Gap Year Study Experience

Study for one or two trimesters at our world-class university located in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Many people say their first year of university was one of the best years of their lives. New friends are made and there are countless opportunities to learn more about your academic strengths and interests. Imagine experiencing all of this and more in a new country – you’ll be living life to its fullest!

At the University of Waikato, enjoy the typical ‘kiwi’ first year student experience. Live in one of our fully-catered halls of residence, choose from hundreds of 100 level papers (courses), and participate in fun university-organised adventures.

During your time at Waikato, you’ll be able to explore New Zealand and learn why millions of people visit each year!  Arguably one of the biggest perks of our central Hamilton location is the city’s proximity to many of New Zealand’s top destinations. Visit one of the world’s best surf beaches, Raglan, in a 40 minute drive, or the tourism and cultural hub of Rotorua in 80 minutes. Hamilton is home to an abundance of parks, cafes and restaurants, and we have a number of hiking trails on our doorstep.


Our university stands proudly on the world stage as a provider of future-focused, international education and an active player in global research. Our rankings reflect these strengths. We focus on providing students with practical experience that easily translates from the classroom into the workforce.

Choose from hundreds of papers taught at the 100 level, perfect for beginning your university studies.  All 100 level papers are open and available to Waikato University First Year Experience students.

A typical course load is 4 papers/trimester.  For each paper, you’ll have both lectures and a tutorial session, a small discussion-based class where you have the opportunity to get to know your tutor and classmates

Student life

Our campus culture is friendly and relaxed and with students from over 80 different countries, there’s always an opportunity to learn more about a new culture. Your Waikato international student experience begins with our international orientation, which includes a spine-tingling haka (war dance) performance. During orientation, you'll have the opportunity to join student clubs and the International Buddy Programme, learn more about volunteering in the Waikato community, and sign up for international student trips such as Hobbiton or the golden sand beaches of Coromandel.

Our dedicated International Student Services team go above and beyond to welcome and support international students. They’re always available to advise on topics such as academics, visas, and cultural adjustment.


Living in the halls of residence is a great way to make new friends and be integrated into kiwi culture. There are three fully-catered halls to choose from and each is located on campus meaning it’s a short walk to class. You won’t need to worry about grocery shopping or cooking leaving more time for study, seeing friends, and exploring.

College Hall

Our largest hall and most recently renovated, College Hall has modern lounges on each floor for study and leisure. It’s close to the faculties of Management, Education and Law. Enjoy access to sports courts and a swimming pool.

Bryant Hall

Join Waikato’s smallest hall and experience a welcoming community of residents and staff. Bryant Hall is close to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, UniRec gym, Student Centre and Village Green.

Student Village

Live together in a group of six meaning your group becomes like your family while you’re in the hall. Student Village is a great place to form lasting friendships. It is located near the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, UniRec gym, Student Centre and Village Green.


The Gap Year Student Experience students pay a flat fee of NZ $12,875 per trimester.

This includes:

  • Tuition (100 level papers; up to 60 credit points/semester)
  • Student Fees
  • Transcript
  • Auckland airport pick-up

The fee does not include insurance, accommodation, student trips, textbooks, or other living costs.

Please Note: All international students are required by New Zealand law to purchase student health insurance.


Gap Year Student Experience students must:

  • Be at least 18 years old at time of enrolment
  • Live in one of the fully-catered residence halls (Bryant Hall, Student Village, or College Hall)
  • Enrol in a minimum of 45 and maximum of 60 credit points at the 100 level
  • Meet university entry requirements both for academics and English language


Our online application process is easy and straightforward.  We require an application form, academic records, paper selection form, proof of English proficiency, and passport copy.  There is no cost to complete the application.

Application Deadlines:

1 December: A trimester (February – June)
1 May: B trimester (July – November)

Apply now

Contact Us

Study Abroad and Exchange – International Office
Email: [email protected]
Phone : +64 7 837 9405

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