IFSA: University of Otago Partnership

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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About

Kia ora! We're so excited that you're preparing to study abroad on an IFSA program and have chosen the University of Otago as your destination. Otago is located in Dunedin, an amazing college town conveniently located near the great outdoor sights of New Zealand's South Island. The University of Otago was the first university in NZ and offers a wide range of subjects, which makes it an ideal location for any student. With an unrivaled campus experience, Otago has a vibrant social and cultural life.

New Zealand offers some of the best scenery in the world. Hike, swim, climb and explore everything this amazingly beautiful country has to offer. IFSA's role is to provide you with the best student support services, and also to run a fun and exciting program of events for you throughout the semester. Sign up with IFSA today to begin the journey of a lifetime!

Scholarships

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.

Value
$500 - $2,500

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.89 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 6.9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.8
  • Housing 8.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 9
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Tai
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Dunedin, NZ - My Home Away From Home

I'm not sure what I was expecting before arriving in New Zealand... but my experience completely surpassed my expectations! It's difficult to describe this experience with worlds, as it often left me speechless. From when the plane touched down in Auckland until my final departing flight from Dunedin, IFSA was supporting me through it all. I truly felt like the program staff had my back every step of the way. IFSA gave me the freedom to live independently (choose my classes, go on solo weekend trips, etc.) while also providing endless opportunities, excursions, and safe spaces to explore the country and region even further. The courses I was able to take the University of Otago gave me a unique glimpse into New Zealand culture. As an Environmental Studies student, I loved being able to learn about the New Zealand landscape, geography, politics, and especially indigenous Māori customs, beliefs and traditions. During the week I spent time exploring the breath taking Otago peninsula, swimming at the local beaches and spending quality time with friends. The community of international students was incredible as well. I was able to make friends from everywhere - New Zealand, the UK, Norway, Brazil... On the weekends I went hiking, backpacking, camping, skiing, you name it! The opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration were endless. My experience with IFSA and New Zealand transformed me as a student, global citizen and person. I feel incredibly thankful to have had such a life-changing experience.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I took a boat to Stewart Island (off the coast of the South Island) for a 3-day backpacking trip. On the boat ride back, the waves were bigger than the boat and I was terrified! It was some of the roughest water I'd ever been in, but traveling with friends (including some Kiwi's) was really helpful and definitely calmed my nerves.
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Laurel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Academics, Friends, & Experiences all-in-one with IFSA

The time I spent on the south island of New Zealand through IFSA’s University of Otago program is something that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. IFSA facilitated the experiences that defined my time in New Zealand and provided me with the resources and support needed to make the most of my semester abroad. From the moment I was accepted, IFSA helped lay out exactly what I still needed to get done, from housing forms to visas to what to pack. IFSA’s orientation was incredible and helped me get over jet lag, showed me some of New Zealand’s beautiful landscape, and introduced me to many of the friends I would spend the next 5 months with. During my time abroad, IFSA provided structure, friendly faces, goal tracking, incredible trips, and countless resources. The IFSA staff in Dunedin with me were lovely humans who stayed relevant and were always ready to help with academics, housing, any medical issues, and whatever else life threw at me or my fellow IFSA kids. The trips IFSA took us on, specifically the overnight boat cruise in Doubtful Sound, were simply amazing. I would have never been able to organize such a trip myself and looking back on my time abroad this boat cruise was one of my favorite memories (which is really saying something as New Zealand gave me a lot of favorites!). In summary, choosing IFSA made my abroad experience the wonderful time it was, and I cannot encourage other nature-loving, kiwi enthusiasts enough to go to New Zealand through IFSA!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
In Queenstown, the adrenaline junkie city of the world, I did a canyon swing (like bungy jumping, but better)!! Until I was back in the car after jumping, I couldn't believe what I was doing, but I'm so glad I did.
Jake
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An American in NZ - Join Clubs!

The most memorable part of my experiences at Otago was joining a laser tag team! As the only American, I was constantly surrounded by kiwi culture while doing an activity that was both fun and not too far out of my comfort zone. I think the university's clubs are a perfect way to meet people with similar interests and they really defined my experience.
I also have to recommend traveling as much as possible, across as much of NZ as you can. It really has everything for a tourist, be they nature junkies, history buffs, movie buffs, or someone just looking for the best coffee shop. The people are super friendly and always willing to point you in the right direction if you're lost, so sometimes it's very rewarding to put away Google Maps and go on an adventure!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take fewer classes so you have time to explore - it's what really makes NZ worthwhile.
Claire
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Environmentalist at IFSA-Otago Partnership

I spent Spring 2018 abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin. I am an environmental studies major and I grew up in Hawaii. I loved my classes because two of them were environmentally focused and the other two were focused on Polynesian/Maori culture. I spent almost every weekend outdoors, either hiking or sailing. New Zealand is such an incredible county to explore! IFSA was a great program because it gave me the freedom to choose my own classes and do my own thing, but also always had activities and meet ups that I could attend if I wanted to. It was nice to have the support of IFSA, which many students who directly enrolled at the University of Otago didn't really have. I especially loved the trip to Orokonui Ecosanctuary, which is a bird sanctuary where we volunteered one day.

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Ian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Review of University of Otago, New Zealand

When people say they had the time of their lives, it's never possibly for anyone to really understand what that means. Mine was encapsulated with hiking, camping, surfing, and meeting some of the best friends I have ever made. I found my true passion in life, and I felt like I had everything I could dream of within my grasp. When I describe my experience, it say it as a utopia - and that would even be an understatement. The only problem I have, looking back, is that I didn't do enough, even though I did everything and beyond.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, nothing. IFSA did a remarkable job bringing a group of 50+ students who didn't know a thing about each other into a new country and making them a family. I wouldn't change a single thing.
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Allison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 5 Months of my Life

If you're questioning whether or not to study abroad, the answer is DO IT. From the moment I arrived in New Zealand, I was in love. The nature was absolutely incredible, from the unbelievably clear, blue water in the lakes and oceans to the jagged, glacier-ridden mountain peaks, to the endless, green rolling hills covered in sheep! University of Otago was the perfect location to explore South Island, as there were endless amazing hikes and landscapes within four hours drive away. I spent almost every weekend going on backpacking trips around the island, and over the mid-semester break, some friends and I took a 10 day roadtrip all over South Island. There was also a ton to do in Dunedin itself. Living in North Dunedin, there were amazing hikes within half an hour's walk away, and downtown, filled with bars and restaurants, was only a fifteen minute walk away. There were always parties going on nearby, but unless the party was in your flat, the flats themselves were pretty sheltered from the noise. My flat was a bit cramped and damp, but hey, I didn't go to New Zealand for the housing. My flatmates were cool and it worked out fine! Compared to the amount of schoolwork I'm used to doing at my school in the US, classes at University of Otago felt like a breeze... until finals period. Most of your grade is based on final projects or tests given at the end of the semester, which meant that I ended up cramming a semester's worth of information into my brain in the span of 2 weeks. This worked out GREAT for having time to get out and explore New Zealand, but it put more pressure on me to make sure that I knew and understood what I needed to. The IFSA-Butler team was always there if you had a question or needed support, and they provided many fun and interesting activities as part of the program, such as exploring a castle or taking an overnight boat trip! I met a ton of amazing people through my program, and we still keep in touch! I grew so much in so many different areas of my life, and gained valuable life skills that will help me in my future endeavors. Studying abroad even changed my life plans to include more time abroad, and I feel more confident in myself to be able to do what I want to do because of my experience in New Zealand. It was the best time of my life, and I miss it so much that I'm applying to study abroad with IFSA again next year! Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I hope you make the same decision too!

What would you improve about this program?
The pre-departure information was a bit unclear, and I was a little worried that I had neglected some important steps to get abroad. I also wasn't completely sure what I was getting myself into, but I put faith in the program and everything worked out great!
Jake
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fall 2017 Otago Experience

I absolutely loved this experience! You have a ton of freedom, as well as any support you need should you ask for it. The campus and area are totally safe, but it is a party school as well as a fantastic area for skiiing/snowboarding/surfing - accidents can happen if you aren't careful. Regardless, the IFSA staff were there and always happy to help with anything I needed or even just talk. Highly recommended!

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Vincent
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything you could ever want in an abroad experience

Expect the Unexpected in New Zealand. Their culture is definitely different than anything you have ever experienced in America. In my brief time in New Zealand I experienced so many things that I would have never known I enjoy. Great walks, sounds, cricket, kava, penguins, driving, grading scales, surfing, fish and chips, meat pies, botanical gardens, flats, and so much more. These are just a few things you can look forward to in New Zealand. To go in to depth would take away from your experience in my opinion, but if you want to know just ask.

What would you improve about this program?
Go for a year. That is the only way you can get the full experience.