University of Otago - Semester or Year Abroad


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General information applicable to all Bridging Cultures Program  Semester and Year Abroad Programs:

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad offers programs at the University of Otago through our partner International Studies Abroad.

Please click here to apply or learn more about the University of Otago and all other New Zealand program options.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad has designed the University of Otago program with your individual student goals in mind. It is built around a unique Discovery Model which is delivered by some of the best staff in study abroad, both in the U.S. and overseas, in order to provide you with an individualized experience through discovery in 5 key areas: personal, academic, cultural, social, and career. Learn more about the Discovery Model.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, formerly known as AustraLearn, offers semester and year abroad programs at the University of Otago. The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university, established in Dunedin in 1869. It is one of New Zealand’s most prestigious universities, and has an international reputation for teaching and research excellence.

Dunedin is New Zealand’s only true University Cityone in six of Dunedin’s population is a university student. Offering students an unrivalled campus experience and vibrant social and cultural life, the campus is just a few blocks from the city center, and almost all students live within walking distance of the campus and key facilities.





About Dunedin

The University of Otago is located in the southernmost of New Zealand’s main centers, in the province of Otago. Although relatively small in size, Dunedin boasts many natural attractions as well as facilities usually offered only by cities many times its size.

Located on the edge of the Dunedin Botanic Garden, the Otago campus is very beautiful. The Water of Leith winds its way past the majestic stone Clocktower (a visible reminder of the University’s history and tradition of learning), the state-of-the-art Centre for Innovation and the many character villas which house much of Otago’s student population.

Dunedin is a gateway to Central Otago and Fiordland where opportunities abound for hiking, skiing, water sports, adventure tourism (including bungee jumping), or just admiring the spectacular landscapes.

Around the University

The campus life at Otago is legendary. Almost all students live with walking distance of the main campus, and most students walk between their flats, campus, and the city center - which is just a few minutes’ walk from the center of the campus. The colorful city center is full of cafes, restaurants, bars, boutiques and shopping centers of an international standard.

The University Union is the hub of social life on campus. Centrally located, Union facilities include a clothing and gift shop, bar and restaurant, and an extensive food court cafe where students can meet between lectures for study breaks, meals or just coffee with friends.

Other attractions around the campus include the 28 hectares of trees and park-land in the city’s Botanic Gardens, which is located just a few hundred meters from lecture theatres. The gardens are a popular lunch-time venue for students and staff. Also close by is the fairy-tale-like architecture of the historic Dunedin Railway Station, and reputedly the World’s steepest street, Baldwin Street, which runs an annual (and literal) gut-buster race. A recent and popular addition to the city is the peaceful Chinese Gardens, created to remember the city’s Chinese industrial past.

Students benefit from Dunedin’s relatively inexpensive cost living, and it is a safe city in which to live. It is also easy to get out and about and take advantage of everything it has to offer - from the Pacific Ocean 10 minutes’ drive from the campus, to one of the 150 walking tracks in the Dunedin surrounds.

Academic Highlights

  • Earth and Ocean Sciences (Geology, Marine Science)
  • Environmental Sciences (Ecology)
  • Biological Sciences (Botany, Zoology)
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Medical Sciences (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology)
  • Social Sciences (Anthropology, Geography)
  • New Zealand and Pacific Studies
  • History, Literature, Art History, Political Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Maori Studies
  • Religion & Theology
  • Psychology
  • Business (Economics, International Business, Management, Marketing)
  • Tourism

University Services

The International Office coordinates all services for study abroad students from application through to accommodation placement, arrival services and orientation, and ongoing advice and support.

As well as the specialized, individual support provided by the International Office, the University offers a comprehensive range of student services, including the Student Learning Centre, Disability, Information and Support, Information Technology Services, libraries, Recreation Services (including the Student gym complex called Unipol), Student Health and Counseling Service, and OUSA - the Otago University Students’ Association.

The Student Learning Center provides academic support to all students. Study abroad students are able to access computer resource rooms around campus for word processing, access to computer assisted learning programs, and various other resources such as email and web browsing.

