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.



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.

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.”