• New Zealand
    • Wellington
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Anthropology Archaeology Architecture Art History Arts Biology Botany Communications Cultural Studies International Business International Relations Philosophy Political Science Social Sciences Sociology Wildlife Sciences +6

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
Price Details
The program fee covers group transportation to field sites, planned group excursions, lodging, meals, local transportation, medical insurance, and administrative costs.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Classes Meals Transportation Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Visa
Oct 23, 2017
Feb 23, 2018
21 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

New Zealand has long been at the forefront of innovative social, cultural and environmental practices. In this program students get to know the people, places, and ideas that have driven developments such as truth and reconciliation processes between government and the indigenous Maori peoples, and sustainable environmental and governance reforms. Although challenges still abound, students learn—across disciplines—about positive responses.
Students spend their first month traveling by bus to key biodiversity and cultural sites, learning, cooking and discussing together. The next two months are spent in Wellington. Students live with local families, work on a self-directed independent study project, attend classes and complete a significant internship. Student internship placements in past years have ranged from Kennett Brothers Mountain Bikes, to the New Zealand Green Party to Zealandia Urban Eco-Reserve.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Supported, intensive internships
  • Focus on Māori perspectives
  • 1 month of travel through the North Island
  • Small cohort
  • Homestays

Related Programs

Program Reviews

4.88 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 87.5%
  • 4 rating 12.5%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 3.65
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.75
  • Housing 4.65
  • Safety 4.75
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

HECUA New Zealand - A Shared Future

Spending a semester traveling, interning and studying New Zealand with a cohort of students and a group of caring and humble faculty is one of those experiences that will stick with me always.

New Zealand is a beautiful country, with friendly people. The island biodiversity, progressive politics, copious sustainability initiatives, and indigneous-colonizer relationships make it an interesting and unique place to study biology, political science, environmental studies, and peace and justice studies.

HECUA staff did a great job of supporting me throughout the semester, as well as in the logistics of travel before and after. I always felt safe, learned a ton (academically and personally), and had a lot of fun.

What would you improve about this program?
The hardest part of this program for me was the size of the cohort - 17 people. Keep this in mind when deciding if this program, rather than a direct-enroll, is better for you.
47 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Falling for NZ

This program was the perfect combination of independence and community, academics and career building, travel and finding a place to call home on the other side of the world.

The professors are some of the most caring and inspiring I have ever had, allowing me to pursue topics I was interested in, challenge what I thought I was capable, adapt to my overall needs and help achieve whatever I set my mind to.

The program is beautifully designed to show you slices of beauty across New Zealand as you travel the first month and build relationships with your fellow students and teachers. It makes the moment you arrive in your homestay in Wellington so much sweeter as you revel in finally unpacking your suitcase at your homestay. I was lucky enough to intern at Conscious Consumers and inch closer to the kinds of careers I want post-graduation as well as getting a taste of what it could really be like to live and work abroad.

As we were saying goodbye, one of my coworkers commented that "New Zealand tends to get its hook in people". I didn't realize until I came home home much the country and its inhabitants really have touched me in a way that begs to draw me back.

What would you improve about this program?
The laid back "kiwi-time" is a hard adjustment for students used to straight- forward schedules and hard deadlines. I loved the opportunity to relax and enjoy the journey a but more than university back home allows but I know others wished for a lot more structure.
56 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Meaningful experiential education

My trip with HECUA to New Zealand was transformative. Going into it, I thought I would get an environmental and cultural education; however, it was so much more than that. The program is set up in such a way that really immerses you in New Zealand culture and the issues you are studying. You get a wide range of views and opinions by visiting permaculture farms, staying with indigenous Maori and talking to policymakers. The program taught me how to change my perspective, shift away from my traditional western views to consider issues like dairy farming and renewable energy from local indigenous perspectives. There is a nice combination of travelling and homestay, because you get to see a large amount of New Zealand while also forming stronger connections in Wellington with your host family and internship. As a Psychology/Educational Studies double major, I was not sure if this program was a great fit, however its inclusive and holistic nature makes it applicable to all areas of study. I really recommend it!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that this program could use a little more organization, though its spontaneity does add to the organic experiential feel to it. I also think that classes while in Wellington could be structured more effectively.
59 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Review of HECUA New Zealand

