Why International students choose WHS

Whanganui High School's International Department has about 65 international students (maximum 5% of the school roll) who take part in the school's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programme. Our students come from a variety of countries including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil, Pacific Islands, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Norway and the Peoples Republic of China.

International students select Whanganui High School for their education when they want to be away from the distractions of the big cities and concentrate on learning English and studying to qualify for university. Whanganui High School limits the number of students from any one country so that students can have more opportunities to speak English.

All our international students are placed in homestays (which have been visited and assessed by Whanganui High School in advance), as this means they are speaking English all day and they have parents to look after them and care for them. The international student becomes a member of the family.

The homestay fees cover all food and living expenses. Each student has their own bedroom and there are no other students in the same homestay who speak the same language.

Whanganui High School's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programme prepares students for the IELTS examinations so they qualify for entry into any university.

Code of Practice

Whanganui High School has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students published by the Ministry of Education. Copies of the Code are available on request from this institution or from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website at: . 

You may also be able to find a copy of the Code of Practice in your language at this link 

Details of our refund policy, insurance and immigration requirements and conditions of acceptance are to be found on our International Application Form.


WHS International Facebook Page

To view our WHS International Students Facebook Page - Click Here

The Team

Director of International Students

Mrs Alexandra Ferretti

Mrs Alexandra Ferretti

Mrs Alexandra Ferretti is the Director of Whanganui High School's International Department and a teacher of Spanish, French and ESOL.  She has worked at Whanganui High School since 2003 and was Dean for three years before becoming Director of International. 

She believes that if the students are safe and happy, then success will follow both academically and personally.  Having had experience as a student in another country and lived in many different countries, she understands the difficulties students can sometimes experience.  She travels overseas frequently to meet agents and parents of her students at Whanganui High School.

Dean of International Students

Mrs Lee Su'a

Lee Su'a took over the position of International Dean in July 2017. Lee is responsible for the pastoral and general well-being of al the International Students.  Her teaching career started in 1991 where she worked in a bi-lingual school here in Whanganui.   She then travelled to the United Kingdom where she taught in a school with predominantly ESL students and studied for her certificate in TESOL.  Since returning to Whanganui she has continued to study and more recently, has been teaching Junior Science and ESL.

Lee is an enthusiastic and creative teacher and has this to say to her International Students -

"As a student at Whanganui High School you will see a lot of me.  I will be there celebrating your successes and ensuring your time in New Zealand is safe and positive.  My door is always open and I am looking forward to meeting you soon."

International Administrator

Mrs Tonia Hoobin

Mrs Tonia Hoobin

Mrs Tonia Hoobin or Tonia as the students call her is responsible for administration and helping students with insurance claims and visas.  She is usually the first person to receive and respond to emails.

Homestay Coordinator

Mrs Sarah Crook

Mrs Sarah Crook

Mrs Sarah Crook is the homestay coordinator.  Sarah emigrated to New Zealand from the United Kingdom, so she knows what it is like to settle into a new country. She is responsible for matching students to homestays and supporting the homestay parents.

Term Dates

All students are expected to be in Whanganui before the term starts.

International students can start at the beginning of any term.

  • Term 1 2019

    Start Dates

    • Monday 28 January 
      Year 9 and Year 13 students, and new students from all other year levels.

    • Tuesday 29 January 
      All year levels.

    End Date

    • Friday 12 April
  • Term 2 2019

    Start Date

    • Monday 29 April

    End Date

    • Friday 5 July
  • Term 3 2019

    Start Date

    • Monday 22 July

    End Date

    • Friday 27 September
  • Term 4 2019

    Start Date

    • Monday 14 October

    End Dates

    • Year 11: to be confirmed
    • Year 12 & 13: to be confirmed
    • Year 9 & 10: to be confirmed
  • Public Holidays 2019

    The school will be closed on all public holidays. 
    Parents will be notified if students are not required at school for any extraordinary reason.

    • Waitangi Day - Wednesday 6 February
    • Good Friday - Friday 19 April  (within school holidays)
    • Easter Monday - Monday 22 April  (within school holidays)
    • Anzac Day - Thursday 25 April (within school holidays)
    • Queen's Birthday - Monday 3 June
    • Labour Day - Monday 28 October