University of Canterbury

Why choose University of Canterbury?

The University of Canterbury was established in 1873 and is New Zealand’s second oldest university. Their globally recognized programs aim to foster critical thinking and professional excellence across many disciplines and UC graduates can be found in top jobs and graduate schools all over the world. UC also offers you the chance to take your learning beyond the classroom and gain real world experience, through service learning, internship courses and New Zealand’s most extensive network of field stations for field science.


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Yes, I recommend this program

UC, clubs reign king and make uni life great.

Attending University of Canterbury is one of the best experiences I've ever had. They make it so easy to integrate into the university life with clubs. The clubs accept exchange students with open arms. The clubs make it fun. There are over 100 clubs to chose from with a wide variety of subject matter.
Also the prefect school for the outdoor enthusiast. Skiing isn't in your backyard but it's only 2 hours away. It's accessible and many other students are trying to go. On top of that surfing is so so so close. fly fishing is exceptional. Te backpacking opportunities within a 8 hour drive are limitless.
Its a smallish campus so its easy to make. friends and see them around. The only this is often the friends that are made re other exchange students because the accommodation is segmented into kiwi students and students from abroad. This is a blessing an a curse. It makes it a streamlined experience, but loses some of the authenticity.
Honestly the academics are fine. nothing to brag about and there are so many options of classes its great. Nothing to complain about.
Overall great experience! Go to UC!

What would you improve about this program?
More opportunities to live somewhere off campus or maybe in another hall. Being stuck in the place with all the other exchange students often only allows relationships to form with others who are abroad.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

University of Canterbury New Zealand

My time in New Zealand was absolutely incredible and the University of Canterbury had a large part in making my experience amazing. The staff is incredibly kind and helpful. I struggled with making my schedule for class and I had so many students and staff offer to help me. The housing is great and right by campus. The housing offered a great community of individuals and allowed me to make great connections and friends. The campus is gorgeous and has an amazing Rec Center which I used almost everyday. The classes at Canterbury are wonderful, I learned so much! There was great opportunity to travel around New Zealand. Overall, the opportunities I experienced in New Zealand were spectacular thanks to the wonderful university I was apart of.

What would you improve about this program?
Overall, I was highly satisfied with the program. At times, the Wifi was unreliable in the apartments, but IT services did a great job at helping people when there was a problem.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Explore what nature has to offer (and study too!)

My semester at the University of Canterbury was absolutely one of the best choices I ever made. I didn't know much about New Zealand before I left, but once I got there I definitely felt as if I was living in a fairytale land full of new places to explore. The academics were challenging for me since the school system was very different from the one I had experienced in the USA. The most interesting part about this was that I had fewer homework assignments, more time for studying, and consequently more time to dedicate to exploring the country. This is even encouraged by professors and everyone I talked to about studying abroad in New Zealand. It's so easy to explore the south island when you're located in Christchurch. Most locations are close by and can be driven to for a quick weekend getaway or the longer spring/fall break trip. Plus, you only have to be 18 to rent a car which makes trips like these easy to plan. Besides driving, you can also take the bus anywhere. My favourite parts of the country were those that you had to backpack in to get to see them. I had never been backpacking before despite growing up in Colorado, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to experience this through the CUTC (tramping club) at UC. They have lot of trips planned every weekend and even have gear you can rent. This makes it easy for even beginners like me to try out tramping. Overall I would definitely recommend studying here for the hands-on curriculum and the beautiful scenery that surrounds the city.

What would you improve about this program?
I only wish that the student housing would have had an oven. It was difficult to get used to only having a microwave and stove!
Yes, I recommend this program

Best school in NZ

As a French student I come from far away. They welcome me very well. Everybody care about your success in UC. They have lots of clubs where you can meet lots of people to practice your english. People are very nice with international people. At the beginning it is not easy to follow the courses but teacher are very comprehensive. And I rapidly improve my confidence when I speak english. I recommocanded the study abroad program of the University of Canterbury.

Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful experience

As a french student this country is really far from everything I know But at the university of canterbury you will be sure that you will live one of your best experience in your whole life. Courses are really interesting and the country is beautiful and wild. Morever many people in the international services at University of Canterbury will take care of you and are here to answer your questions.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I love skiing more than anything, honestly. This was an great opportunity to combine an amazing academic experience and my passion. Twenty months of winter straight sounded fun to me. Not only that but it was a highly rated academic school with a strong presence of exchange students. Seemed like he perfect place for me.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I did most of the stuff on my own. I had a lot of help with questions and such from my academic advisor, Claire, at Montana State, but I personally kept track of deadlines and such for most stuff. It wasn’t difficult by any degree. All the steps were straightforward. Not difficult at all. If you do need help, feel free to ask anyone! Everyone is here to support.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be outgoing. Go for every opportunity and be enthusiastic. Kiwi’s are like a coconut. They’re of a hard exterior, but once they open up, they can be the kindest people. Going for every opportunity will make the experience worthwhile. Also go out of your way to make friends who are natives. Try not to get stuck only being friends with other exchange students.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Oh gosh. There is no average week. It’s anything from skiing 4 days a week to going whitewater kayaking on a Tuesday. It’s a wild and fun experience with so many adventures. Sure, there we’re some times when school happened, but those are forgettable memories. It’s the times off campus that make this school special.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Honestly, my biggest fear was my ability to make meaningful and deep connections with new people. I quickly got over it when, on the first day of orientation, I met one of my lifelong friends. He made me instantly realize that the experience was going to be a good one. Other than that, I felt well prepared for the whole experience.

What are some of your favorite slang words?

I actually have a list, so here they are:
Yarn = a funny little chat
Can’t be bothered

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Anna Foster

Job Title
Study Abroad Manager
Anna Foster is a born and bred Kiwi from Christchurch. A graduate of the University of Canterbury (UC), she completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in French at UC before heading off to teach in France for a year. Having enjoyed her undergraduate studies at UC so much, the pull to return was strong and she went on to complete a Ph.D at UC, along with some teaching, before joining UC’s International Office. Anna has managed the University of Canterbury’s Study Abroad program for the past 12 years and loves seeing students get out and enjoy the spectacular South Island!

Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Anna: I lived abroad for a year after finishing my undergraduate degree, teaching English in a high school in the southeast of France.

It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time – having never traveled further afield than Australia prior to that, I’d managed to choose a destination about as far away from New Zealand as it was possible to get!

I remember arriving in Paris and wondering what I’d let myself in for, having lost my luggage en route, getting myself totally lost and eventually catching a ride into Paris in a huge truck with a driver who spoke no English but loved the All Blacks (the NZ rugby team) – not exactly the most glamorous arrival in Paris!

I was lucky to have the most fantastic French flatmate, who introduced me to her family, to French slang and to some amazing French food. My time abroad truly changed my life, taught me to embrace new experiences and made me passionate about travel and education abroad. For anyone thinking about studying abroad, I can only say it was a defining experience in my life and I absolutely encourage you to go for it!

What does the future hold for University of Canterbury - any exciting new programs to share?

Anna: UC’s experiential learning program is really popular and it’s exciting to see this continuing to grow! We’re very keen for our students to maximize their Study Abroad semester with opportunities to get beyond the classroom, really engage with the New Zealand community and gain some real world experience for their future career while studying abroad.

So in addition to a huge range of subject areas, students can also choose from for-credit courses such as CHCH 101 (a community engagement and service learning course) and PACE 295 (an internship course offering work experience with a New Zealand business or community organization).

UC also has the most extensive network of field stations in New Zealand, and many of our science courses offer the chance to get out and do field work in the South Island, which is truly one of the most spectacular natural environments in the world. There are plenty of opportunities to get hands on!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?​

Anna: One of our Study Abroad students from the US took our service learning and community engagement course, CHCH 101, as one of her courses while studying at Canterbury. On her return home to the US, her home town was struck by an EF4 tornado. She drew on the skills she had learned in her UC class to organize a campaign to mobilize relief supplies and fund raise for her community.

Her efforts were very successful and as a result she was invited back to Christchurch the following year to speak at a community engagement summit. It was fantastic to see her put into practice the skills she had learned while studying abroad and to hear her talking about what a difference the course had made to her life, and how it had empowered her to be proactive in her response.

What does your home-country's culture​ value that is taught in your program?

Anna: New Zealand has a culture like no other in the world, encompassing the rich indigenous Maori culture, and the many heritages of the peoples who’ve followed them . UC reflects the uniqueness and diversity of New Zealand culture with a huge range of courses with unique New Zealand content, from courses in New Zealand literature, history, politics, art and culture through to the study of Maori culture and language.

Courses in areas such as biology, geology and environmental sciences also study New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna, geology, biodiversity and marine life. There’s something with a New Zealand flavor to suit most interests, and it’s great if students can include some of these courses in their semester abroad, to really get a taste of the unique Kiwi experience!