If you're looking for a high adventure and culturally immersive experience, API's study abroad program at the University of Otago is for you! I studied at the University of Otago in Spring 2017. This is an experience that I will always cherish and talk about forever!
I lived in a university-operated flat with undeniably diverse and charming flatmates. Our house consisted of 5 international students and a Kiwi host who showed us around our host city and taught us about Maori culture. One thing that I love about my flat was that it was only about a five-minute walk to campus and about a ten-minute walk to the grocery store. Additionally, my flatmates made my experience living in Dunedin the best because of all the fun experiences we shared together such as going to the beach, flat dinners, studying, and road trips!
Academically, I took courses related to my major at home. Some of the courses I took were Adventure Education, Maori Society, Management, and Language. My Maori society class was very informative about the Maori culture. Additionally, this course had guest speakers which gave introspective lectures about the Maori culture.
I began my semester abroad with an orientation in Rotorua. API hosted this event which welcomed and oriented us to our host country. This was a fun and adventurous experience with activities such as ziplining among the treetops, luging, experiencing a Haka dance, and touring active geothermal sites in Rotorua. The API excursions were high adventure and culturally immersive. My favorite excursions include touring Speights brewery, jet boating, and visiting the Albatross sanctuary.
On a normal weekly basis, my week consisted of studying and attending lectures from Monday- Thursday and going on an adventure on weekends with my flatmates, girls from my API program, and friends I've made. Some of these adventures include backpacking, visiting Queenstown, camping, and lots of hiking.
My API resident coordinator was always there when I needed her. She was a local and knew all the local hotspots and was my number resource for anything. She arranged a taxi for me when I arrived at the airport when the university's pick up service left without me. She then met me at my flat shortly after I arrived to make sure I arrived safely. My first night in Dunedin consisted of getting to know my flatmates, eating dinner with my API group, and unpacking!
I'm absolutely happy with my experience at the University of Otago and I am glad that I chose API' s study abroad program. I know that I can always call Dunedin and the University of Otago a place to call home!