor 3 Jahren auch die Wellington High besucht und als sie zurückkam und mir von ihren ganzen Erlebnissen erzählt hat, hatte sie mich schon dafür begeistert. Als ich dann alt genug war hab ich zuerst eine Liste mit Vor- und Nachteilen erstellt, wobei mir viel mehr Vor wie Nachteile eingefallen sind. Natürlich war mir klar, dass ich meine Familie, Freunde und mein gewöhnliches Leben vermissen werde aber ich liebe Abenteuer und neue Erfahrungen.

Danke an WHS dafür, dass mein Jahr so gut verlaufen ist und ich so viel erreichen konnte. Es wurde mir ermöglicht, selbst Lautsprecher aus Holz nach meinem eigenem Design anzu fertigen und mein Abschluss Ballkleid selbst zu nähen. Außerdem wurde mir einiges an Wissen in den Bereichen der Fotografie, Elektronik und Hospitality vermittelt. All diese Aktivitäten hätte ich nie in Deutschland gemacht und ich bin sicher, dass ich in zu Hause meine Fähigkeiten selbstständig in diesen Bereichen weiter entwickeln kann.

Als ich nach Neuseeland gekommen bin, war mein Englisch zwar nicht zu schlecht aber jetzt, nach einem Jahr, hat es sich um einiges verbessert. Es macht sehr viel Spaß mit Kiwis und Lehrern sich flüssig unterhalten zu können. Ich bin auf einige Trips gefahren. Der erste war der Skitrip zum Mount Ruhapehu. Es war einmalig auf einem Vulkan Ski zu fahren und zu Snowboarden. Ich habe auch die Nord- und Südinsel Neuseelands mit Freunden, die ich an der Schule kennengelernt hatte, bereist. Es war eine unvergessliche Zeit. Im April bin ich dann über Hong Kong nach Nepal geflogen. Dies war wahrscheinlich als Teil von Neuseeland der beste Trip meines Lebens. Ein ganz großes Danke an alle Teilnehmer des Nepaltrips 2012 und an Mr Pancha und unsere nepali Freunde. Ihr seid einzigartig! Es war mir eine große Ehre teil der Reisegruppe zu sein und euch alle so gut kennenzulernen. Nach einigen Tagen in Hong Kong, Kathmandu und Pokhara sind wir für 8 Tage wandern gegangen mit ca. 5 stunden Laufzeit täglich. Es mag jetzt vielleicht verrückt klingen, aber ich habe es sehr genossen. Danke für die unglaubliche Erfahrung. Ich bin sehr glücklich, dass ich die Schönheit der Berge, Seen und Städte sehen durfte. Ich kann es immer noch nicht glauben, dass wir es auf 3193m bei Poon Hill geschafft haben.

Ein herzliches Dankeschön an Wellington und Wellington High School! Dieses Jahr hat mir so viel gegeben und ich werde euch alle vermissen.

Christoph Schwintowski – Berlin, Germany

My name is Christoph Schwintowski, I am German, basically Bavarian, but I now live in Berlin. I started my lovely time at Wellington High School in New Zealand in July 2011.

So far I have been given a lot from both the country and the school. I have travelled to the greatest places here in the North Island with the teachers and other students, both international and Kiwi. My English has also improved a lot from when I was first in New Zealand. 

The school system in Wellington is really different from the one at my school back in Germany.   We only have 5 hours of school every day and the variety of subjects over here is much bigger.  We do more school trips and the relations between student and teachers are more relaxed.  One of the many really positive things I find about  WHS is that everyone is accepted as an individual person.  The teachers are really nice and that provides a good atmosphere at Wellington High School.  I also find it handy that I don’t have to wear a school uniform here.
The opportunity to continue participating in the sports I enjoy has been given to me by both my host family and the school. I went to a snowboard competition as a Wellington High School representative and also attended the school ski trip to Mount Ruapehu. This year I’m going to be part of the Year 13 handball team. I have also done surf lifesaving training to become a lifeguard at the beach. 

To be able to afford my hobbies and trips here in New Zealand, I decided to get a job and now I work part time in a shop. The international staff at school helped me to get a visa for this. All in all Wellington High School is a great place to spend a year, get more life experience and improve your English. I have enjoyed my year so far and recommend it to other people.


Mein Name ist Christoph Schwintowski.  Ich bin Deutscher und genauer gesagt Bayer, aber wohne in Berlin.

Ich habe meine wunderschoene Zeit an der Wellington High School im Juli 2011 begonnen.  Bis jetzt wurde mir schon viel von Schule und Land mitgegeben.

Ich bin mit Lehrern, Schuelern, sowohl Kiwi als auch internationale, zu den grossartigsten Plaetzen auf der Nordinsel gereist.
Mein Englisch hat sich von der Zeit an, als ich  nach Neuseeland kam um einiges verbessert.
Das Schulsystem ist sehr unterschiedlich zu dem meiner Schule in Deutschland.  Wir haben jeden Tag nur 5 Stunden Unterricht und die Auswahl an Faechern ist viel umfangreicher.  Wir machen mehr Schulausfluege und die Beziehung zwischen Schuelern und Lehrern ist viel entspannter.  Eine von den vielen positiven Sachen, die ich ueber die WHS sagen kann, ist die, dass jeder als Individuum akzeptiert wird.   Die Lehrer sind sehr nett und das spiegelt sich auch in der Schulatmosphere der Wellington High School wieder.  Ich finde es ausserdem sehr angenehm keine Schuluniform tragen zu muessen.

