IFSA: Study Abroad Programs in New Zealand

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Top-notch academics meet exquisite natural beauty and Maori culture in New Zealand. Enjoy outdoor adventure by taking advantage of hiking, skiing, fishing, camping and river rafting opportunities throughout the country, or simply take a stroll through the famously beautiful countryside. New Zealand has plenty of urban excitement, too. From the vibrant capital city of Wellington to sophisticated Auckland to college-town Dunedin, New Zealand’s cities feature sports, entertainment, cultural attractions and lots to see and do. It’s no wonder Lonely Planet named New Zealand the top destination in the world two years in a row!

The flexibility of the New Zealand university system gives you a great selection of courses and subjects, as well as the opportunity to truly immerse yourself into the Kiwi culture.

Programs are available at the following New Zealand universities:
  • Massey University
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Canterbury
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • University of Otago

Questions & Answers


based on 7 reviews
  • Academics 8.1
  • Support 8.1
  • Fun 7.3
  • Housing 8.1
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Have told all my friends that they need to visit NZ

If you love being outdoors and meeting friendly people, Dunedin is the place to go and IFSA is the program to go with. IFSA staff helped make the first few days in New Zealand a great experience and prepared us to succeed in our respective universities. Once at school IFSA maintained contact with all of us and provided exciting trips (boat cruise in Doubtful Sound) for everyone in the program to reconnect on. While I made many friends at Otago, I can say that the best ones were found within the group of students participating in IFSA.

How can this program be improved?
I think there should be more ways for students within the program to reconnect during the school year. There are already weekly meetings, but the issue is that people get busy so it would be nice to have other options. What those other options would look like, I really cannot say. I know IFSA made the effort, but when you're there as a student there's just so much to do!
Yes, I recommend

Wonderful experience in a beautiful country

I absolutely loved studying abroad in Wellington at Victoria University! IFSA made it easy to find housing, not always an easy feat in Wellington. We lived near the university but also in close walking distance of the city center. IFSA coordinated some great trips for us around New Zealand, making it easy for us to supplement our own travels. The country itself is so beautiful and full of great hikes, it’d be hard to go wrong. I’d love nothing more than to return one day.

How can this program be improved?
More student say in when group trips are to make them on optimal weekends.
Yes, I recommend
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University of Auckland with IFSA-Butler

This past semester was amazing from the beginning to the end. IFSA-Butler made the departure process simple and easy, which relieved a lot of potential stress right off the bat. Throughout the semester they scheduled excursions and weekly meet-ups that allowed us to explore parts of New Zealand that we might not have been able to otherwise (some of my favorites were white-water rafting, visiting Hobbiton, and seeing the geothermal pools). If we ever had any problems or questions we knew that there was an adviser right in Auckland (ours was Amanda, she is the coolest). I really loved the classes that I got to take at the University of Auckland. One of them was Kapa Haka, which is a form of Maori dance employed by the famous All-Blacks before each of their rugby games. I also got to take Introduction to Wine Science, which included a field trip to the nearby island Waiheke, known for its many vineyards. I made most of my friends through IFSA-Butler. Most of us were from different places in the US, and we ended up getting along great right off the bat. Almost every weekend we would travel to a different area of New Zealand. I didn't have much experience travelling before this, so it was nice to have a group of friends as well as IFSA-Butler for support. New Zealand is an amazing country and I'm so glad I got to study there!

How can this program be improved?
Nothing I can think of.
Yes, I recommend
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Go to NZ with IFSA!

NZ was a dream, and I still can't believe it happened. IFSA really made it the awesome experience that it was with the amazing excursions and incredibly nice, helpful staff. People from other programs were always jealous to hear about all the things we were doing and how responsive our student coordinator was, and I felt bad that they didn't have as great a support system as we did. It was such an awesome semester, and I hope to go back someday (and I know I can reach out to the IFSA NZ staff members when I do)!

Yes, I recommend
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So Glad To Have Gone

Learning about New Zealand was something that I knew I would do, but I never intended to actually fall in love with the country, and that couldn't have happened without the support of IFSA Butler. It was through this program that I studied abroad in Auckland, NZ, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the program itself. I felt supported the entire time, and if I ever needed anything, there were people whose actual job it was to help me out, and I loved knowing that.

How can this program be improved?
UniLodge is kinda not the greatest place to live...
Yes, I recommend
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Just don't.

I am the sole person that I have ever heard who had a genuinely horrible experience while studying abroad, and I had the displeasure of having this semester abroad at the University of Auckland. University accommodations are in pitiful conditions - I hope you enjoy creepy crawlers in your room, and bedbugs! Also, let me tell you the real truth about academics here. DO NOT come to New Zealand with the idea that grading is easier abroad. Every other person I know that has studied abroad has come to find this to be the case. It may be, however that may be everywhere outside of New Zealand. Read up on "Tall Poppy Syndrome" which New Zealanders fully embrace. The phrase "Cs get degrees" which we use in the US in a more joking way is a way of life in NZ. Cs are all the students expect so as not to be a "tall poppy," hence, the professors also feel the same way. You will not receive an A at this institution, you will barely get a B, BUT if your grades transfer as P/F then you're set, because everyone is guaranteed a C. The final thing I would like to point out is that New Zealand is a small country, the physical size of Colorado with the population of Kentucky. There is only so much to do in the country, and once you have run out of these things and you would like to explore "the region" you've got a minimum 4 hour flight and $800USD ahead of you.

Response from Institute for Study Abroad

We are very sorry to hear that your experience didn't live up to your expectations. We would love to have a follow-up conversation with you to chat about how we can better prepare students for the academic expectations in New Zealand. Please drop us a line at [email protected] at any time!

No, I don't recommend
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IFSA Butler New Zealand

IFSA Butler staff was incredibly supportive throughout the entire experience. IFSA Butler provides a great orientation and various day and weekend events throughout the term abroad. They make sure they are available for any needs and concerns.

Yes, I recommend

About Institute for Study Abroad

The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Our primary goal is to provide quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified North American undergraduates seeking to...