IES Abroad Christchurch DE - University Of Canterbury

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About

When you look outside your window in Christchurch, New Zealand, exploration awaits you—hiking, fishing, kayaking, or swimming. That’s just a typical day here. Enjoy the adventurous, yet relaxed, lifestyle that Christchurch has to offer.
Enroll in courses at the prestigious University of Canterbury, one of the top three universities in New Zealand. During your time in Christchurch, you will have access to more than 50 academic departments and more than 90 on-campus clubs and organizations--ideal opportunities to connect with local students.

When you study abroad, Christchurch will quickly become your classroom. Spend time learning outside the classroom by exploring this great city, which is one of the oldest and most European cities in New Zealand. In addition, you can enroll in an internship, where you will get hands-on work experience while learning from local professionals.
Ready to study abroad in New Zealand? Apply now.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 18 reviews
  • Academics 7.4
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
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Tess
9/10

Christchurch is the BEST

I absolutely fell in love with Christchurch, and am so happy I got the chance to study abroad there! It's the most perfect little city, and definitely provided the atmosphere I needed to grow as an individual. Eunice, our program director, was the BEST, and really helped us get acclimated to life as a kiwi. We also got a chance to go to Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, which wouldn't have happened if not for IES!

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

Little Corner of the World

Program: Our program director, Eunice, is such an amazing and sweet person. She really genuinely cared about us and wanted us to have the time of our lives. We could email/ call/ text her with any question and she responds ASAP. She gave us tips and advice for anything and everything.
Country: Breathtaking. No other words can describe how beautiful the country is. My friends and I traveled all over the country every single weekend and still could not hit everything we wanted to get to. Will definitely go back.
University: Beautiful campus. Small class sizes. Flexible instructors. No smaller assignments but more focused on papers and exams.
Safety: I felt safe all the time, even at night.

How can this program be improved?
Less handholding for group trips. Allow car rentals because it is very unrealistic to travel around the country for cheap without one.
Yes, I recommend this program
Audrey
10/10

IES Christchurch

I participated in IES Christchurch, direct enrollment into the University of Canterbury(UC) July-November 2017 and could not have been more pleased! The program coordinator was the most down to earth woman who made the transition into the Kiwi life super easy. All of my UC classes were 20ish students because I was taking junior-level courses. The courses were challenging but very manageable compared to what a junior level Biology course at my home university would require. I had the opportunity to get to know my professors and other students in my classes. Not to mention, the south island of New Zealand is a prime location to study abroad for the outdoor adventurer! I'd go back in a heartbeat!

How can this program be improved?
The required on campus housing was sub par for what we were paying.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sabrina
10/10

Upside down and Backwards

Travelling to New Zealand, a country on the other side of the world, was more than just a far-away country with new accents and foods. I wasn’t just on the other side of the globe – I was upside down and backwards. From navigating the airport and making my way to my new school, to walking on the other side of the street and greeting “Kia Ora!” to everyone I met, little things added up to create an upside down and backwards world. Going to New Zealand with IES, though, gave me a steadfast support structure and people to help me navigate everything new. Our program director was there for any and every question I had, and the other people there with IES were instant friends.

Going abroad with IES gave me an invaluable entry into Kiwi society that I would not have been afforded otherwise. In both New Zealand and during an IES sponsored trip to the Cook Islands, the IES Christchurch program gave me the opportunity to converse with local figureheads about social, economic, political, and environmental issues. Moreover, our program director from IES took us on amazing trips throughout the semester to a wildlife sanctuary, showed us hidden highlights of the city, and brought us to a Marae. (A Marae is a Maori community meeting place, and you have to be invited to a Marae by one of it's members in order to visit. Once there, we got to learn about Maori songs, language, art, traditions, and modern day culture.) All of these trips were just a few ways that I was welcomed into the Christchurch community that I would never have glimpsed if I hadn't gone with IES.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sarah
10/10

