NOLS Semester in New Zealand

Video and Photos


Join us for an exciting educational opportunity in a remarkable country. New Zealand's South Island is a varied region of alpine grasslands, snowfields, rain forests, rugged mountains, spectacular gorges, and broad valleys with unique birds and plants found nowhere else in the world, such as the only mountain parrot, the Kea.

For 77 days, you'll learn about the region's natural history and culture as you travel through the island's forests that contain remnants of Gondwanaland, a prehistoric continent. Along the way, you'll spend some time with the local Maori who will teach you about their culture and connection to the land.

Questions & Answers


based on 5 reviews
  • Housing 8.6
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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The best trip of my life

The semester that I spent with NOLS was by far the most meaningful, impactful trip that I've ever taken in my entire life. The students and instructors were great fun, the lessons were interesting, and the landscape was unreal. One of my fondest memories from my semester was watching the full moon rise on a cloudless night, while sitting in my kayak in the middle of Nydia Bay, singing Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" in my head, meanwhile our "pod" was surrounded by hundreds of glowing moon jellyfish.

How can this program be improved?
Already perfect the way it is
Yes, I recommend this program
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NOLS semester in New Zealand

Choosing the NOLS program was a decision that I will never regret and an opportunity that I am forever grateful for. This trip opened up my eyes and challenged every part of my being in the most unforgettable ways. From my inspiring instructors, the New Zealand terrain, to my fellow group members. It taught me how important communication is, how to be an authentic leader and how to persevere though the toughest of days. Sleeping under the stars almost every night and being completely unplugged in nature was only part of a trip of a lifetime. I would recommend this program/trip to anyone and everyone!

Yes, I recommend this program
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A life changing experience

The NOLS semester in New Zealand was an absolutely incredible trip. A group of nine students, including me, backpacked for 1 month, sea kayaked for 1 month, and sailed for 2 weeks. We had fabulous instructors who outdoors enthusiasts, and great role models for all of the life skills that we learned on out course.
I woke up everyday, knowing that I was going to be challenged. But as I became more familiar with my group and closer with my instructors, I no longer doubted my ability to find success in each day.
I use the skills that I learned on NOLS every day, and I know that I will carry all that I learned for the rest of my life.
I am so grateful to my instructors, the New Zealand branch, and the NOLS organization for changing my life in the best way possible. I could not imagine a place that I could grow and mature more than on a NOLS course.

How can this program be improved?
Have rooms for students to sleep in at the NZ branch
Yes, I recommend this program
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best days of my life

Every day was amazing but my favorite moments were at the end of a long day everyone sat together and cooked dinner while we talked and laughed away the hours. The instructors were always helpful in a comically unhelpful way responding "what do you think" whenever we posed a question to them. It really made us think things through and made things both funny and frustrating.

How can this program be improved?
Longer sailing section and more food
Yes, I recommend this program
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NOLS New Zealand Fall Semester

Easily one of the most influential experiences of my life. Personal growth through conflict resolution, communication, and a shared outdoor experience. There is no classroom like the wilderness, no setting better than New Zealand, and (almost) no instructors like NOLS instructors.

Yes, I recommend this program


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About NOLS

NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that will help you step forward boldly as a leader.

We believe that anyone can be a leader; it's our role to provide the environment and training to help you discover your full potential. We do that in...