BCA Study Abroad: Dunedin, New Zealand

Video and Photos

About

Dunedin is the only university town in New Zealand, and it provides you with plenty of opportunities to connect to local people and the environment! Through the fantastic student activities program at The University of Otago, you can join one of the more than 70 societies, like dance, hiking, music and sports clubs. In addition, there are many volunteer opportunities available to connect you with local organizations and community members.

The University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest and most prestigious university and is regularly ranked among the top universities in the world. The University offers a rich cultural life, reflecting a diverse international student community and New Zealand’s own multicultural population.

Highlights
  • Follow your own path in New Zealand and uncover the country’s natural beauty! Dunedin is surrounded by white sand beaches, forest-clad hills and volcanic formations. You’ll easily find some of the world’s rarest animals living at the city’s edge.
  • Engage with the community by participating in an internship or volunteer opportunity based on your passions and personal pursuits.
  • Challenge yourself to learn about New Zealand’s indigenous community by taking Māori culture courses. Visit an authentic Māori marae, a traditional meeting place, and connect with local students dedicated to keeping their culture and traditions alive.
  • With internationally ranked departments in arts and humanities, life sciences and medicine, and social sciences and management, it’s the perfect place to take major-specific courses to pursue independent research opportunities or select internships.
  • For students studying Education, the Education Department at University of Otago offers a hands-on teaching experience through its unique program. Students can also take courses focused on educational theory alongside local students.

Questions & Answers

Hi, great question! Any study abroad experience will be as interesting as you make it! We recommend reading through reviews of the program to get a feel for the experience you may have. There are a lot of a insightful reviews at the bottom of this page, under "Reviews": https://www.gooverseas.com/study-abroad/new-zealand/bca-stu… .

Reviews

100%
based on 21 reviews
  • Academics 7.7
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.4
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 21
Samantha
10/10

BCA Dunedin 2018 Spring Semester

I honestly don't even know where to begin talking about my semester abroad in Dunedin, so I'll do my best to fit everything in here.

I'll start by saying my time abroad through BCA was the by far the most life-altering decision I have ever made. Prior to my time in New Zealand, I had never taken a plane by myself or navigated through airports alone, and I had never even left the country before! After my time abroad, I successfully flew 30+ hours alone and visited 2 different countries; and I CAN'T WAIT to visit more. I've caught the travel bug.

I can honestly say my program director, Ashley Mountfort, was my saving grace every single step of the way. Before I even arrived in New Zealand, Ashley made me feel at ease about the whole process of actually getting there. She answered my (many...many) emails within minutes and was extremely patient and informative. She sent out emails with step-by-step instructions on how the flights/ customs would work, where we should meet when we arrived at the airport, etc. And it only got better after I arrived safely.

Ashley met us at the airport with a bottle of water and chocolate bar for each of us; an absolute saving grace after traveling for nearly 24 hours. She arranged transportation for us to our flats and helped us carry our bags in. She even printed out maps for each of us and highlighted the route to our meeting spot. These were all things that Ashley did which were above & beyond what I expected, and I immediately felt safe and at home because of her actions.

Having a program director as awesome as Ashley made my abroad experience 10x what it would have been without her. Throughout the semester she opened her home and heart to me and the rest of the group. She sent us monthly emails with heaps of info on upcoming events, cheap tickets, volunteer opportunities and activities to do all around Dunedin/New Zealand. She even included secret messages within her emails, and the first few students to respond would win a mini excursion with Ashley to places around Dunedin like bakeries, cafes, and beaches, which she would take us to herself for no charge.

Ashley would plan movie nights and provide snacks for us. She invited us over to her home and cooked us meals, and let us play with her dog and baby (who I fell absolutely in love with!). If any of us needed absolutely anything at all from advice to a ride, Ashley was our go-to.

In New Zealand, I came comfortably out of my comfort zone. I made dozens of new friends and made hundreds of lifetime memories. I don't think I would change anything about BCA except to make sure each group has a program director as incredible as Ashley Mountfort! And possibly to provide a meal stipend to help students manage their money.

Overall, my life has changed for the better after my time in New Zealand through BCA, and I love the person I've become because of it.

Thanks for everything!

P.s. More scholarships to help with the cost of the plane tickets would be great. The flights were EXPENSIVE!! Also, STA was a bit tricky to deal with sometimes.

How can this program be improved?
More scholarships to help with the cost of the plane tickets would be great. The flights were EXPENSIVE!! Also, STA was a bit tricky to deal with sometimes.

