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Lockdown Diwali brings light to Wintec international students

Colourful rangoli patterns in the shape of flowers and lamps.

Many Wintec international students celebrated Diwali at home this year. Chahat Jaiswal shares a photo of her rangoli patterns on the floor, a Diwali tradition for many who celebrate it. The rangoli represents the happiness, positivity and liveliness of a household, and is intended to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck.

Diwali, the festival of lights, is usually a celebration spent with family and friends. As one of the biggest and most beloved festivals celebrated in India, it’s a time where families drop sweets and gifts to friends’ houses, pray together, eat, and congregate to watch fireworks displays all evening.

For some of Wintec’s international students this year though, Diwali was spent in lockdown without their families, a starkly different experience for those that are used to the loud and colourful crowds the festival attracts.

For student Chahat Jaiswal however – rather than putting her off, it made her more determined to celebrate.

Jaiswal, who is in the final semester of a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Information Technology at Wintec Centre for Information Technology, is from the Punjab area in North India. She has been living away from home for seven years, so is used to spending Diwali away from her family.

“Diwali has taken on a new meaning for many us students who have left our country,” she says.

“Indians are very family-oriented people – they celebrate these festivals with family. When you’re on your own, you don’t put too much effort into Diwali because it takes a lot of work. I avoided celebrating myself over the seven years since I’ve been away from home.”

This year though, a challenge was put to international students on their Facebook group page, asking students to send through photos and stories of how they were celebrating Diwali at home under lockdown. So Jaiswal and her flatmates called their families, found the components needed for pooja (prayer), bought sweets and food from the market, and celebrated together.

“As we get older it makes sense and gets a different meaning – we can understand why it means so much to our parents,” she says.

Girish Nair, International Director, who is also from India, echoes Jeswal’s sentiments, observing that not being able to celebrate with family is hard for many tauira/students.

“Diwali is what Christmas is to New Zealanders,” says Nair.

“Being away from family is not easy and especially in these challenging times it must be even harder for some as events like these are all about families coming together to spend quality time. Nevertheless, Diwali signifies victory over darkness and I hope that very soon families will be able reunite,” he finishes.

Chahat Jeswal's pooja altar with gifts for Hindu deities.

Jaiswal shares an image of her pooja (prayer) set up at home. She’s one of several Indian students who celebrated Diwali, the festival of light, from home this year.

Jaiswal and her flatmates each come from different religious backgrounds including Hinduism, Sikhism, and mixtures of the two. Because Diwali is celebrated across many different religions in India, Jaiswal says “it’s not just about staying connected to gods or religions, but staying connected with family and friends.”

“I come from a Hindu background so me and my flatmates did pooja with guidance from my parents over the phone. They said ‘it’s okay even if you mess it up because you did what you could’. It’s a good experience for me and my flatmates too – we're all from diverse religious backgrounds but we’re in a generation where we follow different religions half way through and combine different aspects – I've grown up with Sikhism, Hinduism and Christianity,” Jaiswal says.

After pooja, Jaiswal and her friends ate kheer, an Indian rice pudding, which comes from Jaiswal’s family tradition, and malpua, which are sweet pancakes coated in a sugary syrup.

Although Jaiswal and her friends celebrated in their own way, she says that “for a lot of students it might be their first or second Diwali away from home and they might not want to celebrate it alone.”

“When I first moved away I was happy to talk to my family over the phone and hear what they were doing but I didn’t want to celebrate it by myself. But it’s important to slowly start incorporating these things into what we’re doing now, dressing up, making food and spending time with friends.”

Bachelor of Nursing student Ann Mary Roni, who is from the Kerala region of India, has a slightly different take on Diwali.

Roni is from a Christian faith so Diwali is not part of her religious background. Diwali is still important to her and her community back home however, highlighting the importance not of the individual’s religion, but of the importance of community and friendship.

“At home, our neighbourhood celebrates Diwali so we would help them, share sweets with them and light their lamps,” she says.

“In our community we have Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities and we would come together, go to each other's homes, sharing and caring.”

Roni says that it’s all about “spreading light and positive energy and for good fortune in the following year.”

Like Roni, Jaiswal says Diwali has a message that applies not just to Indian cultures, but is something that has meaning for everyone.

“A lot of different cultures have different ways of celebrating, but the idea behind it is similar for everyone. It’s about light overpowering darkness, and welcoming that light into our life and our family. We hope that light and brightness makes our life brighter and helps us to move forward.”


Read more about studying as an international student at Wintec.


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International Prospectus

The International Prospectus contains programmes we recommended for International Students. The Prospectus was current at the date of print. For current programme information, please refer to the programme web pages.

*Correct at time of print (October 2021)

Student Village

Only a five minute walk from the Wintec City Campus and downtown Hamilton, the Wintec Student Village offers a relaxed atmosphere, a pastoral care environment and a range of social and cultural activities through the year.

