University of Otago

University of Otago

Why choose University of Otago?

Find Study Abroad programs at the University of Otago - New Zealand's First University! Located in Australasia's true College city with the best access to New Zealand's beautiful scenery.



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Yes, I recommend this program

100/10 The Best Choice I Ever Made

I started at Otago as a study abroad student from USA in 2023 and loved it so much that I transferred to a full degree! This is seriously the best decision I ever made. I have made the best friends here and I am so thankful for this opportunity! I met New Zealand friends straight away and became best friends with my Kiwi host in Uniflats! Living in uniflats really made my study abroad experience because it connected me with so many people. It is such a unique feature that not many other universities offer. Through uniflats, I immediately made friends with like 15 other abroad students and we hung out all semester! It was awesome meeting people from all over the world, one of my best friends was from Hungry! It's been so amazing getting to experience other cultures, it's truly eye-opening. There are so many activities to do that are so close to the University! The beach is 15 minutes away, there are so many hiking trails, and tons of clubs you can join! There's a snow sports club that goes on trips every weekend to ski and snowboard and you can decide which ones you want to attend! The transportation is SO easy. You can get to so many places using the intercity buses and it's very comfortable and affordable. I've used it like 5 times already to go to Queenstown and Christchurch! It's so crazy beautiful here, you have to come!

  • Easy Transportation Options
  • Very Freindly People
  • Accepting Culture
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Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Trip in Dunedin

I’m so pleased to have such an opportunity coming here. Everything here is amazing and seems like quite different experience for me!

The university of Otago is so big, students with multi-background gathered here, campus here is beautiful, Gothic architecture looks cool.
I visited the building for the business school and enjoy the extraordinary view on the 9th floor.

We had two guides helping us know the campus ,that’s pretty nice and thank them for their kindly help.

By the way, my homestay here is amazing, they are so so so nice, and it’s my great honor to meet them!!!!!!!

Thank for the great chance and I have fantastic time here. I will always keep the memories here!!!!!

I’m sure I’ll come back again soon!
Thank you all the way.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Life in NZ

i m here for a two-week exchange programme from ShangHai. This is my first time visiting Dunedin. My home stay family is very considerate.They drop me off and pick me up everyday and also cook for me Chinese food.I spent 5 days working in a lab to help them build a frame of a two-wheel car.The professor and student here are really nice to me,very patient.The life here is quite different from the life in ShangHai. Most of the people in ShangHai live under high pressure but the people here in Dunedin seems to be more relax in their daily life.The scenery here is amazing as well and i think Dunedin is one of the most beautiful city in the world.The habor,Baldwin street,St Clair Beach all impressed me a lot. I would strongly recommend this programme to my friends when i go back to China.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
i could see wild animal everywhere downtown in the city
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Yes, I recommend this program

Splendid Experience with the University of Otago in Dunedin

We are very lucky to have the opportunity to spend two weeks in the beautiful Dunedin and visit the University of Otago.This program offered us excellent condition so that we can fully experience the local customs and sceneries.Although it is cold winter in Dunedin now,but we still feel extremely warm because of the warm hospitality of the local people.Also we spent time participating in professional activities and that is good for our career planning.
Walking in the beautiful campus of the University of Otago,we can see the hardware facility is really good so that students at here can pour full attention into acadamic.And after taking few classes in the university ,the friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere also impressed me a lot,no matter to visitors or study.Everyone is patient to guide us.
All in all,we were able to exchange the cultures with our friends in New Zealand and make contributions to the friendship of our two countries.

What was your funniest moment?
One day my host mom drove her car to take me look around the campus, and I was totally impressed by the beautiful sceneries and full-of-vigor people. Cute sea birds walked straight towards me under crystal sunshine and wind blew on my face piercingly, but I did not feel cold at all,because eveything here is so magical and attractive to me. This moment will curve in my brain forever.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Internship Experience in University of Otago

I'm a junior student of Fudan University who lives in Shanghai, China. This year I was luckily chosen to be one of the 12 winners of the Dunedin Mayor Scholarship, so I have an opportunity to go abroad to Dunedin and have an internship at the International Office of University of Otago.
On the first day, we visited on campus and the scenery was very beautiful. The University of Otago has a very long history. On the campus, majestic and exquisite ancient buildings can be seen everywhere.
Then I went to the international office of the University of Otago to have an internship. The colleagues there were very friendly and carefully taught me how to work. I have a good communication with them. The internship there is very pleasant and I do learn a lot from that.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
work as an intern in a foreign country and meet lots of friendly colleagues there.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I talked to a ton of people about their experiences abroad, and while everyone had nothing but great things to say about Europe and Australia, no one had been to New Zealand! When I saw that my school offered an exchange with Otago, I knew that was where I wanted to go. Dunedin had a small, college town vibe, which was completely opposite from the metropolitan city vibe of my university.