My New Zealand Road Trip

My semester studying abroad at University of Canterbury through IES Abroad was one long road trip, both literally and figuratively speaking. Literally, it was a semester full of spontaneous weekend (and weekday, sometimes) road trips. These trips taught me so much about myself, about others, and about this incredible, diverse country. These trips pushed me mentally and physically, made me overcome fears and build trust in myself and in others, encouraged me to engage in meaningful conversations, and made me appreciate this beautiful, wild world we live in and learn what I can do to help preserve it. Over the 5 months I spent down under, I summited numerous mountains, become a vegetarian, had yarns with people old and young from all over the world, jumped off a mountain, drank way too much goon (bagged wine), swam with dolphins (and sharks), and put thousands of kms on Gus (my beautiful car that I bought my first month in NZ). Figuratively, it was a journey with many ups and downs. It was not always easy being away from home – my younger brother graduated this year and for the first time (ever???) I felt homesick. Further, it was not easy balancing school and travel – especially since classes aren’t mandatory and there is SOO much to do and see in this country! However, there is no doubt there were many more “ups” than “downs”. And when there were downs, IES Abroad and the other study abroad students gave me all the support I needed. 10/10 would recommend studying abroad in NZ with IES Abroad.

Yes, I recommend this program
Tovah
10/10

Adventure of a Lifetime

It's hard to have any boring experiences when traveling in New Zealand. That being said, IES Abroad made my adventure so much more worthwhile. They truly made every single experience I had full of cultural learning and meaning, and that has made all the difference. I truly felt like I was a part of the culture around me, not like I was paying someone to perform their culture for me, an that was extremely important to me. IES took us to the Cook Islands, which is where I truly felt this way; that I was participating and learning rather than being a vacationing tourist. I believe that the unique connections IES has within these international communities is what made these experiences possible and significant.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jessica
10/10

Best Decision of my Life!

My study abroad experience was made 10x better because of the people I met through IES and the excursions we went on through the program. Christchurch is a cute city and soon felt like home. It is rebuilding from the 2011 earthquake still but it's adding quirky and fun additions, and it has perfectly cozy coffeeshops for studying. It's also perfectly located to easily reach the best destinations in New Zealand over the weekends. IES, and Eunice our program director, made the experience even better. The first week, you're exploring and instantly making incredible connections with people. You also have occasional meetings to reflect so that the semester has a meaningful impact on you. And the semester break fieldtrip to the Cook Islands... do it! IES has us do activities that you wouldn't think of doing or wouldn't know how to book on your own, and it's just all so fun! I have absolutely no regrets on choosing IES Christchurch and it was the most amazing experience of my life.

How can this program be improved?
If they organized a reunion... I'm already missing my other IES people like crazy!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sarah
10/10

#1 Choice for Study Abroad

I firmly believe that Christchurch is one of the best possible places to study abroad, and I CANNOT wait to go back. IES makes it so easy to apply - everyone is excited to have you working with them. They continue to be incredibly supportive throughout your semester in Christchurch - our program director Eunice is absolutely incredible, going the extra mile wherever she can. The program also offers field trips that show you a new aspect of the culture - and there's even an optional field trip to the Cook Islands over the midsemester break! Christchurch is an incredible city, with so much to do. It's constantly changing as it rebuilds from the 2011 earthquakes - every time you go to the city center, something will be different! Christchurch is also very well located if you're interested in exploring the South Island - there's so much to do and see in this country, and weekend trips are incredibly easy to do!

How can this program be improved?
I honestly thought this program was perfect just the way it was!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bethanie
10/10

Studying in Christchurch, NZ!

I had the most incredible time studying abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand! Choosing to do so through the IES Abroad program was a decision I'm glad I made. IES is an incredibly organized program and advisers prior to my departure were helpful in answering any and all questions I had. When we arrived in NZ, program director/mom Eunice was consistently there to offer assistance and answer any questions we had. A Christchurch local, she has an insider view of the city and many locations all around NZ. Her humor and kindness made my experience that much greater. The orientation at the beginning of the semester introduced us to the incredible NZ scenery and local culture and left me ready to adventure! The mid-semester field trip to Rarotonga, Cook Islands allowed me to learn about a culture I most likely wouldn't have the chance to explore otherwise.

Ilam Apartments are beautiful and a short walk from the university campus. Although I was placed with 3 people from the states and one international student and I got incredibly close with them, it would have been nice to have a local student to live with as well in order to get a greater sense of "living with locals". I met the majority of my kiwi friends through classes and academic clubs. Academics are less rigorous and you have much more free time but time management is extra important because of that. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of my classes (shout-out to Cultural Politics/Cultural Activism-the best class!)