If you are looking for a personal, eyeopening, and inspirational experience HECUA New Zealand will provide. This program is perfect for any major and is actually enhanced by the wide range of students who participate. Not only is the first month of the program hugely informative on topics ranging from New Zealand's environmental issues to Maori language revitalization it is also a very special emotional and even spiritual experience. I say this because the staff of this program are truly amazing and pour their hearts and souls in to sharing what they love and loath about their country with their students. The program has an emphasis on Maori cultural values and practices and therefore has a emphasis on communing with nature. If you do not like sharing your feelings or spending time in the bush then this program is not for you. If you are ready to let go of your personal inhibitions and learn by doing and feeling then this is for you. Respect and patience play a huge role in having a good experience as well, you must be ready to do things that you might not usually comfortable with, like sharing your feelings and experiences in a group setting. The Wellington section of the program is also great. Wellington is a fun city and the public transportation system is awesome. Make sure to chose an internship you are going to like, I would suggest talking to people who have had the internship in the past before you settle on it. To suffice, you will not regret having embarked on this experience, one you return home you will see how much you have learned about the world and about yourself, I guarantee.

What would you improve about this program?
The process of assigning internships and home stays could be improved as well as the academic schedule and the classroom experience in Wellington. There are often issues with home stays and internships, but the program directors are willing to help you if you have problems so I highly suggest speaking up if anything feels wrong. The schedule is always out of way and we were always behind, but some of the charm of the program came from that aspect.
56 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

New Zealand: A shared future

Day one of our journey. A vehicle full of strangers headed to a place called One Tree Hill (which has nothing to so with the soap opera). Upon arrival we were given free reign to explore the area and see the beautiful monuments and landmarks. It appeared that it was about to rain. Scratch that.... it was about to pour. We made our climb snapped our first group photo and quickly learned what New Zealand weather was all about. This is the first real moment of appreciation that I had for the adventure that was to come. Today looking back at it, my expectations fell short of the reality of this journey. My life has changed and it all started with that one not so peculiar, peculiar moment.

What would you improve about this program?
Simply continue adapting with the new groups of students each year.
57 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great people, program, place

By late November, the weather in Wellington began heating up, reaching the low 70s every day-- just in time for us to be heading back to the states in a few weeks. Around this time, all of us on the program were thinking about our families back home in America, missing them despite having the time of our lives on, quite literally, the other side of the world. In both an effort to make us feel at home and have a concluding get-together, lead professor and host Charles decided to have us over for a thanksgiving dinner. Along with his family, several friends, and a few of our host parents, we ate turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and all the other traditional staples of the holiday. Although there was no football, and even less fall color (it turns out maple trees are not a thing in New Zealand), it felt like home. Between the bond we students forged together and the family setting created by Charles and the other HECUA staff, it made what could have been a tough time to be away one of the best thanksgivings ever.

63 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

HECUA New Zealand Study Abroad- Fall 2015

Aside from the five initial weeks of traveling around the North Island of New Zealand, I enjoyed the internship portion of our time in Wellington the most. My initial match was not the best fit or timing, however, with the assiduous work and devotion of Charles, our program co-director, I was able to intern with Sustainable Coastlines and Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary. This contributed to my independent study, while providing a plethora of different experiences and skill-building opportunities.

What would you improve about this program?
Island time certainly exists in New Zealand, lending itself to loose and flexible schedules and deadlines as well as a degree of disorganization. Personally, I would've preferred that students were held accountable more for completing readings. I also think there should be a training-in week for internships, to ensure they are the right fit and students can be as prepared and helpful to their organization. I also wished we took more field trips during our stay in Wellington and mingled more with the community, instead of remaining somewhat insular in our studies, internships, and with our host families.
58 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience in NZ

HECUA New Zealand was a truly remarkable experience. The combination of field study, internship, independent research and more traditional class is an unparalleled way to live, experience and learn about New Zealand. The program staff is supportive, helpful and generous. My internship at an environmental education center in Wellington helped me realize my passion for environmental education, and teaching in general. My individual research project about the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui allowed me to engage with new concepts and connect with interesting people. I loved living in Wellington-- having a bus pass and being connected with a frisbee team were some of the highlights of my time. Charles, the main director of the program is an incredible teacher, mentor and quasi-guardian.

What would you improve about this program?
The program is less structured than a normal semester at a university would be, which was mostly good. However it could do with a little more structure/ organization with some assignments.
61 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers