Study Abroad in Christchurch, NZ: University of Canterbury
96% Rating
(19 Reviews)

Study Abroad in Christchurch, NZ: University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury was established in 1873 and is New Zealand’s second oldest university. Their globally recognized programs aim to foster critical thinking and professional excellence across many disciplines and UC graduates can be found in top jobs and graduate schools all over the world. UC also offers you the chance to take your learning beyond the classroom and gain real world experience, through service learning, internship courses and New Zealand’s most extensive network of field stations for field science.

Centrally located on the east coast of the spectacular South Island, Christchurch is on the doorstep of a huge outdoor "playground" where you can surf at the city's beautiful sandy beaches and ski and snowboard in the Southern Alps in the same day. The city is a gateway to some of NZ's most breathtaking scenery and recreational opportunities such as: hiking, climbing, white water rafting, whale watching, kayaking, alpine resorts and surfing!

New Zealand
Subject Areas
Animal Science
Art History
Asian Studies
Creative Writing
Criminal Justice
Cultural Studies
Earth Sciences
European Studies
Global Studies
Health Sciences
International Relations
Political Science
Service Learning
Social Sciences
Sports Science
Degree Level
Academic Year
Official Transcripts

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 19 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 8.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 19
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Explore what nature has to offer (and study too!)

My semester at the University of Canterbury was absolutely one of the best choices I ever made. I didn't know much about New Zealand before I left, but once I got there I definitely felt as if I was living in a fairytale land full of new places to explore. The academics were challenging for me since the school system was very different from the one I had experienced in the USA. The most interesting part about this was that I had fewer homework assignments, more time for studying, and consequently more time to dedicate to exploring the country. This is even encouraged by professors and everyone I talked to about studying abroad in New Zealand. It's so easy to explore the south island when you're located in Christchurch. Most locations are close by and can be driven to for a quick weekend getaway or the longer spring/fall break trip. Plus, you only have to be 18 to rent a car which makes trips like these easy to plan. Besides driving, you can also take the bus anywhere. My favourite parts of the country were those that you had to backpack in to get to see them. I had never been backpacking before despite growing up in Colorado, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to experience this through the CUTC (tramping club) at UC. They have lot of trips planned every weekend and even have gear you can rent. This makes it easy for even beginners like me to try out tramping. Overall I would definitely recommend studying here for the hands-on curriculum and the beautiful scenery that surrounds the city.

How can this program be improved?

I only wish that the student housing would have had an oven. It was difficult to get used to only having a microwave and stove!

Yes, I recommend

Best school in NZ

As a French student I come from far away. They welcome me very well. Everybody care about your success in UC. They have lots of clubs where you can meet lots of people to practice your english. People are very nice with international people. At the beginning it is not easy to follow the courses but teacher are very comprehensive. And I rapidly improve my confidence when I speak english. I recommocanded the study abroad program of the University of Canterbury.

Yes, I recommend

Beautiful experience

As a french student this country is really far from everything I know But at the university of canterbury you will be sure that you will live one of your best experience in your whole life. Courses are really interesting and the country is beautiful and wild. Morever many people in the international services at University of Canterbury will take care of you and are here to answer your questions.

Yes, I recommend
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A great school to study abroad at!

When I decided to study abroad, I wanted to be directly admitted into a school to immerse myself in the local culture and I could not have chosen a better university. My classes were fun, the professors helpful, the student body nice and social, the campus absolutely stunning! Christchurch is a quirky and fun city that I soon found to feel like home. And it's location is perfect for traveling this incredible country during the weekends. I can't wait to return!

How can this program be improved?

I would have loved more opportunities to interact with the local students that wouldn't occur on the weekends (when we would often be traveling).

Yes, I recommend
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University of Canterbury

From my first time at UC I knew I would love it! My professors were always friendly, supportive, and knowledgeable in their fields. The campus is beautiful and lovely to take a walk around in nice weather. Although the weather can be fickle, and misty at times, it is overall beautiful. My experience here has been wonderful and I enjoyed not only my classes, but also the people I met and the environment. Christchurch is the perfect place to explore the South Island from. The farthest away place is a 12 hour drive, in the Fiordlands, and almost everything else is good for a weekend trip. My most memorable experience was the three week break we have in the middle of the semester. I got to experience Australia and Tasmania, while other kids I know explored the South and North Islands. The Garden City is the perfect place to house oneself for a fantastic New Zealand experience. Also, budget more money than you think you need! New Zealand is an expensive country.

How can this program be improved?

The housing was wonderful, but because I was housed almost completely with other international students it made it harder to make connections with Kiwis. The only ones I really got to know were from my classes, but if one takes classes with other international students almost exclusively, it makes it much harder to meet people who are actually from New Zealand.

Yes, I recommend
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Amazing Experience on the South Island

IES Abroad allowed me to travel to Christchurch, New Zealand for a semester to complete my studies as a fourth year college student. Their flexibility allowed me to make the experience my own, and their orientation and other organized activities throughout the semester gave me a group to be part of and a homebase to come back to. I made many local friends, got involved with kayaking and backpacking in the New Zealand backcountry, and learned a great amount about international culture. I think that IES was a fantastic program to be a part of, and I cannot recommend studying abroad enough to my friends back at home.

How can this program be improved?

The program does not allow students to drive and doesn't suggest that students live off campus. I did some independent research and decided to live in an off-campus apartment instead, which I think was hugely impactful for me to really feel immersed in the community, but I know many other students in the program felt that they missed out on this opportunity because they weren't well informed of its possibility beforehand.

Yes, I recommend
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IES Abroad in Christchurch!

While studying abroad can be one of the most exciting parts of your college career, it can also be pretty daunting! The thrill of having the opportunity to explore a new place can be invigorating but also overwhelming. In the Fall of 2015, I studied abroad through IES in Christchurch, New Zealand. While we were preparing to go abroad, IES provided us with a mentor whom we could email to ask any questions we had. My mentor based out of Chicago was so helpful, kind, and understanding, and really helped calm my nerves while preparing for such a big trip. Additionally, when arriving in NZ, we were so supported by the IES personnel stationed there. They helped us transition into a new country with a level of ease that I likely would not have had if I had not had their support. Additionally, the trips the sponsored over the weekends and school breaks truly added to my experience of NZ by deepening my understanding of the country and giving me opportunities I otherwise would not have had! The University of Canterbury offered numerous interesting classes and the Ilam Apartments that we stayed in were conveniently right next to campus!

Yes, I recommend
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An Amazing Experience

My semester abroad at the University of Canterbury was one of the best experiences I've had so far in college! The university had great academic programs (I studied Communication Disorders and History) and the staff and other students were helpful in making sure that all questions about both the material from class, as well as about life and culture in Christchurch were answered. The UC Study Abroad office was very accessible and made sure that students had all of the resources they needed in order to be successful. The housing provided (Ilam Apartments) was conveniently located close to campus and gave students the opportunity to get to know many other international students.
New Zealand offers so many once in a lifetime opportunities in a beautiful location, including hiking, swimming, glaciers, fjords, and so many more. It was easy to enjoy these amazing experiences on weekends and school breaks. I would recommend New Zealand and the University of Canterbury to anyone looking for an amazing study abroad experience!

Yes, I recommend
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Amazing experiences both on and off campus

If I had to describe my time in New Zealand in just one sentence, I’d tell you that I probably spent more time using my sleeping bag than my actual bed. With all of the amazing hikes, adventure sports and stunning scenery everywhere you go, it’s hard to not to be out there at every possible moment. Christchurch's central location really makes it easy to spend most of your weekends discovering it all.

But as much as I loved getting off campus, I think one of the best parts about studying at Canterbury was student life on campus. There was always a variety of things going on, from tramping expeditions to casual barbecues to upscale balls. All the clubs are also extremely inclusive in the sense that you can join anything that interests you, no matter who you are or what experience you have.

The best decision I made this semester was getting involved with UCCC, the white water kayaking club at UC. I went into the first kayaking trip not knowing what I was getting myself into, but I’m so glad that I did. UCCC allowed me to meet some of the funniest and most helpful people around, while learning a challenging and exciting new sport in the process. Everything about the trips, from kayaking down insane rapids to the banter around the campfire, was absolutely fantastic.

How can this program be improved?

I wish the housing system didn't make it so that mostly international students live at Ilam Apartments. It made it hard at first to get out and meet kiwis instead of falling into the trap of just traveling around with other study abroad students.

Yes, I recommend
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It is all what you make of it!

Any place you go it can be an amazing experience if you truly allow it to be and seek out the experiences while maintaining a positive and broad perspective! However, UC makes this very easy. With so many opportunities to get involved and so many accessible beaches, parks, mountains, and all other outdoor (and quite a lot of indoor if youre that type) activities all within a short drive or walk away!

I think the academic system and the courses I took were excellent. In all three, the professors went out of their way to make sure their students had all the resources they needed to get the most of their education and went beyond their duty to help. They had insight on material beyond a text book, both real world and through research and added to my passion for education as well.

‘I shadowed a physiotherapist and learned heaps about the differences in US and NZ practice as well as furthered my experience and knowledge about the profession in general.’

I was very involved with Equippers church, serving and becoming a part of their family. I met some of the most amazing people, travelled some incredible places, both near and far with them, and had life changing moments with them simply through their encouragement, challenges, and prayer. I also was a part of a recreational soccer team, and the SVA where we helped the community in Christchurch as well as others such as with the link pathway in Marlborough Sounds.
‘I truly did love the student life and the myriad of opportunities there was to get involved and how people truly did get involved. People were keen to hang out on campus or to simply join a club or help out!’
‘I have TONS of memorable moments, but I would have to say one that is up there is the second week of my NZ experience. ‘Me and six of my new friends went on a tramp, got lost in the dark, a storm came, and we had no choice but to fit in a two person tent for the night… it was one of the most rewarding, bonding, hilarious experiences of my life, no matter how miserable it also was.’
So don’t hesitate about what to sign up for or try or be nervous about making friends. Just jump all in, talk to people you wouldn’t normally, do something you never have dreamed of. And soak every moment up. Make connections with Kiwis and the land around you. You are blessed to be in such a beautiful place, take advantage of that, but don’t forget to give back too.’

How can this program be improved?

There could be more direction for international students in terms of where to get advice or information or how to connect with more kiwis. However, the freedom of exploring and finding those things out on your own is all apart of the experience.

Yes, I recommend

Everything I Wanted Out of Study Abroad and More

I spent a year at the University of Canterbury and loved it for so many reasons. There were so many interesting classes, many of which I wouldn't have gotten to take at home; I had so many engaging professors who were great teachers and very knowledgeable in their fields; and I went to so many beautiful places, and the country of New Zealand will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. UC has strong academics and support for you, and you'll find lots of robust clubs and student groups that make it easy to make friends - both Kiwi and international. While Christchurch isn't much to look at, it has its charms (art galleries, botanic gardens, Natural History Museum), and although it's far from the cities of the North Island (Auckland and Wellington), it is still central to many great outdoor activities around the beautiful South Island. UC is a great choice for your study abroad experience.

How can this program be improved?

The second dorm I lived in (Sonoda) had slightly poor service - dryer machines not getting fixed for weeks, broken vending machines, etc.; not a huge deal though.

Yes, I recommend
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Great times at UC

I had an absolute unreal time this semester at the University of Canterbury. The location of this campus caught my eye and pushed me to study here and was a fantastic decision. Being in Christchurch, the university is at a perfect location for students to travel easily to other outside cities and places. Weekend trips were definitely possible allowing me to travel all weekend and to be back in time for school on Monday.

I took two business classes and two elective classes here and were very easy compared to my home university in the U.S. All my classes had a video recording as well, which was nice if I decided to travel and watch the lectures later.

Christchurch as a town is still undergoing transformations after the earthquake. That being said, the party or bar scene is under development as well and is not as good as other places in the South Island. The student association, however, did a great job by creating many events and opportunities for students to get together and party. They hosted a couple of concerts when I first arrived and had many different events throughout the year.

