New Zealand. Home to the incredible Maori people, daring adventurers from all over, and even the occasional hobbit. From its superb beaches to awe-inspiring volcanoes, New Zealand has natural wonders that would make any traveler want to hop on a plane right this second! New Zealand is an amazing country, all around! We’ve hand picked these destinations for their well-rounded qualities. Big cities mean more variety in study abroad programs. Smaller cities are located centrally, so your weekends will be filled with tons of awesome adventures. All destinations have wonderful beaches and natural wonders, along with delicious food and incredible culture. From mountain peaks to traditional Maori dishes like hāngi, all destinations on our list will give you an incredible study abroad experience.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, with over 1.6 million people and five major universities. One of the schools, University of Auckland, is the country’s largest university with almost 40,000 students. There are plenty of opportunities to study abroad here! Because the city is such a cultural hub, many programs center around studying the Maori culture, art, and history.
Plus, studying abroad in Auckland puts you close to world famous beaches like Takapuna. Spend your afternoon stretched out on the beach, sand between your toes, suntanning. (Just don’t forget sunscreen!) When you’re done at the beach, you can meet up with some friends at one of the many fancy and delicious restaurants and bars nearby. Not a beach person? No problem! Take a late morning stroll through the Waitakere Ranges, with its rolling hills and lush rainforest. There’s no shortage of beautiful outdoor activities for when you need to get out of the big city.
Wellington is a gorgeous city where the wildness of New Zealand meets hipster coffee shops and creative arts programs. There are plenty of outdoor attractions, such as the nearby Mount Victoria Lookout or the Zealandia sanctuary in Karori. But Wellington is more famous for its culture! The city is bursting with restaurants and bars; it’s reported to have more restaurants and bars per capita than even New York City.
Study abroad opportunities are also filled with culture and creative arts. Wellington’s main university, Massey University, has a wide array of creative arts programs, from writing to film and music. Victoria University, the other major college in Wellington, has a world-renowned performing arts department as well!
Nicknamed The Garden City, Christchurch’s lush green landscape and abundance of public parks and gardens will welcome you with open arms! Christchurch is known for its English history and definitely has a more western culture feel. The Gothic Revival architecture will transport you back in time with its steep, sloping roofs, and lace and lattice work carvings. Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island, but still maintains a small town feel.
Christchurch’s main industry is agriculture, making it a great place for students interested in plants and farming. It is also a “gateway city” for Antarctic exploration. Its Antarctic support bases make it perfect for students aching to investigate the Antarctic.
The University of Canterbury, New Zealand's second oldest university, is the main university in Christchurch, and many study abroad programs will go through the school. Keeping with the theme of agriculture, the University of Canterbury prides itself on the natural sciences, plant and animal biology, ecology, and geology research programs! The campus is gorgeous, with plenty of green spaces for stretching out with a book or some homework.
In 2014, Dunedin was designated as a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. The city has a ton of literary heritage. There are a plethora of literary events, businesses, institutions and organizations. There is also a current-day community of playwrights and writers. The literary scene is huge in Dunedin, so if literature is your thing, Dunedin is the place to be!
If you study abroad in New Zealand in Dunedin, your two choices of university are University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic. Otago Polytechnic represents Dunedin’s other specialty: technology! Attending the University of Otago likely means living in their legendary student flattings, or residential college communities. There are 15 of them, some of which are especially for international students! Plus, a ton of these communities are in awesome historic houses. This university also has six libraries, making them even more attractive for you bibliophiles out there.
Palmerston North is often referred to as the Student City because half of its population is under the age of 25. This type of environment makes it perfect for study abroad students! (It’s also often ranked as super affordable, for you budget-savvy travelers.) The city itself is relatively small, but its location on the North Island makes it primo for weekend outings.
Massey University’s original campus, the nation’s largest business college, is located in Palmerston North as well. If you don’t want to study business, Massey University also has great programs in life sciences, agriculture, horticulture, and veterinary studies. Massey University has international and local students alike, so you’ll have the chance to meet and even live with lots of interesting people!
Hamilton is the fourth largest city in New Zealand, which means you’ll get the big city feel with less traffic and pollution. Plus, just an hour away, you’ll find wonderful, relaxing, boiling mud pools in Rotorua. And, of course, you can never be far from an amazing beach in New Zealand!
Hamilton has three main universities: the University of Waikato, Waikato Institute of Technology, and Te Wananga o Aotearoa. The University of Waikato has the most international student programs. In fact, the university even supports a “buddy system,” assigning each foreigner a guide to help them adjust to life in Hamilton. The University of Waikato also offers scholarships for international students!
This university specializes in marine science. The campus sprawls across over 150 acres of gardens with native plantings, three artificial lakes, and expansive sporting and recreational areas. You’ll love being immersed in the lush landscape and New Zealand culture here. The university, plus the awesome location makes Hamilton one of the best places to study abroad in New Zealand.
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