Otago has a modern Information Services building incorporating a spacious central library and modern computing facilities. This complex provides the most advanced library and IT facilities in Australasia.


As a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad student you are guaranteed pre-arranged accommodation to fit your lifestyle. There are a variety of housing options available which you will apply for after acceptance. Read below for more specific options offered at this university:

Part of Otago’s special character can be found in its accommodation quarter. Study abroad students live in self-catering, shared apartments/houses (or ‘flats’) located immediately around the central campus area. Normally 4-6 students share a house or apartment, and it is possible for our International Accommodation Advisors to place students in apartments with New Zealand resident students.

Flatting is an important part of Otago’s unique student lifestyle. It offers students both independence and responsibility. Living so close to campus, students feel a real sense of community and belonging in a very pleasant and supportive environment.


The GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program is our signature orientation program for all semester and year abroad students. The cost for this multi-day program is included in your program fees and covers several nights accommodation, most meals, local transportation, and excursions.

Typically 4-6 days in length, each orientation program includes:

  • Exciting excursions and activities
  • A chance to meet other students
  • Orientation sessions to help you adapt to your new country

Orientation sites vary based on the location of your program. Each site is selected based on the proximity to your host university as well as for the unique activities available within the area.

Read more about the Bridging Cultures Program>


In addition to the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program which is included in your program fees Otago study abroad students are required to take part in a two-day orientation program held immediately before the beginning of each semester. The program provides an ideal opportunity to be introduced to life in Dunedin and New Zealand, and provides practical information about services and facilities at the University for study abroad students. It is also a chance to meet fellow students, student mentors, and University staff and see some of the local sights.

Special Programs/Excursions

Discovery Activities

Planned Excursions & Events
Our in-country resident staff arranges scheduled activities with students throughout the year. Activities are optional and designed to explore the five key areas of discovery: academic, social, personal, cultural, and professional. These are not just visits to tourist attractions. For example, these are activities such as networking opportunities, local festivals, gallery openings, and other similar events that you can’t find in a travel book. These activities will truly enhance your experience.
On-Going Activities
Your exploration of the culture, the academics, the people, and yourself is what will truly enhance your experience. Through the Discovery Model, our in-country staff will provide you with advice and recommendations for other types of activities you can undertake in order achieve your individual goals.

Specific Excursions Included in Your Program Fees

Multi Day Excursions included in your program fee
In addition to the Bridging Cultures Program, a free multi-day excursion is included in all semester/year abroad programs in Australia, New Zealand, or Fiji. Students studying in these destinations can choose from one of the four excursions listed to the right. The cost of the excursion is included; however, you will need to pay for transportation to the destination. Learn more>

Other Tours and Travel Available

Beyond our included orientation and excursions, you will be able to pre-book a wide variety of day, weekend, and week-long tours at a discounted price through our travel partner, STA Travel. These trips provide the ultimate flexibility for you to travel where you want to go, when you want to go, and with whom you want to go. Most trips have open dates, so you can pre-book the trip(s) that interest you, yet choose your dates later on in your semester. This flexibility also means friends that you make from other countries/programs or even your friends and family who are visiting you abroad can also participate. Learn more>

University of Otago Activities

Situated in close proximity to varied wildlife, ecological, marine, and geological research environments, the departments across Otago’s Division of Sciences make the most of the huge natural laboratory on their doorstep. New Zealand specific content and exploratory field trips are common components to many science courses in, for example, botany, ecology, geography, geology, and marine science.

Otago offers many courses which provide the opportunity learn about and engage with the culture and language of the indigenous peoples of New Zealand and Polynesia.

Students are able to focus on the Māori culture – language, performing arts, weaving – and/or the culture of the Pacific Islands. Enrolment in one or more papers with New Zealand content will be an excellent complement to the Study Abroad experience.

Otago’s School of Business offers more than 250 courses which cover a diverse range of topics from those with a global perspective to those with a distinctly New Zealand flavor. Consider the ‘New Zealand wine business and tourism’ course and those focusing on ecotourism operations, environmental economics, and event and convention management.