The housing the university provided in which I stayed at was the only form of improvement I would suggest towards the university. I stayed at Ilam Apartments with all other international students. The rooms were spacious, however, the kitchen only had a stove and a microwave, which made it difficult to cook. The laundry room was expensive as it was two dollars to wash clothes and two dollars to dry clothes. The security was also strict on social gatherings and group get together's.

Overall though, I would suggest UC as it provided me with all I needed to have a fantastic study abroad experience!

How can this program be improved?

The housing the university provided in which I stayed at was the only form of improvement I would suggest towards the university. I stayed at Ilam Apartments with all other international students. The rooms were spacious, however, the kitchen only had a stove and a microwave, which made it difficult to cook. The laundry room was expensive as it was two dollars to wash clothes and two dollars to dry clothes. The security was also strict on social gatherings and group get together's.

Yes, I recommend
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Thumbs-up for New Zealand and UC!

I had a great time at the University of Canterbury! I’m in my Master’s Degree for Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration in Germany and after five years I’m almost done with my studies. I came to UC to broaden my horizon, take classes I couldn’t study at home and travel the beautiful country I had heard so much about.

I enrolled in three classes (Rock Climbing, Maori and Engineering in Developing Communities) and loved all of them. They were so different from what I had studied at home and gave me the possibility to enhance my knowledge and meet amazing new people. The classes demand less work than I expected and what I was used to. This gave me enough time to travel and explore the South Island.

Christchurch is located perfectly to travel everywhere on the South Island in a short amount of time. I spent many weekends going tramping, climbing, kayaking and just exploring the country. New Zealand really is as amazing as everyone always says! Christchurch itself is not the most fascinating city but the surrounding places totally make up for that!

In April we had a three-week break. This gave me the opportunity to visit the North Island and the far south of the South Island. Being able to compare both islands, I must say that I like the South Island way better, mainly because I’m an outdoorsy person and the nature is simply breath-taking. Since Christchurch is the biggest city of the South Island, flights to go to Auckland, Wellington or even Australia are very affordable.

One more thing I really appreciated about UC were all the clubs we could participate in. I joined the tramping, climbing, kayaking and wine club and met many wonderful people this way. It also gave me the chance to see more of the country and spend time outdoors.

Housing is close the campus and in walking distance to classes and the gym. However, Ilam Apartments (most international students live here) is comparably expensive. You could also look for a room yourself to save money but if you want to stay close to campus and meet many international students, Ilam is a good place!

All in all, I had an amazing time in New Zealand! Thank you UC, for making this possible!

Yes, I recommend
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UC gave me the time of my life!

During the first few weeks of classes at UC, many of the clubs plan events to start the year with a bang and make new students feel more welcome. One of the events I chose to participate in was the tramping club's hike to the top of Mt. Somers. Although I had hiked quite a bit in the States, I did not know what I was getting myself into. The was only a little over 3k, but we were literally scaling the side of a mountain. It took us about half the day to summit, and that is when I realized it might be even harder going down. Although the hike was extremely difficult, I was able to make it to the top (and enjoy the breathtaking views). This was in my first few week of New Zealand, and helped me gain the confidence that if I could climb this mountain, then I could live on my own for four months in a foreign country. A lot of the best experiences in life are not easy and that is what makes them so special.

Yes, I recommend
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Experience of a Lifetime

The University of Canterbury has a beautiful campus filled with wonderful people. Adjusting to life at uni was made simple by the welcoming staff. I am incredibly lucky to have been taught by lecturers who are also conducting research similar to my interests. I have learned a lot of valuable insight into career opportunities, and I have made lifelong friends.

Being in a large city in the South Island meant easy travel. I was able to access the whole of the South Island from Christchurch. The weather was perfect in my opinion -- mild compared to what I am used to at home.

I originally chose UC for the location, but if I had to choose again, I would choose UC for the incredible school that I have come to call home.

Yes, I recommend

About University of Canterbury

UC offers a stimulating range of courses, a vibrant campus environment with students from around the globe and a great student lifestyle. Founded in 1873 by scholars from Oxford and Cambridge universities, Canterbury University moved to its current...