Study Abroad at the University of Otago in NZ

Video and Photos

Roy's Peak, Wanaka
Roy's Peak, Wanaka
Routeburn Track
Routeburn Track
Mount Cook
Mount Cook
Weekend Activities
Weekend Trip up Mt Alfred, NW of Queenstown.

About

The University of Otago is located in New Zealand’s only true student city of Dunedin - the beautiful and compact campus (you can walk everywhere) is home to more than 20,000 students.

The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university and has a worldwide reputation for research, teaching and academic excellence. When it comes to the weekends the opportunities for adventure are endless.

Studying at Otago will not only equip you with first rate academic skills, it’ll enable you to spread your wings in the South Island of New Zealand, make friendships, and experience life in one of the most unique corners of the world.

Highlights
  • Ranked 175th in the world (QS World Rankings 2018).
  • Easy location to explore the spectacular South Island of New Zealand in the weekends.
  • More than 190 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
  • One of the top 16 most beautiful campuses in the world.
  • Walkability to campus, accommodation, city centre, recreational activities and entertainment.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 39 reviews
  • Academics 6.8
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 39
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TIANYI
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life in NZ

i m here for a two-week exchange programme from ShangHai. This is my first time visiting Dunedin. My home stay family is very considerate.They drop me off and pick me up everyday and also cook for me Chinese food.I spent 5 days working in a lab to help them build a frame of a two-wheel car.The professor and student here are really nice to me,very patient.The life here is quite different from the life in ShangHai. Most of the people in ShangHai live under high pressure but the people here in Dunedin seems to be more relax in their daily life.The scenery here is amazing as well and i think Dunedin is one of the most beautiful city in the world.The habor,Baldwin street,St Clair Beach all impressed me a lot. I would strongly recommend this programme to my friends when i go back to China.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
i could see wild animal everywhere downtown in the city
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Christina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Splendid Experience with the University of Otago in Dunedin

We are very lucky to have the opportunity to spend two weeks in the beautiful Dunedin and visit the University of Otago.This program offered us excellent condition so that we can fully experience the local customs and sceneries.Although it is cold winter in Dunedin now,but we still feel extremely warm because of the warm hospitality of the local people.Also we spent time participating in professional activities and that is good for our career planning.
Walking in the beautiful campus of the University of Otago,we can see the hardware facility is really good so that students at here can pour full attention into acadamic.And after taking few classes in the university ,the friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere also impressed me a lot,no matter to visitors or study.Everyone is patient to guide us.
All in all,we were able to exchange the cultures with our friends in New Zealand and make contributions to the friendship of our two countries.

What was your funniest moment?
One day my host mom drove her car to take me look around the campus, and I was totally impressed by the beautiful sceneries and full-of-vigor people. Cute sea birds walked straight towards me under crystal sunshine and wind blew on my face piercingly, but I did not feel cold at all,because eveything here is so magical and attractive to me. This moment will curve in my brain forever.
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Kimberly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 5 Months of My Life So Far

The University of Otago is amazing. The professors are super chill and really want you to learn. My professors were actually some of the nicest people I have ever met. Their passion for their subjects is contagious. I took Bioethics 301, Psychology of Language, and History of Christianity. All highly recommended. The students are also super welcoming and super fun! There is never a shortage of things to do in Dunedin, day or night. Really try to get to know the Kiwis because they are awesome people.
The country of New Zealand is unbelievable. If I had to guess what Heaven is like, it'd probably look something like New Zealand. Actually though. Sometimes I would look out the car window and would not feel like I was actually on Earth. It's crazy how many beautiful and varied places there are within such a small country. This makes it much easier to get out and explore tons of places. I've fell in love with the country and its people so much that I have thought about moving to NZ after graduation, at least for a period of time.
P.S. Do the Copland Track! It was one of my favorite hikes that a lot of people in my program never got around to doing. There's also natural hot pools when you get to the hut after the first day. Pretty neat.

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Cady
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Semester of my Life

I am originally from the United States and decided to go abroad to New Zealand. I chose Otago out of all the schools because the location and the courses. Otago was perfect for abroad because the academics weren't so hard that I spent my whole time in my room, but also challenged me in ways that my American university hadn't. I took a Maori class which was SO FUN and got to experience attending a bigger university. It has a reputation to be the biggest party school in NZ but I think that between Otago and Victoria (in Wellington) they are about equal. The housing was chilly but was actually really perfect. I got to live with international students and experience the best of NZ. I had a class, though, where the teacher was really aware and open about my "Americanness".. She would continually call me out/ask me to speak about how I felt about America... and to make things worse, I was over there right before the Trump/Clinton election... So she would crack jokes and say inappropriate things about the USA and my heritage.. So I went to the international office and they helped me switch classes really easily. It was hard but it was a really good experience to have under my belt (I mean.. we go abroad to experience new things including stigmas against us.. right?) Overall, Otago was a perfect fit for me (and if I could just transfer there permanently, trust me I would).. but my advice is go to Otago if you want to explore NZ and learn lots about Kiwis.. but don't go if you want a highly academic experience.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been helpful to have a little heads up on the main differences between NZ school and American school, but I really loved it, so that's my only suggestion!
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Melissa
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing and challenging experience!