New Zealand is well-known for their picturesque landscape, which was a great selling point for me! I have always loved skiing, and over the years, I was blown away by the pictures taken by my favorite skiers when they visited in New Zealand. I wanted the opportunity to explore all of the beauty it had to offer!

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

My university provided me with the basic information about studying abroad, but I was tasked with applying to the university and searching for classes and getting them approved by my university.

The University of Otago set up housing for all of the study abroad students. We were placed in houses with other foreign students and one New Zealand student (AKA "kiwi host") to help with our transition!

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

New Zealand was my greatest adventure. Don't be afraid to take risks! Take a trek on one of the Great Walks, throw yourself off a bridge with a bungee strapped to your feet, drive on the wrong side of the road! Make friends with the Kiwis that live next door or the ones in your classes, because they are awesome people.

Explore the country, but don't forget about Dunedin. There are some amazing places right in your backyard.

I got to walk through botanical gardens just to go to the grocery store! The time you spend there will never be enough, so say yes to as much as you can.

Bring warm clothes! Dunedin is pretty far south and coastal, so while the summers are pleasant 80-85 degrees, winters can be very cold (it can even snow). Also, New Zealand homes lack insulation and do not have central heating, so your jackets, sleeping bag, and heated mattress pad will be your best friends.

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

Most people have class Monday to Thursday. You might utilize your three day weekends to explore this beautiful country, or you might spend it with friends in Dunedin.

Weekend activities ranged from nights out in downtown Dunedin, to flat dinners, to beach days, to cheering on the local Highlanders rugby team! There's always something to do.

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

I was pretty apprehensive about living with guys. My flat, like most, was co-ed, and while it took some adjustment, it was a great experience, one that you don't typically get in the US.

My biggest fear was probably getting lost or stranded somewhere! It is always good to be prepared with cash and the number for a cab company when traveling.

On my first trip, I realized how nice and accommodating the Kiwis are and all of my fears dissipated. I also learned that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. My roommate and I were stuck in a small town that had lost power from a storm, and the only open place in town with food was a gas station. So we grabbed some chips and garlic bread, checked in to our powerless hotel and rode out the storm!

What made this trip meaningful for you?

The pictures I took were beyond beautiful, but what gives this experience meaning are the moments shared with all of the people I met. When I share my photos with friends, there are always stories that go along with them. The people and the experiences are what give those photos life.

You may see a photo of me holding glacial ice, but I see the 5-hour bus ride that my roommate and I took, to stand in the rain at a glacier! I see our sopping clothes hanging in our powerless hotel room as we eat gas station garlic bread and PB+J sandwiches for dinner for three meals in a row.

But those are the moments worth remembering, the moments that are meaningful.

Staff Interviews

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

Amber Russell

Job Title
Community Support Co-ordinator
Amber works as part of the Pastoral Care team for the University of Otago Flats. She is one of the Community Support Co-ordinators and is responsible for events and provides pastoral care to the University's International exchange and study abroad students, as well as domestic "Kiwi Hosts".

She is a proud Otago University graduate with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Anthropology, and a New Zealand Powerlifting Athlete.
Amber Russell

What is your favorite travel memory?

In March of 2019, I had the amazing honour of representing New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific Powerlifting Championships held in Runaway Bay, Australia. It was an incredible experience being selected to represent my country and I was able to return home with an Oceania Record Bench Press and a Gold Medal.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Since starting my role at the University of Otago Flats (UniFlats), I have become so much more confident in talking to, and engaging in conversation with people from all backgrounds and also helping those I'm engaging with come out of their shell.

This job is definitely varied and being able to adapt to whatever situation comes my way is definitely a skill that I feel I have developed during my experience and it's incredibly rewarding when you see the student thriving.

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

For me, my favourite moment is when the very shy ones, who seem incredibly anxious when they arrive, rather timid and soft-spoken - when you see those students again a month later and they've blossomed into such a confident and vibrant person. They've found their niche and you know they've made life long friends during their time at Otago.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

My māori culture is incredibly important to me, so I would love the opportunity to go on the Tūrangawaewae, Pōkai Whenua as it provides tauira Māori (māori students) the opportunity to travel abroad and explore the connections between indigenous communities and their tertiary institutions. Being able to learn and connect with other indigenous cultures in their homeland would be a humbling experience.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is unique as it is one of the only University residential communities of its kind in Aotearoa.

We interview and select each of our Kiwi Host flatmates and then carefully select compatible international students that will make up the home based on their applications. We strive to make sure that every international student resident of our community feels connected in some way to their Kiwi Host - and I am proud of the care and effort that goes into this process each and every time.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe you have to be passionate about the students in order to be successful - passionate about their goals, and passionate about their experience. This job will require you to go above and beyond the average "9-5" and to be successful as a company, you need people that are more than happy to go the extra mile - and I am proud to say the staff at the University of Otago Flats has those people.