Die Moeglichkeit die Sportarten welche mir Spass machen weiterzufuehren, wurde mir von Gastfamilie und Schule gegeben.  Ich bin zu einem Snowboard Event als Vertreter der Wellington High School gefahren und habe auch an einer Skifahrt teilgenommen.
Dieses Jahr werde ich ein Teil des Year 13 Handball-teams sein.  Ich habe ausserdem die Ausbildung zum Rettungsschwimmer gemacht. 
Um mir meine Hobbys und Ausfluege hier in Neuseeland leisten zu koennen, habe ich mich dazu entschieden,  einen Job zu bekommen und arbeite jetzt sogar halbtags in einem Shop.  Die Mitarbeiter des  International Bueros haben mir geholfen ein Visum dafuer zu bekommen. 
Alles in allem ist die Wellington High School ein grossartiger Ort um ein Jahr zu verbringen, mehr Lebenserfahrung zu bekommen und sein Englisch zu verbessern.  Soweit habe ich mein Jahr genossen und kann es nur weiterempfehlen diese Erfahrung zu machen.

Moritz Rehbein – Kiel, Germany

Hi, my name is Moritz and I am an exchange student from Germany – I came to New Zealand to improve my English. About one and a half years ago I had the idea to participate as an exchange student. The countries I first were interested in were Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But my decision to choose New Zealand was quick because of some points: “ New Zealand has the most amazing countryside, the people are kind and relaxed, and of course one point was that New Zealand is so far away from my country”.

At the beginning I didn’t know what to expect about my homestay. My host mother picked me up with her two children at the airport, they are 12 and 7 years old. They drove home with me and there I met my host father and my host brother who also was an exchange student. The household of my NZ family is not like my family in Germany. It’s more an “easy going” household. When I started to spend the first hours alone in my room I started to think about everything that I had left behind. That is the reason why I started to feel homesick, but my host mother helped me with this feeling. I feel really happy with my homestay family, I learnt from them to stand on my own feet, I can do whatever I want to do.

The New Zealand school system is pretty different from the German one. First of all, the biggest difference is the size of the classes, in Germany there are about 30 students in a class, which means that the teachers don’t have time to focus on individual students. My first impression of Wellington High School was that school is very easy and not as strict as my school in Germany. I had some problems with the language when I first came to school, I wasn’t able to understand the Kiwi accent and I also was in trouble with my treasury of words. Therefore I didn’t get in the classes that I was supposed to. However everyone in my classes was relaxed and kind.

The food in New Zealand is not so different to the food in Germany. The food I eat with my homestay family is excellent. It is different to what I eat in Germany. At my homestay every night I eat a freshly cooked and healthy dinner. In Germany I often had take away food or just bread for dinner or we would often go to restaurants.

The Kiwis are very kind and helpful people. If I had problems in school with the exercises I was supposed to do I just had to ask my classmates for help. In town when I get lost everybody was kind and tried to give me direction.

The countryside of New Zealand is the most amazing one in the whole world. It is not really possible to compare it with Germany. To try as a European to describe the countryside of New Zealand you would say that New Zealand has landscape like Ireland, Norway and Scotland, and the European Alps. But to compare the countryside of New Zealand so easily with the European one is not fair for the Kiwis, because the landscape here is so unique.

Eva Neuwirth – Ammersee, Bavaria

I liked New Zealand so much, I stayed.

My name is Eva and I’m from Germany. I was meant to spend 6 months at Wellington High School, but ended up staying for a year and a half, sitting the final exams at the end of it. I ended up staying longer because I loved the friendly atmosphere and the people in New Zealand. I am pictured here with my host family – I have dark hair. The first day I arrived at school I didn’t know anyone and could speak hardly any English. Nevertheless I was welcomed by the other students and managed to make friends and pick up the language quickly.
The things I enjoyed about WHS the most were the openness of the teachers and the many different cultures who spent their days studying together. I
learned to appreciate the different backgrounds that the people at my school came from. At the same time I was pushed out of my comfort-zone and learned how to get used to being independent and responsible for everything I did. I always felt that the staff at school did everything they could to help me do well and support me in every possible way.
I believe that my time in New Zealand taught me many life skills that I could not have learned back in Germany and I am grateful for the time I had there and the lovely people I got to spend time with. I would happily recommend an exchange to WHS to anyone who is considering it, and would do it again any time!
Go Wellington High School!

Eva did extraordinarily well in the national examinations achieving a scholarship in Art History –the highest award national – in her last year. Eva went on to do a B.A in Psychology at Victoria University, became a resident of New Zealand and is now studying Medicine at Ulm University in Germany. She spent last month volunteering in Ecuador.