Bedrooms include a bed, study desk, cupboards and a wardrobe, with access to a phone, internet, kitchenette (excluding oven), separate toilet and shower. There is a shared full kitchen, TV lounge, games room and laundry.

Three main meals are provided on weekdays and two main meals on the weekend.

Student in village accommodation studying at desk

Wintec Apartments

Wintec Apartments offer a modern, self-catered style of accommodation situated in a three-level apartment complex building located on the Wintec City Campus. Wintec Apartments include four apartments per level, each containing 5 or 6 rooms, separate shower and toilet facilities, plus full kitchen and dining facilities.

Each level of the building offers a large common room/ study area, with shared laundry facilities and storage for bicycles and other large items available on the lower ground floor.

Services include access to a telephone for local calls and full access to high-speed wireless internet available free to students staying in the apartments. Security features include - swipe card access into your own apartment and into your individual room, sitewide CCTV, and Wintec security patrols.

Woman seated at desk using laptop in Student Apartment bedroom
Exterior photo of Student Apartments
Students hanging out together in apartment lounge


Homestay is where you stay with New Zealand families, in their homes. Our Homestay hosts are carefully selected for their kind and caring nature.

You will get to improve your English by talking to them; you will also be able to enjoy family activities, celebrations, religious practices, and sporting events.

When living in a homestay, the host will provide you with:

  • A clean, comfortable home with a happy and relaxed atmosphere
  • A furnished bedroom with a bed and comfortable mattress. A wardrobe or chest of drawers for clothing storage
  • A desk or small table with a chair and lamp for study
  • A heater (if required in winter)
  • Access to Wi-Fi
  • Access to kitchen facilities, laundry & ironing
  • Three meals a day, 7 days a week (includes lunch for school) and
    access to snack

Are you moving out of your homestay?

If you are thinking of leaving your homestay, click the button below for the check out form, what you need to do and a handy guide to help you transition.

Accommodation costs

Click the button below to find current fees and information about all the Wintec accommodation options.

Apply for accommodation

International students applying to live in Student Village, Wintec Apartments, or a Homestay, must follow the process below.

Please note: *Under the NZQA Code of Practice for the Care of International Students, Wintec requires all students who are under the age of 18 to be housed in the Wintec approved Student Village.

  1. Complete one of the application forms below:
  1. Answer ALL questions in this form and sign and date the form.
  2. Email the form to:
  3. Wintec will email to confirm we have received the application. Email us if you do not receive this email.
  4. A detailed confirmation email is sent once the accommodation is booked and confirmed.

Airport transfers

If you require an airport pickup to be arranged, please complete the form below and email to the international accommodation address below two weeks before you arrive in New Zealand. If your travel plans change, please immediately notify our accommodation team.

Our international accommodation email address is

All students aged under 18 must be collected by a Wintec assigned shuttle service and taken to their Wintec approved accommodation (unless other arrangements have been approved by Wintec).


Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, the user of the information agrees that the information is subject to change without notice. Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology) will not accept liability for any errors or omissions contained in this brochure nor for any subsequent actions that may arise as a consequence of decisions made based upon its contents.


Refund policy

By accepting a place in a programme or paying fees at Wintec, a student enters a contract with Wintec for the period of the programme.

The student is required to pay the fee for one year or the length of the programme (if less than one year). No refund will be given after the course or programme has commenced.

If there are insufficient numbers or enrolments, the programme may be cancelled and a refund will be given.

Click here for more information about refunds

Application process

1. Submit an application

If you are applying to study through an agent:

Apply to study at Wintec by completing an International Application Form

Please complete ALL sections of this form, attach the required verified documentation and sign and date the declaration at the end. As programmes are very popular, please apply early while spaces are still available.

Your agent will arrange for your completed application to be sent to Wintec.

If you are not applying through an agent please send your completed International Application Form and verified or notarised supporting documents to You can learn more about supporting documents here.

Alternatively, you can post a completed application form with supporting documents to:

Student Enrolment and Information Centre
Private Bag 3036
Waikato Mail Centre
Hamilton 3240
New Zealand


Please note: It is compulsory for all International Students to have appropriate and current Medical and Travel Insurance while studying in New Zealand. It is a Wintec requirement for International Students to be covered from the day the student leaves their home country to the expiry date of their Visa plus one week. Proof of current Medical and Travel Insurance is required before your enrolment can be finalised.


Now that you've applied to study at Wintec, here's what happens next:

Form in envelope

Receive your offer letter

Congratulations, you’ve been given an offer of placement. (If your offer is conditional, once the condition(s) of the Conditional Offer Letter are met, a new Unconditional Offer Letter will be issued to sign).


Sign offer

Sign the Acceptance Page of the Offer Letter, with all applicable boxes ticked and return to our Enrolment Team:



Take your offer letter to Immigration NZ to obtain your student visa approval in principle. Find your nearest Visa Application Centre.


Pay fees to Wintec

Note: A Fee Receipt cannot be issued until Wintec has receive an Acceptance Form, Payment of all applicable fees, The INZ Officers name, email address and your student’s INZ application number.

