Frequently Asked Questions


1. What are the entry requirements for Marlborough Girls’ College?

There is no level of English required. Students must send their last school report and an English translation.

2. Can I enrol at any time in the year?

Yes – However, it is best to enrol for the start of a term. You can arrive during a term if it suits your travel plans. Students arriving after Term 3 cannot sit our NCEA exams for that year. Term 4 is not a good term to enter the school if you are a senior student. Our senior students have exams for the last 4 weeks of the year and spend much of Term 4 going over the year’s work.

3. Does Marlborough Girls’ College offer special English classes for international students?

Yes – English or ESL classes are offered for all international students at different levels of ability. All these classes are small in number and focus on speaking, listening, vocabulary, reading and writing.

4. Is ESL tuition included in the tuition fee?

Yes there is no further payment required for English tuition.

5. Do I have to wear a uniform?

Yes – All students attending Marlborough Girls' College must wear a uniform from Year 9 to Year 13. Click here to learn more. Link to the uniform page

6. Will someone help me choose my subjects and what happens if I want to change them?

Yes – You will receive help with your subject choice during your orientation when you first arrive at Marlborough Girls' College. You will also be able to change subjects within the first two weeks if you feel you would prefer a different subject.

7. What if I am not happy in my homestay?

Our Homestay Coordinator works to place you in the best family. However we do not always get this right. If we find you really are not suited to your family we will change your homestay. Your happiness and welfare are important to us.

8. What can I do when I am studying in Blenheim?

There is plenty to do apart from study!

There are many sports and music activities in the school. You can attend the school dances, get involved in a large theatre production, learn an instrument, and join one of the school choirs or jazz band. We also have public speaking competitions or you could join our environmental group.

There are many sports to choose from. Students find that playing sports is a good way of getting to know local students and involving themselves in a wider range of activities. Term 1 is the best arrival time to ensure access to a team. Access to individual sports depends on the season e.g. Volleybal and Tennis are played in summer, Terms 1 & 4. Netball and football is played in winter, Terms 2 & 3. For competitive teams students need to arrive when teams are being selected.

International students have a lot of fun in the town and the region. Blenheim itself has many nice cafes / restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and theatre, shops, parks, walkways and markets.

There are many outdoor activities to experience. There is the award winning Queen Charlotte Walk and Marlborough Sounds, Nelson Lakes district, Pelorus River, to name but a few. There are many groups who organise exciting outdoor adventures for international and New Zealand students, church Youth Groups, and music, theatre, sports and clubs to choose from.

9. What is the weather like?

Blenheim has one of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand. It is protected from the country's prevailing winds by the surrounding mountain ranges. There are four distinct seasons: a hot, dry summer peaking in February, a cooler autumn, a clear and crisp winter, and then a milder, moister spring.

The sun is very strong in New Zealand so you will need to use a sun screen to protect your skin, especially during spring and summer. New Zealand homes have fires, heaters and electric blankets to make winter a pleasant time.

For more information on New Zealand climate and weather click here.

10. What is the food like in New Zealand?

Supermarkets in New Zealand sell a wide range of fresh produce and specialty foods. There are also specialty stores available that sell foods and items from a range of countries overseas.  Most major supermarkets sell organic, gluten free and other specialist foods. 

There are a large variety of cafes and restaurants in Blenheim and the surrounding region. You can get Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Italian food as well as New Zealand specialities. When you want fast food you can buy McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, sushi or fish and chips.

11. Can I learn to drive while studying at Marlborough Girls' College?

You can learn to drive during your 18th year with an approved driving instructor. However, it is a condition of enrolment at Marlborough Girls' College that no student drives or owns a car.

12. What happens if my parents want to take me out of school to travel with them while they are in New Zealand?

Your parents will need to write a letter to the Principal, Ms Stewart, explaining the reason and dates for this leave. This must be done at least 5 days in advance.

To assist parents an International Student leave application click on the form Travel Permission Form. Please download and complete and return to International Office. Please note that email does not suffice as under NZQA and Code of Practice regulations a parent signature must be provided.

13. Could I study subjects at more than one level?  

Yes. We encourage students to study subjects at the level most suited to their ability and previous studies. For example, International Students may be capable of doing mathematics at a level ahead of their other subjects, as mathematics involves less language than most other subjects.

14. Do I have to sit exams?

No –Our national exams are provided if you want but there is no requirement. Students who study at Marlborough Girls' College for a year often do not sit exams. If you plan to go to university then you should sit NCEA examinations.

15. What can I do if I am unhappy or dissatisfied with any aspect of my education?

Students who have concerns about any aspects of their education should immediately speak to the International Student Dean. If the problem is not resolved at this stage the student should discuss the concern with the Principal who is responsible for International Students.

International Students who are not satisfied by the service that they receive from Marlborough Girls' College can contact the independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Goverment - iStudent Complaints.  Information is available at their website iStudent.  

16. Am I able to work while on a student visa?

New Zealand Visa regulations state that Year 12 and 13 International Students may apply to work up to 20 hours in any given week. All students who wish to work must submit the following documents to the International Student Dean:

  • A completed Application for Variation of Conditions form (NZIS)
  • A letter from your parents giving permission to work