Study in Dunedin at the world-class University of Otago—New Zealand’s oldest university. Nestled along the southeast coast of the South Island, Dunedin will serve as your gateway to New Zealand’s many natural wonders. Explore the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, trek through jungles of dense bush, and catch some rays on the beautiful, white sand beaches. The Semester in New Zealand – South Island program invites you to become part of a distinguished educational experience in a vibrant, cosmopolitan city. With numerous shopping districts, eateries, cafés, and night-owl venues, you’ll always be entranced and entertained.
- GPA Requirement
- Application Deadlines
Spring: October 15
Fall: April 15
- Avg Course Load
- 3-4 Courses (12-16 US credits)
- Language(s) of Instruction
Key Program Highlights
- Travel options to beaches, coastline, mountains, and wilderness right outside your door
- Additional excursion to Sydney, Australia for all New Zealand semester students
- A bustling, cosmopolitan city of Dunedin
- "Lord of the Rings" country
- Service-learning and volunteer opportunities
Your Journey Begins Here
Connect with your Global Advisor to start planning. Apply by the application deadline.
Meet your Program Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, payments, etc. Attend a pre-departure orientation.
Fly away. You'll be greeted at the airport, participate in a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.
Life in Dunedin
Welcome and Orientation
Upon arrival you’ll take part in a three day CISabroad orientation program in Wellington, then a shorter one hosted by the university in Dunedin. You’ll learn the “do’s and don’ts” of living in Dunedin, New Zealand. Where to go out, how to stay safe, getting around, best places to buy food are just a few of questions that will be answered. You’ll also learn some helpful Kiwi and Maori sayings and gain some insights into NZ culture. As we know students love food, we will also host you to a yummy welcome meal showcasing modern Asian food that Wellington is known for.
Farewell and Re-entry Program
At the end of the program we will all get together for one last epic meal and talk about your adventures and experiences. Our staff will also share some precious tips on going back home feeling like a champ! Your study abroad experience is something to be cherished and shared with your family and friends back home.
As a Semester in New Zealand – South Island student your accommodation will be self-catered, at the Otago University Flats. The flats are located within a quick walking distance from the University of Otago campus and only ten minutes from the main city shopping center. Students who live in these off-campus flats will have the opportunity to live with New Zealanders, and can immerse themselves in, and learn more about, the Kiwi culture.
- Basic kitchen set up to prepare your meals
- Bedrooms contain a double bed with mattress, a desk, chair, and drawers.
- Street Art Trail: Experience 28 vibrant, whimsical artworks from international & local artists.
- Foodie Life: Dive into the cuisine scene.
- Outdoor Life: Explore Dunedin’s iconic surf beaches, bike tracks & golf courses this summer.
- Wildlife: Enjoy the beauty of Dunedin's eco-tour attractions. They are easily accessible to students and interns living in the city.
More About Dunedin
Dunedin is a small, lively, coastal city that lives up to New Zealand's reputation for natural beauty and adventure. Just over 120,000 folks call this city home, which is located towards the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island. Considered the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin has an impressive selection of restaurants, bars, nightlife, museums, shopping, and natural attractions. The city's preserved Victorian architecture feels like stepping back in time.
Consider Dunedin ground zero for hiking, skiing, water sports, and adventure tourism (including bungee jumping). For the adrenaline junkies, journey up to Queenstown, which is considered the adventure capital of the world. For a more mellow experience, explore the majestic Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Film buffs might want to tour the many filming locations of The Lord of The Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia. Dunedin is a UNESCO-designated City of Literature. Another fun fact: the city is home to Baldwin Street, which holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the steepest street in the world.
New Zealanders, also known as "Kiwis," are very proud of their sports teams, especially rugby. In Dunedin, join the locals cheering on their favorite rival teams, including the All Blacks or Highlanders. And, you don't have to just sit on the sidelines. You can play intramural rugby at the University of Otago for the complete New Zealand experience.
While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in weekend and day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Experience a city that’s reinventing itself after the 2010-11 earthquakes. Visit the amazing cardboard cathedral made out of giant "toilet rolls," dine at food vendors in the mall housed in shipping containers, and ride the Gondola up to the top of the Port Hills.
This is a chance to take the ferry from Wellington to Picton and spend the weekend in the marvelous Marlborough Sounds.
