Student Learning

At Victoria, we want to ensure that our international students have all the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their study. We know that education environments differ and that some international students will be facing new study challenges and opportunities. Therefore, we offer a range of programmes to help international students understand the expectations of Victoria's teachers as well as ways to meet those expectations. Most of these programmes also provide the opportunity to meet new people and have some fun on campus. Come to as many of these programmes as you like. We look forward to meeting you.

These programmes are mostly held in the Student Learning Seminar Room, Kirk Building, Kelburn.

Preparation for Academic Life and Study (PALS)

PALS is a programme designed for international students and students from non-English speaking backgrounds. The programme will introduce you to the learning environment and culture at Victoria University and help you to understand the requirements for successful academic study.

PALS is available in trimester one and trimester two. The programme starts from week one of the trimesters. You can come to all sessions, or you can select those that are useful for you.

Topic Day Date Time
Get started with academic life and study



6 March

17 July

Research, writing and using the library



13 March

24 July

Academic integrity



20 March

31 July

Summarising and paraphrasing



27 March

7 August

Improving your English



24 April

14 August


For more information, phone 04-463 5999

ExcelL Cross-cultural Communication Programme

ExcelL, or Excellence in Experiential Learning and Leadership, helps international and migrant students be successful in their host culture. As international and migrant students, you may have sometimes found it difficult to talk to your Kiwi classmates or lecturers. You may have experienced misunderstanding even though you thought you made yourself clear. You may have also felt frustrated because you didn't know how to say 'no' to someone. If any of this experience applies, you may find ExcelL extremely useful.

Students say:

"I was really confident afterwards."

"It gave me a lot of new friends and enthusiasm for conversation with new people."

"After I studied this course I don't feel nervous, I feel happy. I got the skills to talk to people."

"It's fun, interesting and practical."

"I wish I can participate in this programme when I first came to New Zealand. It is very useful for new international students."

Come along to this exciting programme. Click here to check out the current schedule.

For more information, phone 04-463 5999 or contact: Karen Commons -

Academic Speaking

Many courses require students to participate in discussions or give a presentation in front of a class. However, some international students lack confidence to speak in such group settings, especially if English is not their first language. This 4-week programme introduces you to public speaking in academic contexts. It offers you opportunities to practise oral presentation skills and help to build your confidence to speak up in group discussions.

The programme covers:

  • the context and the audience

  • structure of oral presentations

  • use of powerpoint

  • non-verbal communication

  • dealing with questions

  • other topics such as tutorial or group presentation (as requested by students).

The programme starts in the second week of trimester one and two. Registration is essential. To sign up, click here or contact Kirsten Reid -

Postgraduate sessions:

  Day Date Time
Trimester 1 4 Wednesdays from 11 March 3.10-4pm
4 Wednesdays from 29 April 3.10-4pm
Trimester 2 4 Wednesdays from 22 July 3.10-4pm

Undergraduate sessions:

  Day Date Time
Trimester 1 4 Wednesdays from 11 March 12noon-12.50pm
4 Wednesdays from 29 April 12noon-12.50pm
Trimester 2 4 Wednesdays from 22 July 12noon-12.50pm
Conversation Programme

Often international students tell us that, having completed their studies, they wish they had worked harder on perfecting their English. One of the best ways to improve English is to talk to native speakers. This will also help you achieve academic success. Come along to Conversation and practise your English with friendly Kiwi students.

Day Time
Tuesdays 3.10-4pm

"I've become more confident when speaking English."

"I learned a few things about the Kiwi culture and picked up some tips about how to talk to NZers."

The programme starts in the second week of trimesters one and two.

Grammar Workshops

These weekly workshops offer students, particularly international students, a chance to discuss common grammar and punctuation issues. In the first half of each workshop you can ask any questions about grammar and punctuation. In the second half of the workshop you will do practice exercises relating to these topics:

  • Writing clear sentences

  • Punctuation

  • Subject/Verb agreement

  • Verbs 1 (getting your tenses correct)

  • Verbs 2 (tenses for academic writing)

  • Articles: a, an, the

  • Relative clauses: which, that, who

This workshop is free of charge, and you do not need to register. Simply come to -

Day Time
Thursdays 12-12.50noon
Thursdays 3.10-4pm

For enquires, contact SLSS by phone 04-463 5999 or by email