Staying Active in Winter

Winter didn’t stop a group of Campbell students from learning to surf for the very first time recently. It was one of many outdoor activities that students can do on the weekends while studying English at our campus in Auckland. At our Wellington campus, we encourage students to stay active with biweekly yoga classes, after-class and weekend Campbell Activities, including a windsurfing lesson with Marito Nunes, a windsurfer and a Campbell student from Chile.


In New Zealand, you are never more than 130 kilometres from the sea. It is easy to find the ultimate surf spot. Knowing this, Pierre and Agathe from France, Paola from Colombia, and Benjamin from Chile chose to drive to Muriwai beach to give surf a try. “It was really funny because it was everyone’s first time trying to stand on a surfboard,” shared Pierre. “We were so happy to be able to learn how to surf in New Zealand. We even enjoyed the windy drive to Muriwai – the landscape is beautiful.”

Dubbed the City of Sails, Auckland offers 29,000 kilometres of coastline with hundreds of beaches – from idyllic white-sand beaches to wild black-sand ones. The city is lively yet relaxing, with good weather and friendly people. Pierre always encouraged new students coming every week from different places to “not be shy and enjoy yourselves. Make you sure join in the activities like surfing because your time here is quick and the farewell will be hard.”


Marito Nunes chose windy Wellington to study English so he can windsurf whenever he wants. Marito was more than happy when Campbell Activities coordinator asked him to teach a group of Campbell students how to windsurf – an extreme sport that he has been practicing since he was 15 years old.

One weekend in June the group went to a lake in Porirua Harbour, located 21 kilometres north of Wellington. “The lake is perfect for beginners, with calm and shallow waters,” said Marito who was a Campbell Upper-Intermediate student.

“Marito taught us well. By the end of the lesson everyone has made a remarkable progress,” said a Campbell student from Germany, Philipp Gühr, who considered windsurfing as one of his favourite Campbell Activities.


How to Ace Your Cambridge Exam

Johanna Lübbers came to New Zealand to escape winter in Germany – more than 24 weeks later she returned home with a Grade A (C2) result on her Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Discover the examination techniques and strategies she learned from her study at Campbell’s Auckland campus.



Johanna spent 6 months in Auckland taking part in Campbell’s Demi Au Pair programme, paired with 12 weeks of part-time General English course in the mornings.

To overcome her lack of confidence in speaking English, she found “speaking with like-minded people and learning vocabulary for specific situations, especially in discussions, was very useful.” Johanna also credited extra speaking practice at Campbell and using the language every day for her success in achieving the necessary level of fluency.

Johanna was kind enough to share with us her recipe for passing the Cambridge English Language Assessment examination with flying colours:

Get feedback and act on it – try to write at least one or two exam tasks a week, and kindly ask your teacher to give you feedback. Campbell has workshops, which are 15-minute one-to-one lessons where you can get individual help with your writing and speaking. After you get feedback, try the same task again so that you can apply your teacher’s advice or corrections and try to improve your writing or speaking.

Try out past exam papers – Campbell has a range of exam practice materials, which you are welcome to use any time.

Manage your time – make a study plan, and try to find a balance across the language skills. For example, set aside Monday for focusing on reading; then on Tuesday, switch to listening, and so on. You need to develop stamina and habits that match those you will need during the exam.


When asked whether she enjoyed her time in New Zealand, Johanna answered: “Definitely! The beginning was hard to be honest… but once I had settled in I had a great time travelling and doing activities with the other students or my host family. Eventually, I was very sad when I had to leave.” 

Now Johanna is ready to start her urban planning studies at a university in October 2017, equipped with her exemplary Cambridge exam result that would be useful for a semester abroad or a future job.

Good luck on your Cambridge exam!


Vibrant Multicultural Auckland

Many ethnic groups from all corners of the world have a presence in Auckland, making it New Zealand’s most cosmopolitan city. Europeans make up the majority of Auckland’s population, however substantial numbers of Māori, Pacific Islander and Asian peoples exist as well. According to Rough Guide to New Zealand, Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world.