By challenging, I don't mean it entirely in the academic sense but in the social aspect as well—trying to remember everyone you meet and putting yourself out of your comfort zone in only 5 months was a challenge. In terms of academics, I decided to take 300 level science classes and the material was a bit challenging for me since I didn’t take the proper pre-reqs but the professors were so friendly and supportive. They offered so much insight and resources to help international students succeed. In some cases they even recommended places to visit in New Zealand, so I definitely recommend introducing yourself or talking to them after class if you have a chance.

The campus is beautiful (despite all the construction), but it felt a bit smaller than what the images on the website and brochures may have evoked in size. The flats on Castle St owned by Uni are homey and spacious. I even had a sink in my room! The flats across the street though, not so much, so you should be prepared to see a lot of broken glass on the floor. Uni has a reputation for its party scene and Castle St. is famous for it. Ironically I didn’t know that before I moved in, so if you prefer a quieter place, make sure to note that in your housing survey. Still loved my flat and my experience on Castle.

Other recommendations: I recommend joining a club on campus if you actually want to meet a good amount of Kiwis. Most of the people I met were international students and a couple Kiwis from my classes.

What would you improve about this program?
Offer more events for international students to meet locals, such as volunteering events or a campus wide event. Also, the orientation presentation in the auditorium seemed unnecessary, maybe make the orientation experience more interactive or engaging.
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Zamora
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Trip I've ever had!

Oh man where do I start? I have so many beautiful memories from my trip to Dunedin and my study abroad experience at Otago. First of all I would like to thank the wonderful staff the made my trip outstanding, there was a lot of support from the University of Otago from all aspects. From the Uni flats staff to the professors at the University would always be at my service when ever I needed their help or support which is something that I've NEVER experienced at my home university. People are extremely friendly in through out New Zealand and I've made lots of friends while I was abroad. I will truly keep New Zealand very close to my heart for embracing me with open arms! Thank you!

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Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Otago- best four months of my life

Studying in Dunedin is one of the most kiwi things you can possibly do. Through the flatting system, I got to live with people from all over the world, from Kiwis to Brazilians. Dunedin is not far from some of the most gorgeous scenery in New Zealand- Mt. Aspiring National Park, the Remarkables, etc. and not far from tourist destinations of Wanaka and Queenstown. Dunedin itself boasts some incredible beaches and wildlife, some beautiful hills, and a very fun social scene. The academics can be as challenging or easy as you want depending on the classes you take. UniFlats was awesome and provided tons of support, fun events and meals, and information.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, can't think of much to improve on. Like I said, it was the best four months of my life.
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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Five Months Of My Short Life

In a sentence, my time in New Zealand was the most transformative, exciting, and time warped five months of my life. I loved every second of my time in New Zealand. I'll start with the academics because according to my dad, that was the reason I was there but I'll explain later, and you've probably heard before, study abroad is not really about the studying. The University of Otago is a far cry from my small liberal arts school in northern Washington State, as it is home to 24,000 students all whom work hard and play hard. In my labs I got to meet Kiwi students and work closely with professors, teaching fellows and peer demonstrators. I got to experience work on the research vessel the Polaris and see more of my adopted Otago region because of it. I loved the hands off teaching style that allows students to take their education into their own hands, I wasn't used to not having someone check up on my work, seeing if I was comfortable at with the material and at first I struggled. I was unsure how to study without a test every two weeks to prepare for, but after the first month I fell into stride and loved being responsible to manage my time.
Like I said before however, it wasn't the academics that made my adventure most memorable. It was the people and the places. I lived in University run housing, UniFlats and loved every minute. The flat housed 6 students, myself, two other americans, two kiwis and a brit, in a complex of 8 identical flats. I couldn't have loved my flatmates more and the whole complex became a family, with shall I say social events being held almost every night and weekend trips to the mountains and lakes and natural beauty of New Zealand being a regular occurrence. It was my time with these people who helped transform to be more willing to say yes, who got my blood pumping as I leaped off a bridge and who made time fly. There is so much more to be said about why you should go to NZ, the ample opportunity for professional networking, the ease of traveling around the country, the friendliness of the locals and so much more but to sum up, I loved my time abroad and can't for the next adventure.