Make sure each group has a program director as incredible as Ashley Mountfort! And possibly to provide a meal stipend to help students manage their money.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Sydney
10/10

Nothing a Kiwi can’t do without #8 chicken wire

If you are thinking about this program, go for it. Best decision I ever made in my life. The resident director is so helpful and is really there for you. Also, Otago is an amazing university with amazing opportunities you don’t get in the states. Love the kiwi life! What I miss most about New Zealand are the amazing views, my 50 million friends (baaa), and the amazing people I met. If you like adventure, this is the place to be. I’m counting down the days until I get to go back, as probably any study abroad student says.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Katie
10/10

Best possible study abroad experience for me

I can go on and on about how lovely my experience in Dunedin was with the BCA crew. Even before I left the United States, I already felt so much support from Ashley and Jan, the program coordinators. Upon arrival, there was a perfect amount of activity, orientation, bonding, help, etc. BCA did a VERY good job setting me up for life in New Zealand, and I felt very little confusion. The coordinators made themselves regularly available, and we became very good friends. It felt like we were a family-- it wasn't just professional. It seemed like they genuinely wanted me to be as happy and comfortable as possible. I appreciate the experiences I had on the trip. It was absolutely ideal, largely in part because of BCA's wholehearted support. I had no idea this program would be so worthwhile, so I consider myself extremely lucky to have applied with it. Hands down the best experience of my life. Even though I was on the other side of the planet from my regular support system, I still never felt alone. I can't recommend it enough.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly can't think of anything. It truly was ideal for me.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Nicole
10/10

Missing NZ everyday

I absolutely loved my experience being abroad. I lived in a student house and was able to live with other international students and a Kiwi student. I made friends from all over the US and also in NZ. My favorite memory is hiking Roy's Peak (3 hour uphill hike) it was so tiring and hard, but we finally made it, and it was so rewarding. It's definitely one of my biggest accomplishments. University of Otago also offers so many different classes that you can take. I ended up taking classes that gave me more insight into the social classes of New Zealand and the history of New Zealand, just so that I got a better understanding of the culture. If you love the outdoors New Zealand is the right choice. It has the most breath taking scenery.

Yes, I recommend this program
woman in nature
Katie
10/10

Best 4.5 Months of My Life

Dunedin, New Zealand is the perfect place to study abroad. The culture within the country is unlike anything I've ever experienced. Everyone is so friendly and the entire country is extremely clean. If you are looking for a clean, safe, and gorgeous place to travel, then this is definitely the place for you! Classes are not extremely hard, so you have a lot of free time to travel and explore the city. I went to a new place in the country almost every weekend I was there... and still couldn't see everything I wanted to. There is so much to do and see there, you will never get bored. The landscapes are out of this world beautiful. It is amazing how you can go from the rainforest to beaches to mountains to rolling hills all in one area. In one day, I slept at the top of a mountain, walked down into the rainforest, and ended up on a beach by the end of the day. I loved every single second I was there and the only regret I have is that I did not stay for the full year. The program directer Ashley was very helpful and while she was on maternity leave, Jan was just as friendly and helpful as well! From a school aspect, there are so many things to get involved with. While there, I had many opportunities to volunteer and try new things, such as volunteering at a nearby after school programme, replanting native plants on wetlands, and joining intramural type teams for lawn bowl and volleyball. This trip was the most life-changing experience of my life. I was able to depend only on myself which allowed me to grow as a person and become much more independent than I thought was possible. I also met some of the most amazing people, both those studying abroad from all over the world and kiwis too. I highly recommend this program, you will not regret it.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alyssa
10/10

Dunedin is the BEST!

If you would have asked me freshman year if I was going to study abroad, I would have said no. Never in a thousand years did I ever think I would travel and live half way across the world for 5 months, but it was the best experience of my life! New Zealand is absolutely amazing!

BCA is a great program to study with. The resident director, Ashley, is extremely helpful and makes Dunedin feel like home from the very beginning. She took us on many excursions including a trip to the marae, Wanaka, and a sheep farm in Cromwell. BCA allowed me to experience the New Zealand culture and I wouldn't have changed anything. If you are planning to study abroad, I would highly recommend going to Dunedin with BCA!