Pasifika FestivalThe iconic Pasifika Festival, also known as Pasifika, celebrated its 25th birthday in 2017. With free entry, it is the largest Pacific Islands-themed festival in the world, and attracts over 60,000 visitors every year.

Western Springs Park in Auckland transformed into 11 villages representing different Pacific Islands. Each village has a distinctly different vibe. From the peaceful setting of the Niue and Tuvalu villages, Hawaii’s smokey BBQ delights to the Aotearoa, Cook Island and Samoa villages for their renowned stage performances.

A group of Campbell students didn’t want to miss all the fun and went to Pasifika as part of their weekend activity. Yeny Paola Rivera Vargas, one of our Colombian students, wrote about her experience:

Pasifika Festival is an event where many people of different nationalities join together to experience Pacific culture. All of the performances were wonderful. The performers dressed in traditional costume and the music made me think of Hawaii! Everyone was so happy and kind. There were different activities for all ages. The food was delicious and the crafts were beautiful. Crafts included crowns made from flowers, necklaces, and earrings.

Class dinnerRichelle Hewin, our teacher and Director of Studies at Campbell’s Auckland campus, shared a story of how class dinners in Auckland started:

The idea came about in a lesson when we were discussing culture and habits around food and drinking. We realised just how many interesting and diverse behaviours there were for eating in each others’ countries, and what better way to explore them further than to actually eat and drink. We just had to decide where!

We are spoilt for choice in Auckland. It is such a multicultural city that it is virtually possible to find cuisine from any corner of the world. So, being a democratic class, a vote was held. Mexican was the eventual winner, with South Korean a close second.

For one of us, it was the first time to ever try Mexican food, and although several of us had eaten Mexican before, it was still plenty of fun to order unfamiliar dishes and taste new things.

The highlight of the night was the chance to get to know each other better outside the classroom. Our two Argentinean classmates – Marcia and Polo – taught us a few Spanish phrases, but it was great to chat in English and feel relaxed. We all agreed that another class dinner next month is a must-do. The only difficulty will be deciding where to go!


Staff Corner – Paul Bean

In February 2017 we welcomed Paul Bean, our new Activity Coordinator to Campbell. Paul is from the UK but has been travelling around the world for the past five years and has lived in France, Portugal, the USA, Australia and now New Zealand. He has worked as an Activity Director on board cruise ships and for a large UK-based language school so he brings lots of experience and ideas to the role.


In just one month, Paul has hit the ground running – making Campbell students more active with weekend activities, such as bush walks and kayaking, on top of Campbell’s regular English-based activities. He even started a running club, which is aligned with Campbell’s new health and wellbeing strategy.

Campbell Activities

We sat down with Paul in between his busy schedule planning and delivering a wide range of activities.

How’s your first weeks in Campbell been?

Campbell students are fantastic. I am fortunate to get to know them outside of the teaching environment and learn about their backgrounds and stories. Everyone I’ve met has a great personality, positive attitude and they really do make me love what I do and appreciate the diversity of the world.

How do you see Campbell Activities benefiting students’ English learning process?

The activities at Campbell have a huge benefit to their English learning because they are able to use English in more practical and social settings. As a native speaker, I have great respect to all students who are taking the time to learn the English language because without it we would not be able to communicate.


Why should prospective students come to Wellington?

If you are looking to study in a fun and vibrant city while building great friendships with people from all over the world, then Wellington is the place for you. With its beautiful landscape, picturesque harbour and an endless amount of events and activities happening in the city (not to mention the best coffee I’ve ever had!), it is no wonder that Wellington is such a popular destination for all. Come and join the fun!

And did we mention that he now has mastered the art of taking selfies with Campbell students and an animal or two during our visit to the Wellington Zoo?


To see the latest images from our weekly activities, visit Campbell’s Facebook page


Demi Au Pair Programme – What to Expect

Four of Campbell’s demi au pair students share their experiences and wisdom about travelling to New Zealand to study and work while living with a Kiwi family. (Click on their names below.)

Demi Au Pair – (Derived from French – Demi = ‘half’ / Au Pair = ‘equal to’. English pronunciation: /oʊˈpɛər/) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, demi au pairs work part-time, up to 20 hours a week, to take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance for personal use as well as free food, accommodation and transport costs to school and back.