Tick box

Place confirmed

You will receive a Paid Offer Letter and programme induction information. You can find pre-departure information in the Wintec Orientation Handbook.

Airplane taking off

Travel plans

You’ll need to notify the Wintec Accommodation Officer of your accommodation requirements and travel plans by emailing:

Arrow pointed up

Accommodation and airport transfers

Our international centre team can arrange accommodation placements and airport pickup. There are four options for accommodation, home-stay (living with a family), hostel or flatting. Learn more about accommodation and airport transfers.

Airplane taking off

Arrive in New Zealand

Once you’ve arrived in New Zealand, visit Wintec and complete your enrolment at the Student Enrolment and Information Centre. See campus maps.

Entry requirements

English language requirements

All Wintec mainstream programmes have an English language requirement for students whose first language is not English.

TABLE for Internationally recognised English Proficiency Outcomes​

Concurrent programmes:
IELTS 5.5 with a minimum of 5.0 in all bands, or equivalent

Programmes level 4 and below:
IELTS 5.5  with a minimum of 5.0 in all bands, or equivalent

Programmes levels 5 to 7:
IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands, or equivalent

Programmes level 8 and above:
IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all bands, or equivalent

Additional requirements:
2 year validity period for all assessments. External bodies may influence some programme specific IELTS levels. You must provide evidence of your proficiency in the English language.

Gaokao Scores for 2021 enrolment

Click here

Academic entry requirements

Wintec has set minimum requirements for academic entry to programmes for International Students. 

The requirements are listed by country.


Visas, permits and immigration

All International students must hold a valid student visa for the duration of their studies.

Full details of visa requirements, advice on rights to employment in New Zealand while studying and reporting requirements are on the New Zealand Immigration Services website,

Visa renewal on campus

An online service for Student Visa Renewal is available for Wintec international students, in partnership with the New Zealand Immigration Service.

Wintec students can access this service by applying through the Student Enrolment and Information Centre on the Wintec City Campus.

Most students receive their Visa label within seven working days of applying. Students are able to retain their passports during the application period.

Click for more information.

Visa renewal through immigration

Medical and travel insurance

All International students enrolling with Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) (including group students) MUST have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while in New Zealand. Your insurance must cover you from the beginning of your studies until at least the expiry date of your student visa. This is a New Zealand Government requirement as outlined in the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students and under Immigration New Zealand policy.

You will be automatically enrolled into the Wintec insurance scheme and a policy charge will be added to your tuition fees invoice at your enrolment. Details of the Wintec insurance scheme may be found here​ . Students who have opted to purchase an alternative approved policy will have this charge removed when you have presented your policy to Wintec at the Student Enrolment and Information Centre.​

Meet the team

Student Support team

Karen Kemsley

Karen Kemsley

International Student Services Manager

Aaron Zhou

Aaron Zhou

International Student Services Advisor

Unmesha Veetil

Unmesha Veetil

International Student Services Advisor

Coco Xie

Coco Xie

International Student Activities and Events

Susan Ye

Susan Ye

International Student Services Advisor

Sally McGill

Sally McGill

International Accommodation Advisor

Business Development team

Tony O'Brien

Tony O'Brien

International Business Development Director

Diane Fountain

Diane Fountain

International Business Development Coordinator

Aubrey Midwed

Aubrey Medwid

Study Abroad, Scholarships, and Student Exchange

Market managers – student recruitment

Edward Park

Edward Park

International Market Director – Korea, Japan, South America, Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Pacific, and New Zealand onshore


Balraj Sharma

International Market Manager – South Asia: India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh


Graeme Rennie

International Market Manager – Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

International Centre

From the moment you arrive in New Zealand, our dedicated International Centre team is here to provide all the help and support you need. At Wintec, you will not be just another student at a tertiary institute, you will be an important part of a lively community learning with and about each other.

We can help you with your accommodation needs, getting you settled into your studies, emergency assistance and pastoral care.

We also organise events and activities throughout the year to make you feel at home and celebrate your cultural diversity.

Girish NairInternational Director
Market Managers - Student Recruitment 
Edward ParkInternational Market Director - Korea, Japan, South America, Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Pacific, and NZ onshore
Graeme RennieInternational Market Manager – Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia
Balraj SharmaInternational Market Manager – South Asia: India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh
Other AreasFor China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, please contact Tony O'Brien from the Business Development team
Student Services 
Karen KemsleyInternational Student Services Manager
Unmesha VeetilInternational Student Services Advisor
Aaron ZhouInternational Student Services Advisor
Susan YeInternational Student Services Advisor
Sally McGillSenior International Student Accommodation Advisor 
Coco XieInternational Events and Activities
Business Development 
Tony O'BrienInternational Business Development Director
Diane FountainInternational Business Development Coordinator
Aubrey MedwidStudy Abroad, Scholarships, and Student Exchange