IFSA: Study Abroad Programs in New Zealand

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

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IFSA Students in New Zealand
IFSA Students in New Zealand


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.


IFSA Scholarships
IFSA Scholarships and Financial Aid

We believe that study abroad should be within reach of every student, so we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities for all our participants.

$500 - $2,500

Popular Programs

University of Otago

Dunedin is a classic university town known as the "Edinburgh of the South". The University of Otago is New Zealand's oldest university, a top-ranked research institution and the second southernmost university in the world. Quality academics shared houses with Kiwi hosts, and amazing outdoor excursions are all yours at Otago.

University of Canterbury

Established in 1873 by scholars of Oxford and Cambridge, the University of Canterbury is ranked amongst the top 3% of universities in the world. If you are interested in hiking, snow sports, rock-climbing or pretty much anything outdoors, prepare for Canterbury to steal your heart and fill up your Instagram feed.

Victoria University of Wellington

Nestled in the heart of New Zealand's hilly capital city is a vibrant campus with an award-winning International leadership program. Here not only will you be encouraged academically but you will find yourself living in a diverse, artsy, cosmopolitan city home to more cafés and bars per capita than even New York City.

University of Auckland

Located in the geographical and economical heart of New Zealand's largest city, the University of Auckland is surrounded by beautiful parks, galleries, museums, shopping areas and more bars and cafes than you can count. This prestigious university is ranked within the top 100 universities in the world offering a diverse catalogue of courses in a wide range of subjects.

Questions & Answers


8.94 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
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Yes, I recommend this program

IFSA Dunedin, New Zealand

I had a wonderful experience studying in New Zealand with IFSA. From the time I opened an application, IFSA staff was so welcoming and answered all my questions. I felt comfortable every step of the way as there was always someone there to help me. The orientation was a great way to meet other students and get used to a new country before moving into flats. It was also a great way to adjust to the new time zone. My favorite part of the program was all the different trips we got to go on. Whether it was a volunteering trip to a nature reserve or an overnight cruise through doubtful sound, each trip allowed me to see so many beautiful parts of the country with a group of really supportive and excited students! IFSA really did everything to make my abroad experience as special as it could be and also worked to make my transition back to the US much easier. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I had the experience to do this again, I would definitely travel more. I got to see a lot of the country but there are so many places to go in New Zealand that I feel like I didn't even make a dent! I really hope I get the chance to go back one day and see all the places that I couldn't make it to!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Studying Abroad in NZ was Sweet As!

I spent my junior fall studying at the University of Otago in Dunedin through IFSA and loved every minute of it! I decided to go abroad at the last minute and knew no one else who was going to study in NZ, so I was a little nervous when I arrived in New Zealand to say the least. However, IFSA was so great in helping to handle housing and pickup from the airport, providing an orientation and monthly group excursions, and having support staff on campus and close by. Orientation was a really nice way to meet other abroad students before arriving to campus and helped me make some of my closest friends from abroad. In general, New Zealand is an incredible place that has such a rich environmental and cultural history where you can learn a lot both inside and outside the classroom. There are so many opportunities to go explore the country, whether it be through clubs, IFSA trips, or just a roadtrip with friends. Studying abroad in New Zealand was one of the best decisions of my life, so if you are debating whether or not to study abroad, please take a chance and DO IT!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take classes that you wouldn't normally take and take classes that will help you learn more about New Zealand and the Pacific Islands!
Also, be adventurous, be spontaneous, and go see NZ! The South Island is amazing and has so much to offer for every type of person, so get off out of the city every once in a while and go see the rest of the country!
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Yes, I recommend this program