How can this program be improved?
It would have been more convenient to have permission to drive in New Zealand, as the IES Abroad restricts us from doing so. While I was lucky in that I had a friend with a car and other people from different programs that had access to driving vehicles, I know many other people in my program that were more restricted by the rule.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Meg
10/10

Semester on the South Island

I had an amazing time studying abroad in Christchurch through IES. First off, the IES staff back in the US were helpful leading right up to when I left for New Zealand, and, Eunice, the program director in Christchurch, was so nice. She was always willing to talk or help you figure out scheduling, things to get involved in the community, etc. - she's great and made all of our IES meetings fun.
The semester offered plenty of time for traveling but also for exploring Christchurch which is a great city especially once you get to know it. I'd definitely take a few weekends and just spend them in Christchurch. Traveling around New Zealand is great, but there is so much around UC like Sumner Beach, Port Hills, Akaroa, etc. Christchurch is a great, easy city to live in.
The best way to meet and befriend kiwis was to join clubs and to get out into the community. There are a ton of sport clubs which are great and have fun outdoor trips nearly every weekend. There are also clubs like Student Volunteer Army which hold volunteer events every weekend and even a few trips throughout the South Island. SVA is great because a ton of international and local students are a part of it and it is a great way to get involved in the community. I'd also highly recommend volunteering at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve if working with animals is of interest to you. It was a great way to meet Christchurch locals and you get to care for a bunch of different animals (wallabies!).
Overall, it was an incredible semester. Planning and executing travel is pretty easy within New Zealand and you definitely have a lot of time to do so. There are so many tracks, lakes, coastal towns, etc. that are just great to hike around and explore. I felt safe everywhere I went and met so many helpful kiwis. It was incredible getting out there and seeing New Zealand but also finding at home in Christchurch!

How can this program be improved?
There is really only one negative thing to say about my semester in Christchurch. For housing, all IES students live in international student apartments. You may have a kiwi flatmate or two, or a few flatmates from various countries throughout the world, but you may also get flatmates from the US. If you didn't explore the Ilam Apartments or branch out from them, it could be really hard to meet kiwis or to feel like you're a part of the community. Otherwise - the apartments were nice and quite spacious.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Olivia
9/10

Down Under's Little Cousin

Wow, what I would give to return to Christchurch, New Zealand. While my study abroad experience posed certain challenges like adjusting to a new uni system and living with randomly assigned flatmates, the positives of the whole experience definitely outweighed the negatives. The city of Christchurch was exactly what I desired out of a host city: the city itself felt small and manageable enough that I could get to know its nooks and crannies, yet it was large enough to be the main transportation hub of the South Island which made air and bus travel easy to arrange. If you desire to really get to know your host city as well as travel frequently around your host country, Christchurch could be the perfect home base for your study abroad!
Speaking on the IES program in particular, I felt so cared for from the moment I stepped off the plane in Christchurch in February to when I boarded the plane for the States in June. Eunice is the absolute best – she genuinely cares about each of her students as individuals. From planning an orientation that immersed us both in the culture of Christchurch and took us on a field trip to ensuring there was always an allergen-free cake at our IES meetings to organizing our budget-friendly field trip to Rarotonga to meeting with all of us one-on-one at the beginning and end of the semester, Eunice was both our Kiwi mother and first Kiwi friend. In my last couple days in New Zealand I unfortunately had a run-in with a bus while crossing the street, landing me in the hospital for an evening. Eunice made time in her busy schedule to meet with me several times, ensuring I knew what steps to take with the insurance company if necessary as well as making sure Air New Zealand provided me with a comfortable passage back to the States at the end of the program. No matter what situation you find yourself in, Eunice will take care of you!
My critiques for the program are minimal, but are important to acknowledge. Firstly, you are not permitted to drive during your time abroad under IES policy. Before arriving in New Zealand I did not think this would be a big deal, but in trying to get to smaller destinations around the country this restriction complicated travel quite a bit. This brings me to my second critique: unless you elect to independently find housing and are approved to do so by IES, you will be housed in Ilam Apartments at the University of Canterbury. While there is nothing wrong with the complex, it is traditionally where all the international and study abroad students attending the university are housed. My flat consisted of four girls from the States and one from Malaysia. So, if you want to befriend local students, you will have to be bold and venture out from Ilam. Overall though, I would highly recommend studying abroad with IES to Christchurch!