Jennifer Franz

Jenny is only 23 years old when she visits New Zealand for the third time. She first came after she graduated high school in Germany and spent seven months in New Zealand as a demi au pair.

Unfortunately, Jenny wasn’t very lucky with her first family. She had a discussion with Cathy, Campbell Auckland’s demi au pair coordinator, who took her problems seriously. “I know I was very lucky with my change of family. It was quick and easy. Cathy was a great help!”

If you want to be a demi au pair, Jenny has some advice for you: “I really think the most important thing is that you are open-minded. Just go with it and try everything. It makes it much easier for you and also your host family.” Already having some experience with children is necessary, in her opinion, as well as having a certain level of English. “You need to be able to communicate with the children. They have to listen to you and understand what you want to tell them. And also join the family! If they go somewhere and invite you – go for it. By doing that, you will learn much more about the culture and the Kiwi way of life.”

Jenny’s second family was so great that she is now back in New Zealand to visit them – for the second time. “I really like my host family and I just love the two girls.” New Zealand has become her second home and is very special to her. “I had an amazing time here. I met many great people, with many of whom I am still in touch with. I traveled a lot. I saw so much cool stuff. I just love the flora and fauna. And I also learned quite a lot here, New Zealand and my time here kind of changed me. It made me stronger, I got more confident, independent and also more mature.”

For Jenny, the time she spent in New Zealand was awesome. “I can’t even put into words what New Zealand means to me. It’s just something really special and amazing. It’s the thing you can only do once in a lifetime.”

Written by Melanie Andre, a Campbell Advanced student, who started her English course in January 2017 and had a chance to interview our returning demi au pair Jennifer Franz and write about Jenny’s experience as part of a class project.

Amaranta Aguilar

Being in the demi au pair programme was a new experience for me. The advantages for me were living in another country, to get to know the culture, improve my English and stay with a host family.

If you are interested in being a demi au pair, you must do your research about the country, the weather, and the things you can do in your free time, etc.

But the most important research is about the family and kids you’ll take care of. Ask many questions about everything, because you are going to live with them for a while, you have to be prepared for the change, be flexible with an open mind and be tolerant of new things, because sometimes the differences between countries create a culture shock. Also caring for children sometimes takes more time than you think.

But that doesn’t mean you always stay at home. That’s why you have days off and free hours to enjoy your stay in New Zealand!


Leonie Atteneder

The great advantage of going abroad and staying with a Kiwi family as their demi au pair is having someone who introduces you to this completely new culture. Arriving in a country 20,000 km away from home and knowing somebody is waiting to show you around and wanting you to be part of their family is one of the best feelings. After some time the children will have adapted to you and soon you will appreciate all the little things, like receiving a picture they painted as a way of expressing their love towards you.

But on the other hand, there are some major disadvantages you have to take into consideration before applying for a job as a demi au pair. Living with an unknown family brings up some problems, such as a different eating culture or the usage of bathroom. You need to keep in mind that this new house you are living in isn’t yours and a family shares their most intimate place with you. Perhaps you won’t be able to go out as often as you wish, have to clean up after other people even though it’s not your ‘working time‘.

It’s not easy to live and work in the same place and you should be aware of this fact before choosing this way of staying in a foreign country.

To finalise my decision of coming to New Zealand, I interviewed a friend who completed a similar programme through the same agency. She advised me to stay as long as possible in this beautiful country and additionally, she recommended Campbell as one of the best language schools she’s ever been to. With this knowledge, I felt safe choosing Wellington as the destination for my gap year and I don’t regret my decision to come here as a demi au pair at any point.


Maurine Mabillard

For me the biggest advantage of being a demi au pair is to be part of a family. It helps reduce the stress of going to another country, so far away from my own country, with a different culture, different habits etc.

Being in a family can help you to get to know more about the differences between your home country and where you might want to stay for a long time.

Personally, I can talk to my family if I have a question or a problem and they can help me. You can’t really feel homesick because you are never really alone. Your family will probably ask you to join them in their activities.