My Favorite Semester

I spent my sophomore spring semester abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. It was a phenomenal experience that I think about at least once a day. The country itself is so green, clean, and open once you got outside of the major cities. The cities, though, still were incredibly eco friendly with green spaces and were safe so that you could walk around and feel safe. The nightlife was fun as well, and I often spent my afternoons after class walking throughout Auckland streets and discovering hidden gems. Of course, I could not have enjoyed my time in New Zealand nearly as much without the support of IFSA. I never felt isolated or alone with the help and support of my onsite coordinator. We had weekly catch up meetings with snacks and coffee to debrief any troubles we had during the week, whether it be midterms or homesickness. My IFSA group was incredibly close knit, so we often spent nights out or days studying together too; but our relationships were definitely enhanced due to our united IFSA experience. After all, when we first arrived, we all arrived nervous and vulnerable. However, after our 3 day orientation in the middle of nowhere, we had grown quite close through shared meals, games, and group activities.
The University of Auckland is a top notch institute to study at. I took my professional electives there, and was lucky to be able to take classes in a wide range of subjects (public health, history, business, and environmental science). I highly condone taking a pacific studies course to fully understand the origins of New Zealand.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment in studying abroad is getting on the plane. After saying goodbye to your family, suddenly, you realize just how alone you are. Even with prepping ahead of time with help from the IFSA staff, nothing can quite prepare you for when you are on a 12 hour flight with no clue how your next 5 months will go. However, stepping off the plane, and being welcomed with open arms by the IFSA crew made all of my worries go away.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Study abroad with IFSA in Wellington!

I would highly recommend studying abroad with IFSA Butler in Wellington, New Zealand. The IFSA staff is incredibly supportive. Wellington is a fun, lively city surrounded by beautiful places to visit/hike/camp. I lived in international student housing with a girl from South Korea and a girl from Italy, right next door to some of my best friends from the IFSA program, which was great. Overall, I had a fantastic time abroad in New Zealand!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Te Aotearoa Wairua: The New Zealand Spirit February 04, 2018

I learned so much from this experience abroad. I learned about myself as well as New Zealand and the States. I learned about the New Zealand night sky as well as quite a bit about the political system (perks of being there during the election season!) I learned about myself and my values since I needed to be aware of so much more than normal. I learned about New Zealand culture as well as other cultures such as those in European countries. More than just conventional New Zealand (or pākeha) culture, I also learned a lot about Māori culture, language, history, myths, and so much more! So yes, it was most definitely worthwhile!

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Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Opportunity

Spending a semester in Dunedin through IFSA was wonderful. They take care of the housing through UniFlats so you are placed with other study abroad students who aren't necessarily through IFSA, as well as a Kiwi host. The Kiwi host is a student who attends the University of Otago, and is incredibly helpful in navigating the social and academic scene. My flatmates were amazing, I was able to meet some incredible people, and go on outstanding adventures. Many issues that other friends had with their study abroad experiences were not issues for me at Otago in Dunedin. I loved having a program that supported me, and I loved the staff. When reached out to, I found them to be very helpful; otherwise they stayed out of the lives of the students.

What would you improve about this program?
I remember on the group flight to NZ, many of us were at the gate but didn't know if we should be meeting as a group or not. The instruction did not come until we had arrived in NZ, but we all figured it out okay.
Yes, I recommend this program


Made many new friends, went on amazing trips through IFSA and independently. Went wine tasting, horseback riding on a Black sand beach, explored glow worm caves, went on hikes, took a spring break trip to Fiji, went jet boating, white water rafting, skiing, spent a weekend at an alpaca farm. I found a way to go sailing at least twice a week out of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and made a ton of new friends that was too.

What would you improve about this program?
Thought the program held my hand a bit too much at the beginning- I would have liked to have been treated more like an adult.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Don't do what I did

I went to study abroad mostly so I could take courses in a more lenient grading system and have the grades transfer back to boost my GPA. My program mandated that I HAD to take 4 courses to count as a full time student, so that's what I did. I verified that my courses would qualify and carry over, and by the time the next term went around, I had both of those goals accomplished.

However, Christchurch is an absolutely depressing place to stay. The neighborhoods are lifeless, the majority of people you'll meet are as emotive as worker drones, and the most available source of fun comes from alcohol.

The rest of the islands are so much more interesting. Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, and Dunedin all offer so much more to see, hear, and do than Christchurch. It's great if you can take courses that'll count towards your degree back home (the grading system is so worth it), but don't take all upper division courses like I did. I sacrificed pretty much all of my free time just to study and it was a slog to go through.

What would you improve about this program?
The program itself is just fine. My critiques are largely on my poor decisions.
Response from Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

Dear Robert,
Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experience on the IFSA University of Canterbury program. I'm sorry to hear that your semester abroad wasn't quite what you hoped it would be. We would love to hear more about your concerns and how we can do better moving forward, so please don't hesitate to email us at studyabroad@ifsa-butler.org to start a conversation.
Best wishes,