How can this program be improved?
I would suggest that IES reconsider their policies on allowing students to drive while abroad; in the early weeks of my program I had not made good enough Kiwi friends to ask to travel with them, and found bus travel to the smaller destinations very limiting.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Rachel
9/10

University in New Zealand

New Zealand is a great place to study geology and spend lots of time outdoors. Christchurch is still fairly quiet for a city, as it is still recovering from recent earthquakes, but living there for a semester proved to be a very good experience. It was a good cultural experience to see how the city has responded to the earthquakes and come together as a community.

I was initially very disappointed to learn that IES had discontinued the homestay option for this program, but in the end I was very satisfied with my student apartment, which was a great way to meet other students and engage in university social life. Some students in my IES group did manage to arrange a homestay, but they had to arrange it themselves without any help from IES.

The IES program was often quite disorganized, but the on-site program director, Eunice, was wonderful and was always very approachable and willing to help. The best part about studying abroad with IES was the organized mid-semester trip to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. It happened to rain a lot while we were there, but Eunice managed to reorganize our scheduled activities so that we managed to fit everything in (Biking, snorkeling, hiking, etc.)

As a direct-enrollment program, this program is best for people who are able to take their own initiative to interact with the local culture and people.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sam
10/10

IES Christchurch

I had the time of my life in New Zealand. Adventures beyond my wildest dreams. The location was absolutely perfect, nestled between the Southern Alps and the Sea, Christchurch was an ideal place to be for an adventure seeker. It was a short bus ride to daily hikes, and a really good location for other South Island travels.
The program director, Eunice, is beyond words sweet and knowledgeable. She was my NZ mom and made the experience much more culturally and academically enriching.
IES also sets up a break trip to Rarotonga, a tiny little dot of an island in the middle of the Pacific, nestled between Fiji and Tahiti. It was an incredible price for the absolute trip of a lifetime!

I would recommend IES Christchurch 100% to any student looking for an adventurous time in an English speaking country.

How can this program be improved?
I would make sure that you have surveys to be housed with people according to personalities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bethany
10/10

Living in Middle Earth (Christchurch, NZ)

The best part of studying abroad in New Zealand was being able to see a variety of landscapes all in close proximity to each other. Glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, and oceans were all just hours away. IES was an extremely great way for me to meet the people who are now some of my best friends. IES's orientation allowed me to get to know people, make friends, and feel at home within just a few days.

I brought everything I needed, except for a good pair of Ked-like shoes to wear comfortably around campus. I ended up purchasing a $5 pair at Kmart, as did many students. I also wish I brought more sweaters, because it randomly rains for short periods of time almost daily. It is best to remember to pack a rain jacket and hiking boots, because you will use them constantly. Also, remember to pack a warm hoodie and jacket for when it gets chilly at the end of the semester.

My trip abroad made me realise that I want to move abroad to practice occupational therapy as soon as I graduate. While in New Zealand, I shadowed occupational therapists in multiple settings, which showed me that I can practice anywhere. My time abroad also showed me that I can live independently, even when I am completely across the world from my friends and family. I can't wait to live abroad after graduation. My experience is an unforgettable one that has made me a better person.

How can this program be improved?
IES Christchurch was an amazing program, but there are a few flaws. IES Christchurch did not permit the students to drive cars. This was quite difficult, because the buses take many hours longer to reach a destination than a car, due to the constant stops the buses have to make. Taking a bus can get quite expensive, and buses do not allow you to stop, take pictures, and explore places that you find interesting along the way. IES was also not very organised when I first arrived. I was not given information about where I would be going on the orientation trip and what I would need until a couple of days before. Even when I was given a sheet of what to bring, I was still confused about what activities would be occurring for my week in Springfield. I absolutely loved my orientation, but I remember worrying that I would not bring the proper clothes and supplies for the activities, because of the lack of details.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alexandra
9/10

Galavanting on the South Island

I spent the fall semester of my junior year in Christchurch, and I regard it as one of the best experiences of my life. The social climate and way of life is laid back and foreigners are welcomed with genuine friendliness. Kiwis are extremely hospitable and outgoing people; I found getting to know them really enriched my experience, in learning their perspectives. The country itself is spectacular, with countless outdoor opportunities, such as as climbing, hiking, kayaking, etc. In terms of the program itself, I found that IES had wonderful on-site staff, and the field trips and programs they organized were all very valuable and a lot of fun. It was good to have a base group of friends and people with which to approach so many new experiences. The country as a whole felt very safe, and was easy to travel throughout. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Yes, I recommend this program

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