The disadvantage of being a demi au pair is that you only have limited free time. It’s because you work and live in the same place so sometimes it’s difficult to know when you have to work and when it’s time off. However, you also want to pass time with your family because you want to be friends with them, and not just finish your work and go out with your own friends or stay in your bedroom. For me, the most difficult thing is to find a balance between your own time and time you share with your family.

To discover more about the demi au pair programme, read Mario’s experience through his blog post, images and #wellymyway video and visit the demi au pair page.


Keeping Campbell Healthy and Well

Campbell has developed a Health and Well-being Strategy for 2017 and has been rolling out a number of activities and workshops for students and staff.

The running club kicked off with a sunset jog along Oriental Parade in Wellington in early March and joins our sweat of healthy activities, such as bush walks and yoga. The latter proved so popular we are now holding two sessions per week after classes at our Wellington campus.

Healthy activities

Disaster readiness is also a focus of our Health and Well-being strategy. At our Auckland campus, the upper-intermediate and advanced classes undertook a project to create the ideal Emergency Survival Kits (ESK) for our school, as well as New Zealand homes. The project aims to raise awareness of emergency survival strategy in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.


Two of the students involved, Coraline Amador and Melanie Andre, wrote about their project:

We divided our class into four groups: Food, Water, Emergency Items and Logistics. In the first instance, we brainstormed, discussing the elemental questions of what we need, as well as what to consider in terms of storage, preservation and amount. The next step was researching to ascertain whether our ideas were realistic, what cost to expect and based on that, we could estimate a budget. During this process, some ideas got overruled such as whether biscuits were suitable because of the low energy given and the short expiration date, or if containers were more efficient than bottles to store water.

Each group then proposed their ideas to the Campbell Management Team who have taken on board their suggestions for improvement of the emergency processes and survival kits.

Some of the steps we have taken including:

  • Establishing a Health and Safety Committee to set up programmes in regards to hazard and risk management, emergency management, and injury management among other topics
  • Appointing and providing regular training for our first aid officers and emergency wardens
  • Updating our hazard registers
  • Ensuring there is at least one first aid kit on each floor
  • Conducting trimonthly fire and earthquake drills
  • Regularly testing fire alarms within our premises
  • Making our campuses as safe and secure as possible for our students, staff and visitors


Our trip to Kapiti Island – a native bird sanctuary

Photo credit: Shihying Huang (Mickey)

Campbell students visited Kapiti Island as one of the weekend activities in January 2017. To make sure our students get to view a range of New Zealand’s most endangered and rare birds, our activity coordinator booked in advance for the trip to anticipate the limited number of visitors allowed on the island.


Kapiti is a small island off the coast of Wellington and can be reached by car or train, followed by a 30-minute boat trip from Paraparaumu Beach.

Kapiti Island is the summit of a submerged mountain range created by earthquakes 200 million years ago. In the early 1800s whaling trade was a major part of Kapiti Island. In 1897 the government acquired most of the island for the purpose of protecting its natural heritage. Now predator-free, Kapiti is an important bird sanctuary.

“My favorite part of the trip was obviously the wild birds, in particular the weka, which was like a turkey and was not afraid of humans and very cheeky. You needed to watch your backpack because they are looking to steal food from it,” shared one of the students Yiming Li. They also had encounters with Bellbird, Tui, the North Island Robin and Kereru (New Zealand’s native pigeon).


“Kapiti Island is a very interesting place,” added Li. Back in the days farming and trading led to deforestation, “but now the government is restoring the trees, so you can see the process of regeneration. We also learned something about the culture and history of the island.”

Campbell students had the unique opportunity of sharing lunch with a Māori family, the Barretts, who have been living on Kapiti Island since the 1820s. The Barretts offer the only accommodation on the island so visitors can spend a night and hopefully spot one of the 1200 Little Spotted Kiwi birds in their native habitat.

Plan your trip to Kapiti Island. More information is available here


Exploring Wellington Harbour’s predator-free island

On a Saturday in January 2017 I explored a small island in the middle of Wellington Harbour with two other Campbell students. I was excited to explore the predator-free scientific reserve with many roles in New Zealand’s history, including a quarantine station, a military outpost and now a wildlife refuge.