Get Involved Abroad

Extracurricular Activities

There are many recreational opportunities within minutes of Dunedin’s city center. The unique natural environment of the Otago Peninsula is home to colonies of yellow-eyed penguins, seals, sea lions, and the world’s only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross. A little further afield, students can explore some of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions in the subtropical rainforests of the Catlins or the rich flora and fauna of the fiords in Doubtful and Milford Sounds. 

An exceptionally diverse range of sporting and recreational activities are also readily accessible from Dunedin. The long, natural harbor provides ideal surroundings for wind surfing, diving, yachting, surfing, canoeing, rowing, and fishing. There are more than 150 walking tracks in and around Dunedin, four championship golf courses, and St Clair beach is considered one of New Zealand’s best for surfing.

In contrast to Dunedin’s coastal environment, the inland region of Central Otago boasts stunning lakes, rivers, and mountains and enjoys weather that allows snow sports in the winter and water sports in the summer. The Otago region is home to some of the best ski and boarding resorts in New Zealand and these snow sports, along with kayaking, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking, are just some of the activities readily accessible from Dunedin.

The fashion industry is particularly vibrant, with several of New Zealand’s leading designers based in the city. The Dunedin Art Gallery, the Otago Museum, and other museums and libraries are among the finest in the country, and professional theatre enjoys a high profile. 

An excellent program of activities is available through Clubs and Societies and Recreation Services at the University of Otago. Opportunities range from wine tours, cycle tours, horseback riding, belly dancing classes, mosaic art courses to surfing and sailing classes. A large pool of equipment is also available for hire, while the advice about the recreation and leisure options around Dunedin and the Otago region is freely given.

Community Involvement

While abroad, we recommend getting involved in your local community. It's an awesome way to meet locals, experience the true New Zealand culture, and create long lasting memories. From volunteering to festival-going, we challenge you to make the most of your international experience... See a sample of community involvement opportunities available in Dunedin or discover your own upon arrival!

You'll get a taste of how enriching community involvement can be during your first few days in New Zealand on the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program. The program includes one day of pre-arranged volunteering with the local community. You'll interact directly with locals while giving back to and sharing your own culture with the community that first welcomes you to New Zealand. Plus, you can continue your volunteer efforts later in the semester by signing up for the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Conservation Volunteer Weekend.

Course Catalog

To determine if the classes you need are available at this university, select Courses/Subjects to view the specific course options.

Tips: For advice on navigating the university’s course catalog, use the Selecting Courses link. You may also view the suggested grade and credit transfer information through the Grade Conversion.

If you have any questions about course availability, please contact


Photo Slideshow

Watch a slideshow of photos highlighting the University of Otago.


University of Otago
All fees listed are for first term onlyYear Abroad Advice
Program FeesTBD
Housing with MealsN/A
Housing without MealsApproximately $3,300 - $3,800
What's includedSee below

Fee Includes

Your Personalized Semester/Year Program Includes

  • Tuition and instruction
  • Host university activity and insurance fees
  • 24/7 support for students and parents at home and abroad
  • Pre-departure materials and travel gear
  • Comprehensive assistance
  • Personal program manager
  • Scholarship and financial aid assistance
  • Facilitation of course selection / credit transfer

Activity and Excursion Package

Additional Housing Fee

Housing amenities are generally:

  • Single room
  • Technology package available
  • Linen package available

An additional refundable housing deposit may be required for your housing selection. This housing is self-catered, therefore you will have access to a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals.

*All fees are subject to change.




Should you receive an offer, your offer letter will provide you with the most up to date university start dates. GlobaLinks Learning Abroad will attempt to provide you with the most up-to-date information as we receive it. Be sure to confirm dates before finalizing any travel plans. 

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have the required GPA and have completed at least the equivalent of one year of full-time study at the university/college level. Students with a lower GPA than the requirement may be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact our office for more information.

Required GPA: 3.00