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Cassidy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Real Hobbit Experience

Within the first month of arriving in New Zealand, I had already checked several things off my bucket list, some of which I didn’t even know were on there! One of those adventures was a trip to the West Coast.
After a class that went 3 hours past its scheduled time my entire flat and one other in our complex set out for what turned out to be the most challenging and rewarding trip of my life, so far. We drove about 4 hours from Dunedin and camped right outside Wanaka. It was the middle of winter and FREEZING! We piled into tents after throwing on a few extra layers and woke up in time to watch the sunrise. Had it been just a little warmer, it would have been the perfect start to the trip.
After another long drive, we arrived on the West Coast at the start of the Copland Track. This 23km track to the hut we stayed at began on a beach. We were surrounded by tropical foliage for the first hour or so of the hike. Through the course of the track, we crossed several rivers, both on wire bridges and by just walking through the middle of them, we climbed boulders, and we saw the foliage and birds change as we climbed in elevation. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, however, I was in terrible shape and felt like my legs were going to give out at any time. It took us about 6 hours to arrive at the hut and I haven’t was ecstatic to sit down! I felt like I had just conquered the world, while everyone else had just barely broken a sweat. We spent the night hanging out in the hot spring, admiring the snowcapped mountain and getting to know each other. I made several new friends that night and got closer to others.
That night, the warden came to the hut and told us that the track had closed while we were on it due to weather and that we could stay an extra day or be extremely careful the next day. We decided to trek through the rain. The rivers had rose and the mud was terrible, but we made it out without any problems. The 45kms total were the most strenuous thing I have ever gone through, but afterwards I was ready for the next one. I ended up doing 3 of the great walks, as well as many other hikes. Without the Copland track, I definitely wouldn’t have seen the beautiful nature that I was exposed to.

What would you improve about this program?
It was unclear what certain classes would be about when researching my schedule. It would be helpful to have syllabi available when choosing classes, rather than receiving them on the first day of class.
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Christian
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Discovered a second "home" in New Zealand

Before my experience abroad, the word "home" made me think of my parents house which I grew up in. While studying for almost half a year in New Zealand, I now think of the small student flat that I stayed in as my second home. New Zealand proved to be an adventurous, exciting, and friendly place. Whether I was watching the sunset and yellow eye penguins on a beach near campus, or summiting one of the many cool mountains, I had a smile on my face and a content feeling in my heart. For an outdoor enthusiast, the University of Otago was the perfect choice for a semester full of learning, growing, and fun!

What would you improve about this program?
The housing process could have been explained a little better before arrival.
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Kevin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Otago Experience

This country has everything an adventurous outdoors student could want. Even in the local area surrounding Dunedin, there is so much to explore (if one has a car). The peninsula is packed with great spots to sight see, rock climb, surf, and explore. University of Otago students foster a fun lifestyle that allows for lots of socialization. Overall, the south island offers so many opportunities for all sorts of adventures regardless of the activity.

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Jasmine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nostalgia and Withdrawals Guaranteed

Not only are all the teachers friendly, but they are incredibly direct and clear with their teaching style. The material covered is both stimulating and enriching, providing a diverse teaching style from the U. S.. Students have 3 teachers, who specialize in their own individual topics, to one course (in sciences) compared to the one in the states. My zoology classes consisted of publish readiness lab writings and field components. Aside from academics, Otago's backyard has the steepest street in the world, beautiful hike/tramp tracks (such as Silver Peaks), and some of the greatest mix of chill and entertaining Kiwis you'll meet. Not to mention incredibly accommodating international housing staff! The beauty of colorful sunsets and nightly milkyway will be missed; hiking/tramping is not the same outside of New Zealand!

What would you improve about this program?
There aren't any internships and community volunteer programs are limited.
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Caitlin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Travels Abroad

I have never been the biggest hiker, but I knew if I were going to New Zealand I would have to become one. While abroad I went on the most challenging hike I have ever done. Two of my friends and I set out on a two day forty six mile hike early one Saturday morning. I set out confident, thinking how hard could this be? Boy was I wrong. We endured every weather condition possible; rain, sleet, snow, hail, wind, and occasional sunshine. It was tough and at times I just wanted to give up. However, giving up is not an option when you are miles away from a town. So I pushed on and that day completed the first twenty miles of the forty six mile hike. We stayed the night in a hut and the following morning set out back home. That day was absolutely grueling. I was sore, it was cold but the views made all the hard work worth it. I have never seen anything as spectacular as I did that day. We pushed on and twenty six demanding hours later made it back to the car. The sense of accomplishment after completing a hike I never thought I could do, is a feeling I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
The communication between the university and I could have been improved. It took quite sometime to hear back from the university when I emailed them. Other than that, I thought the program was fantastic and i would recommend it to anyone interested in studying abroad.
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Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

This was the best five months of my life. I was able to experience independence in a safe and somewhat familiar environment. I was able to travel, make friends, and embark on a multitude of outdoor adventures.

What would you improve about this program?
I can't think of anything that should change.
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Jessica
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful, supportive University

Otago University is the best university in the southern hemisphere. The professors are outstanding and love to help international students. Definitely recommend joining the tramping club as it's a great way to go on organized, overnight hikes, and you can also meet a lot of people! Dunedin is a beautiful city and it's pretty easy to travel around the south island. The community is very warm and welcoming and I will always be a scarfie at heart.

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About University of Otago

Find study abroad programs at the University of Otago. New Zealand's First University! Located in Australasia's true College City with the best access to New Zealand's beautiful scenery.