It wasn’t hard to reach Matiu/Somes Island. We took the East by West ferry from Queens Wharf on the Wellington Waterfront. The trip only took 30 minutes, and the view along the ride was nice.

When we arrived on the island, a ranger took us through the biosecurity checks to prevent unwanted plants and insects arriving on the island. After a short introduction to the island, we went tramping around the island. Despite the cloudy weather on that day, Matiu/Somes Island offered us a change of scenery with its wonderful landscapes and allowed us to meet plenty of animals including the protected kākāriki (parrot), tuatara (one of the most ancient dinosaurs left on earth), as well as a few sheep.

It was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend visiting Matiu/Somes Island for a day trip to students and tourists who are interested in natural environments. There’s no charge to explore the island – you would only have to pay for the return ferry trip. Totally worth it!

Clara Moschetti and friends

Clara Moschetti is a Campbell student and intern in early 2017. She came to New Zealand from Lyon, France, and she likes to spend her free time riding horses, taking photos and discovering new places.

More information on Matiu/Somes Island can be found here. In 2016 Sir Peter Jackson looked set to work on a joint tourism project to digitally tell the Māori history of Wellington on Matiu/Somes Island – more on the hi-tech plan is available here


Top Spots in Wellington

as recommended by our Upper-Intermediate students
upper-int-picWellington is New Zealand’s capital city and is located in the heart of New Zealand. It is also the home of NZ’s world-famous movie industry. Sitting on a stunning natural harbour and surrounded by lush green hills, Wellington is a beautiful, vibrant and cosmopolitan city and region.

Let’s Go for a Ride Up the Cable Car

by Ninja Bergmann

Are you one of those people who prefer to have an overview of the whole town but you do not like to be exhausted? Then the cable car is for you! The cable car is located in Lambton Quay, which is about 10 minute from the Campbell Institute by foot and runs every 10 minutes up and downhill. If you have a student card it costs just two dollars.


Enjoy your tour with the cable car and you will be surrounded by an overwhelming lightshow in the tunnel. On the summit you could take a deep breath, relax and take in the breathtaking view over Wellington.

Te Papa - All About New Zealand

by Eva Chen

The first time you come to New Zealand, how can you have a general idea about this vibrant country? Spending 2 or 3 hours, even a whole day in Te Papa Museum, you will find the answer.

There you can discover tens of thousands of native animal specimens. The biggest specimen of squid, which is larger than a human, is the most famous.

Also, on the 4th floor is a typical Maori house. It is called Marae, and it is a place where you can encounter each other or have meeting.


However, this Marae is not traditional, but much more modern. You can go into the Marae without taking off your shoes and do your own Whakapapa, which means the genealogy of your family. You can choose rubbings to represent who you are and where you can stand and belong.

If you were like me, who have never been in an earthquake, please also go and experience the shaking in the quake room on level 1.

A Must Do for Nature Fans (Red Rocks Walk)

by Lea Stahl

A great walk through New Zealand’s natural environment to see the interesting Red Rocks. The walk is 8km long on the South Coast of Wellington and you need about 2 – 3 hours. Note that it also takes some time to get there by bus. An option is to take number 1 to Island Bay to the last station.


Walk on the coast about 30 minutes to begin the Red Rocks Walk. If you have the possibility to go there in winter, do it because you could see seals. The best thing – it’s free (only the bus costs a few dollars).

'The Task of Art Today is to Bring Chaos Into Order' - Theodor Adomo

by Melanie Schroff

So if you are a contemporary art lover, you should definitely go to Te Papa museum on Level 4, and it is free!

You can find art installations, many photographs, collages, videos and more.


There are also some activities, to help you to understand the artist’s work.

It is also a good place to see Kiwi artist’s works.

Personally, I really enjoyed that place and could spend hours discovering the art works, because guess what – it is open every day!

Each Door Hides Something...

by Mathilde Goffart

Do you like to buy candles and discover their attractive perfume?

Hiding in the lanes of Wellington is a lovely little candle factory where you can buy many different items made out of wax.

This local factory offers to show them being fabricated. You can see the secrets of the work, and, at the same time, admire the work as it happens.