Felix Helmert – Triebes

My Time in New Zealand Hey my name is Felix Helmert and I’m from Triebes, Thuringia, Germany. When I decided to do an exchange year, my first choice was to go to the U.S, but that was cancelled, so I chose New Zealand. My decision was an easy one because I wanted to go to an English speaking country and I wanted to go as far away as possible to have some new experiences. So, New Zealand was the perfect option. Now, because I’ve been here for 7 months, the Kiwi life and Kiwi culture seems normal to me, however, I can remember when I first came here, and all the new things (e.g. the wooden houses, the different school system, different food…) I had to deal with every day were challenging. But, now everything seems normal and I enjoy everyday (more and more) and I know that this year in New Zealand has been one of the best times in my life. For sure, I didn’t spend all my time at school. I have travelled around New Zealand and I visited Australia. My new friends from other countries travelled with me and of course we had a lot of fun. I will not forget anyone of them, or any experience we had together. Besides these trips, school was so different compared to Germany. In Germany the subject choices are very restrictive, whereas here I had free choice of subjects. Also, the style of teaching is very different; you quickly get to know that you are not learning for anybody else but yourself. I would really recommend an exchange year to anybody, and especially to Wellington High School. I can promise you, if you come here you can enjoy the “sunny-side of life” for one year, like I did! I will never forget anything or anyone. I can just say, thanks New Zealand, and thanks Wellington High School for the great time!

Daniel Polak – Blankenbach

Daniel Polak At the beginning of the first term, when I was scrolling through the wide range of subjects offered at Wellington High, I found Information Science on the list, which sounded pretty interesting to me. I remember the first periods of Mr Brannigan’s Information Science class as quite boring. The topics treated were particularly dry. Learning Java, a programming language, from scratch is like learning English – every beginning is hard. For the first ½ of the first term, we had to go through all the learning processes, but fairly quickly I got the hang of it and it became more and more exciting. Only 2 weeks later, I had some amazing results, such as a program, giving out sound over the PC speakers of a certain frequency, given by the user. This usually sounded horrible, especially the high pitch noises, but it was a hell of lot fun for all of us, mucking around with it. Right from the beginning of term I knew that the class will soon start a big project that needs to be submitted by the end of the year. Being aware of the fact that I’ll be leaving half way through the year and not being able to finish the project, I was almost about to drop the subject. One I was trying to find a program for Mathematics that can plot graphs. As I found hardly any good results on the web, I decided to make it my task for the remaining time to build a program, plotting mathematical functions.

After having introduced my new idea to my INS teacher, I started building a Graphical User Interface, which is the design of an application including all the buttons, frames, sliders and much, much more. When that was finished, which took about 3 weeks – and I did work at home as well – I carried on with the harder part, the function parser. Without going into too many details, a parser is way of evaluating a mathematical function. When I had finished this massive step, which most probably involved the most time, I had to deal with stuff like scaling and rendering problems and finally I was able to plot my first graphs on the screen-what an exciting moment after almost 2 months of hard work. Many improvements had to be done, since the first compiled version of my function plotter, until sometime in May when I introduced it to the Principal of Wellington High School, Prue Kelly. Using a smart board and a projector I was able to show the full power of my application in high quality and with amazing results on the big projection. The smart board enabled me to simply move the cursor, by dragging my fingers over the board. What a technology!!! Finally I created my own webpage to publish my program, called FXPlotter, on one of the school servers. The webpage can be found under the Since the end of March, when I started writing my code, I have developed some really good programming skills, and full of enthusiasm I’ll be able to go back to Germany, knowing I have achieved something I would have never been able to do without the help of Wellington High. …..No question Information science was the perfect choice for me… Daniel was awarded a Silver Crest Award by the Royal Society for his work.

Lisa Siebers – Braunschweig and Marie Bőlke – Nickenich

Lisa Siebers - Braunschweig and Marie Bolke - NickenichFun Times In New Zealand

We had a great time at Wellington High School, and during our time here, we had the opportunity to travel around New Zealand. With the school we went on a tramping trip to the Volcanic Plateau in Tongariro National Park, and with other International friends from Germany, Vietnam and Brazil, we went on a tour of the North Island.
In Tongariro National park we hiked up the volcano Mt Ngauruhoe, saw steaming pools and stayed in the tramping huts very close to active volcanoes. We rested after the hike in natural hot water springs.
On our tour of the North Island we first flew to Auckland where we visited the Skytower, and got a great view of the city from the top of One Tree Hill.

After that, we went to Pahia, and enjoyed the Bay of Islands by doing a boat trip. From there we visited Cape Reinga, and swam at the beach. It was amazing. The next stop from there was 90 Miles Beach.
The highlight of our trip was Hamilton; we spent a lot of money for the one night we stayed there but it was worth it because we got to know this beautiful city.
On our way home we went to Rotorua where we visited the geysers and a Maori village. It was really interesting, impressive and expensive to see a bit of New Zealand’s traditional culture, especially the Haka. It’s a pity that it was just made for tourist, for example, the moko were not real.

We finished our trip at Lake Taupo, where we went to see the Huka Falls and we took a lot of beautiful pictures of them and ourselves.

February 2008-April 2008