Yes, I recommend this program
.
Leanne
10/10

Dunedin

Dunedin, New Zealand.....
1. GO!!
2. Its something you will want more of
3. Everyone there is friendly and down to get out and do things
4. Otago University is beautiful
5. Adventures galore (beaches, mountains, fields, rivers all within 30 min drive)
6. Good housing
7. Lots of food, shopping and nightlife, all within walking distance of Otago

BCA Program
1. Great "mom" (Ashley M.) helps with any and everything
2. Good amount of food money given
3. Adventures set up through "mom" that are always fun and informative
4. Helpful

How can this program be improved?
I enjoyed all of it
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Georgianna
10/10

Life Changing Experience

Not only was New Zealand the best place I have ever been to, but this program helped me feel so comfortable in a place I have never been. Ashley was my program director and from when we got off the plane to when we left, she was always checking in on us and planning excursions. I really didn't know what to expect when going to New Zealand when studying abroad besides that there is so much of the country to explore. Right away it was easy how to figure out how to get around and being in the program made it so easy to make friends. I got to travel the whole country and even go to Australia. Most people are in the same boat as you when you get to New Zealand so it is easy to find people who want to travel and explore. I am so grateful to have had this experience and the only thing I would have changed was I would have started traveling earlier on in my experience. I waited a little too long to start exploring and ended up not doing one or two things I wanted to do. New Zealand is amazing and I wish that everyone could experience the country and culture.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kaylee
10/10

Seriously Life Changing

As cliche as it sounds, this program will change your life. As a geology student, I was most excited about exploring the unique landscapes from active volcanic fields to glaciers. I wasn't expecting that the people I'd meet and the experiences I'd have would change my life and teach me what was really important. Ashley, the resident coordinator, and the BCA program was excellent at answering my questions, making me feel welcome, and guiding me through several truly New Zealand experiences. I don't think I would've had as valuable of an experience in NZ without this program.

How can this program be improved?
This isn't necessarily the BCA program, but the academic system is very different than my small, liberal arts school and I struggled with the teaching style. Most classes have multiple professors, who have different styles of testing, and there aren't weekly graded assignments to check your comprehension. Of course, when approached, professors were more than willing to help me and I imagine it has less to do with NZ's academic system and more that it's a large school. I just hope future applicants will take this in to consideration.
Yes, I recommend this program
Alaina
10/10

Do This

I had a lovely time in Dunedin, it is by far the best decision I’ve ever made! Even when moving houses halfway through the semester The BCA directors helped to make sure I had all the support and help I needed during this time. When I got sick, Jan even brought me soup! Not only is BCA easy to work with they are so supportive and helpful, they make it easy to feel at home in your new city. We took so many trips as a group and saw so much, the time I spent there will never forgotten!

Yes, I recommend this program
Esther
10/10

Be apart of something bigger!

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I came to New Zealand. I was sure that I would have great adventures and see some very beautiful scenery. What I did not know is that I would fall in love with the country. All of it. The beautiful sun rises and sunsets, the magnificent beaches, the amazing wildlife, but most of all the people.

As soon as I landed in Dunedin, the BCA program director, Ashley was very welcoming and made me feel right at home. Throughout the semester, she was always there to help with anything, whether it was advice with trip planning or encouragement with your classes and daily life.

In fact, it was Ashley who helped me get involved in volunteering for Rock Solid, an organization that works with the youth in South Dunedin. Through my volunteering I was able to meet a lot of people from different walks of life, some students, some full time in the work force, and many from different countries and backgrounds. I was also able to give back to the city that was now my home.

Looking back on my experience, the trips were neat, the other students were great, class was well class, but some of my favorite moments were playing games and hanging out with the staff and kids at Rock Solid.

So, my advise would be; enjoy the sightseeing, nature, and student life, but take time to volunteer and be a part of something bigger than yourselves. I did - and it made my time in New Zealand something that I will cherish forever.

Yes, I recommend this program
Ashley
10/10

DO MORE than just EXIST

Being out from my experience longer, I can only keep reiterating the utter invaluable experience studying abroad has on your life!! I studyed abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand, on the lovely south island :D

Unique, exquisite and breath-taking are words that describe New Zealand's natural wonders and experiences it has to offer. Rather than talking about skydiving, bungee-jumping, and tramping (of course great options, but typical of NZ travelers), I seek to offer a different perspective. I was able to study art history while at the University of Otago, and for all the Art History lovers and art lovers out there, this place is a gem! My professor was from America and I am from America, so I felt an innate connection to her and felt completely comfortable in her classroom. Her teaching style was like no other -- so comforting, knowledgeable, and yearning in want for the students to learn how to learn, appreciate, and articulate what we love and what exists in artwork. Dunedin has multiple galleries and museums that my class walked to in order to go over how Modernism is reflected in current works of art. What do you see? What is the artist trying to convey to the audience? How does the color pallete effect the the mood? It was a great opportunity discuss the works with my professor and classmates. We went to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Hocken Library to review works of art and see first-hand local artists and their work, internationally recognized works, and local art events where you could be surrounded by curious and passionate people! It was a time to bond and become more passionate about art and art history!!! I have to honestly say that through my professor's teaching style and my curiosity of art, I gained an unquenchable thrist for gaining knowledge and skills in the arts and art history! I came to New Zealand knowing that my passion for earth, healthy living, traveling, and appreciating animals would grow stronger during my discovery of pure natural beauty of NZ, but I left with more than that. I left with a deep growing love of art, of turning strangers into friends, of embracing "Sweet as", of loving the flightless birds, of smooth sailing on the TransAlpine, and of watching sunrises against snow-capped mountains on the Routeburn track. So come to Dunedin, New Zealand or at least some part of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Grow your passion, free your spirit, and learn to embrace life come what may. So join me with the great, proud alumn travlers of NZ and DO MORE than JUST EXIST.