Encourage the local shops instead of big industries. They have a lot to offer, you just have to open some discreet doors.

Cuba Street - The Heaven of Young

by Eva Chen

If you want to know the most lively place in Wellington, you have to go to Cuba Street. There are lots of cafes, op-shops, boutique and bars.


You can go there to watch the most popular Kiwi sport—rugby, and have a few drinks.

Especially, on the weekends at night, when there are New Zealand National rugby team, the All Blacks test games with other counties, all the bars are full and young people catch up there to watch the TV live broadcast and enjoy their leisure time.

All Kiwis are quite friendly, so feel free to talk with them and learn more about New Zealand.

La Bella Italia: A Little Piece of Italy in Wellington

by Marco Sandri

If you like Italian food, pizza or breakfast in a friendly environment you must try “La Bella Italia” restaurant.

The place is vast and is open every day from morning to evening (on Monday and Tuesday it opens only during the day). The restaurant is in Petone and you can get there on the motorway. If you don’t have a car you can get the train (the restaurant is very close to Petone’s Railway station).


The place offers a large variety of dishes and wines, and you can also buy original Italian products to bring home. It is not a cheap restaurant because a lot of wines, meats and cheeses are imported from Italy, but for this reason you can try the very taste of Italian cuisine.

In my opinion it is the best place to celebrate particular events like birthdays, anniversaries or public holidays (I suggest you book a table for Christmas day!) because I think that to eat a delicious dish of pasta with a glass of Barbera is one of the most beautiful things in the world!

Te Papa Tongarewa

by Nathan Dachy

Hi travellers – here’s my first blog to share with you.

I’m in Wellington, and I’ve had time to discover a few top spots here!

Nope, there’s no spelling mistakes in “TE PAPA TONGAREWA”. It means, in Maori language, “container of treasures“. Here you can find many of New Zealand’s interesting treasures.


There are 6 floors and each one has its own special presentation. The first floor has a wonderful exhibition “Gallipoli – the scale of our war” which explains New Zealand’s involvement in World War I.

Inside there are plenty of huge realistic figures, all made by WETA Cave.

This exposition will be open until April 2019. This is totally free and very easy to access (even for handicapped). If you have time, when you finish Gallipoli, then turn right to the New Zealand native animals section to have a look around.

The NZ Pop-up Sauna - 'A Warm Place to Share'

by Audrey Moreno

The NZ Pop-Up Sauna is a warm place to share on Wellington waterfront, next to the Jump Platform on Taranaki Wharf. You just have to bring your togs and spend a great moment with friends and family. It is only $8 for one hour and you don’t need to book. Just keep in your mind that those under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.


The NZ Pop-Up Sauna is only open in spring and summer until 11 December. You can go there and have fun on Monday-Saturday 6-10 pm and on Sunday 2-10 pm. It also takes private bookings for groups outside of open hours (it costs $80 / hour).

Do you still want to know more about the coolest little capital in the world? Click on the image below for videos about Wellington.

Wellington Playlist


Joy – What I think of Campbell High School Programmes

Meet Joy from Papua, Indonesia. She first studied at Campbell in December 2015 for our High School Preparation course and returned in October 2016 with a group of friends from Newlands College for the High School Holiday course. The two-week course allows students to focus on English skills for a short intense period during their high school holiday

Studying at a New Zealand high school can be challenging. Joy finds it helpful to spend her holidays at Campbell to improve her English. “My speaking skills have improved. Talking to other students at Campbell taught me not to be shy when I’m in front of people. It helps to improve my presentation skills and get me ready for exams at Newlands College,” Joy said.

Joily Yappen came to New Zealand in 2015. “It was hard at first. I was missing my parents. I was crying,” said Joy. The support of her homestay mother and her parents back in Indonesia helped her warm up to being away from home. “I love New Zealand because it’s different from other countries. People here are very helpful and kind,” Joy

“I like the teachers who teach at Campbell. I still remember my teacher Mrs. Kate. She is very funny and energetic. I remember when she was describing a grammar rule through a dance. It was very interesting,” said Joy. “Campbell has helped me to interact with other students and now I have friends from other countries like Taiwan, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Korea and the list goes on.”