Explore Sydney like a true local and fall in love with the city that has it all: wonderful beaches, amazing food and exotic wildlife. During your time in Australia you will discover the Opera House’s secrets, the iconic Bondi Beach and meet our lovely kangaroos and koalas! The schedule may also include a visit to the Blue Mountains, an excursion to Hunter Valley, whale watching or a surfing lesson.
If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.
How to Choose Your Courses
Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page and once you’ve decided which courses you want to take. Fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.
Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.
Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet.
How to choose your courses
Now the fun part! As part of the application process you will be required to complete the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet found in the CISabroad Application Page. The following instructions will guide you through the steps of choosing your courses. You can choose courses in a wide variety of disciplines, including business, humanities, sciences, and health sciences. Please note that study abroad students typically are not permitted to take “papers,” aka classes, from the following degree areas: Dentistry, Medicine, Medical Laboratory Science, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy.
Course descriptions and catalog: Click here to view all courses offered.
Timetables: Timetables are included in the description of each course.
How to read the University of Otago course catalog
You will find “papers,” aka courses, offered at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. The 200- and 300-level papers are often equivalent to courses that you would take in your junior and senior years in the US. They will have prerequisites. Papers above the 300 level are graduate-level.
Semester 1 in New Zealand is considered spring semester in the US, and Semester 2 is considered fall semester. A number of papers are listed as whole-year. You may enroll for these papers only if you intend to enroll for 2 semesters starting in Semester 1.
At the University of Otago, you can study in a harbor city on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Don't be fooled by Otago's age as the country's oldest university (founded in 1869); you'll find a lively and exciting community. The University’s campus is a picturesque mix of grand architecture and gardens alongside more modern buildings. You can reach Dunedin's vibrant center in just a short walk. Since this is a comprehensive university, students are able to enroll in any of the the subjects offered on campus.
To truly immerse yourself, consider joining a club—there are literally hundreds of clubs to choose from. New Zealand is known for its scenery for a reason, and the ever-popular outdoorsy clubs will help you explore the South Island's splendor. If you'd like to lend a helping hand, Otago also has many volunteer and service learning opportunities. Finally, you can take a deep dive into learning about the native Maori culture of New Zealand.
The University of Otago has about 20,000 students, including 1,000 international students from over 100 countries. While Otago is considered a larger university, Dunedin is actually quite quaint. In fact, Otago accounts for about 20 percent of Dunedin’s population. Dunedin is the perfect place to study abroad if you want to live in a historic setting with a college-town vibe!
Accreditation: EQUIS and AACSB
Rebecca Garibaldi - Colby Sawyer College
Program SupportMeet Our Staff
Before, during, and after your study abroad experience, you’ll be supported by the dedicated and passionate CISabroad staff. Our goal is quick responses to your questions before you depart, and even quicker once you’ve arrived on site.
Robust Advising Center
Our team of advisors will help you choose a program, connect with your home university regarding classes and financial aid and get you prepared to apply for your program.
Team of Dedicated Program Coordinators
Your Program Coordinator will assist you in finalizing housing, enrolling in courses, booking flights, obtaining visas, arranging payments, and provide pre-departure orientation.
Experienced On-site Staff
From greeting you at the airport to a robust On-site Orientation to La Vida Local Activities our on-site staff will be there to support you throughout your time on-site.
Our support doesn’t end when your program does. We have alumni programming, webinars, and resources to help you readjust when you’ve returned from your experience.
Your Support Staff
Global Advising Team
Emma Van Loon
Program Coordinator - Australia and New Zealand
Site Director of New Zealand
Application DeadlineOctober 15ArrivalFebruary 17OrientationFebruary 19Classes StartFebruary 26Classes EndJune 1DepartureJune 24PRICE$20,290
Application DeadlineApril 15ArrivalJune 31 (Estimated)OrientationJune 31-July 1 ; Otago Orientation July 9 -13 (Estimated)Classes StartJuly 16 (Estimated)Classes EndOctober 12; Exams: October 17 - November 10 (Estimated)DepartureNovember 22 (Estimated)PRICE$20,290 (Estimated)
CISabroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.
As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.
Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:
- Full-time tuition and fees
- Medical and accident insurance
- Academic advising
- Financial aid counseling
- Predeparture orientation
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
- Airport pickup
- University of Otago orientation
- 4-day Sydney, Australia excursion
- University of Otago official transcript
- NYTimes Digital Subscription
- La Vida Local cultural program