How can this program be improved?
I think that maybe placing more than just the BCA program members together to explore and get involved at the University of Otago would be advantageous for the students. The BCA groups are usually really small, and initial group events can be just BCA members in order to feel comfortable with each other and the new environment, but having a larger group to explore with would be nice. I also think, if possible, to review flats to live in would be a nice touch. I would have liked to see where I was staying (like the inside of the home) before I actually got there so I could be emotionally and mentally prepared for my living environment/arrangement. Other than these few items, I believe everything at Otago and the professors/international workers themselves are wonderful.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Melissa
10/10

Best Decision I Ever Made

Deciding to study abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand is one of the best decisions I have ever made. A part of me had always wanted to study abroad, but for the longest time I was too nervous to actually go. But then I was convinced into it and I am so glad that I was because it was an amazing experience. The five months that I was living in New Zealand were life changing, and I learned so much about myself and the world. When it was time for me to go home I didn't want to leave as New Zealand had become a second home to me. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything and if you are considering studying abroad I would highly recommend it!

How can this program be improved?
I don't have any complaints about this program, BCA was amazing and did a great job helping me all throughout my study abroad experience. They made all the paperwork easy that had to be completed before leaving, and once we arrived we had the nicest, most caring resident director ever. She was always there to help us with whatever we needed, even if we just needed someone to talk to. I would highly recommend going through this program!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alyssa
10/10

BCA 2015, Dunedin

I, like any other person who considers studying abroad, thought about all the things that could possibly go wrong. I was nervous about making friends, about fitting in and about missing home. It wasn't before long that The University of Otago, The Brethren College Abroad Program, and Dunedin, New Zealand became my home also. Within the first week, I felt confident enough to go out on my own, explore and experiment with public transportation. By the end of my time, I had seen all corners of the lower-south-island: from the beautiful beaches that were right in the city I was living to the southern most point of the south island to the beautiful mountains and lakes of the west coast.
Aside from travel, I learned an exceptional amount of information about Maori culture and society. I was able to dive into first hand opportunities like: Haka performances, Maori Literature, Religion, visiting a Marae (and participating in traditional ceremonies), and other preforming arts. Dunedin, New Zealand is one of the only places that allows BCA students to engage in such rich cultural experience.
As a Social Work major, I also spent a significant amount of time engaging with the community. As part of my degree, I interned at SCOUTS, New Zealand as a community development social worker. I was about to work towards accessibility and affordability for scouts, well being a Cub Scout Leader and participating as a scout myself. The SCOUTS organization allowed me to make kiwi friends, create a sense of self awareness and confidence. SCOUTS NZ lets you grab the reins on your adventure while helping to build a better world where young people are self-fulfilled. SCOUTS offers the one thing that every person studying abroad is afraid of missing, a friend.

How can this program be improved?
The BCA study abroad program was the best program I could have asked for. I felt safe, comfortable and aware of the benefits of the program. I'm not sure that I would change much about the program. The Dunedin, BCA Coordinator was the most kind hearted, helpful and knowledgeable person. I do wish that I had known about my housing plan before purchasing my flight because my housing did not end until Mid-December but, my group flight was booked for Early-November. Had I known that I could have had housing for long, I would have spent more time there. Overall, my experience abroad was exceptional.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kelly
10/10

GO ABROAD

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The whole expierence was a such an eye opening and life changing event! At first it seemed daunting to live in another country for so long but at the end of my time abroad I didn't want to leave!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe the day we get to the country, we are dropped off and let into our new housing instead of just on the street our flat is on.
Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About BCA Study Abroad

Established in 1962, BCA Study Abroad has been committed to helping students understand contemporary issues by offering challenging and rewarding study abroad programs. From its start, BCA has focused its educational mission on engaging students with...