Otago Polytechnic

Summer studies in New Zealand for North American students

2020 dates to be confirmed


Embark on a journey to deepen your understanding of the preservation of our natural environment while broadening your intercultural awareness by discovering the unique culture of the first people of southern New Zealand – a tribe of Māori known as Kāi Tahu.


Who is this for?

This short course is for North American students currently enrolled in a qualification with their host organisation. We already partner with:

  • Humber College (Toronto)
  • Kaua’i Community College (Hawaii)
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • Nebraska Community College


What will I learn?

Sustainability in Nature course (3 Otago Polytechnic credits) 

Take the opportunity to engage with the natural environment and learn the skills to make a real difference to the future of our planet.

New Zealand’s stunning mountains, forests and waterways are the perfect setting for a life-changing overseas experience. Enhance your awareness and deepen your knowledge of sustainability and systems thinking meaning the ability to see everything as interconnected and interrelated.

The outdoors will become your classroom as you explore sustainability issues in one of New Zealand’s most diverse wildlife ecosystems and the site of a world-leading ecosanctuary - Dunedin and its surrounding areas. Take the opportunity to actively participate in ecological restoration, and interaction with locals who share their own stories on what they are doing to make a difference. The course includes a ‘journey’ – a hike through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and untouched natural terrain.

“The instructors, the activities and the bonds that were formed with others will stay with me forever.” - 2018 student.


Constructing Culture – Understanding a Bicultural Perspective course (3 Otago Polytechnic credits)

Our world is a global village made up of numerous ethnic groups and diverse communities all co-existing in increasingly less-defined geographic regions. As individuals, we are increasingly aware of difference but can be uncertain of how to understand or co-exist alongside it. This can be particularly true when interacting with First Nation peoples. First Nation peoples occupy a unique space in any global village as their cultural practices, knowledge and understanding of the world do not exist in any other place.

Embark on a course that looks at the Kāi Tahu tribe’s relationship with the Crown through ‘The Treaty of Waitangi’ - the founding document of New Zealand. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage with unique cultural experiences such as staying on a Marae, the traditional meeting house of the Māori people.

Learn about the conditions that created contemporary New Zealand society and take advantage of this opportunity to examine and reflect on your own cultural context, and the relationships in the places we share.

“Being emerged in the Māori culture gave me a deeper understanding of New Zealand and took the trip to a whole new level than if I had come by myself.” - 2018 student.


Course credits 

Both of the courses are worth 3 Otago Polytechnic credits. Please check with your host institution to see how these match up to their credit system.


Cost and inclusions

Fee: NZD $4,000 per person, paid directly to Otago Polytechnic. (You may be eligible for a bursary from your home institution to subsidise the cost.)


Included in the cost:

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off from Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Accommodation mainly with New Zealand homestay family (also includes camping expenses)
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner during the course dates
  • Expenses for extracurricular activities and transportation for visits and transfers.

Not included in the cost:

  • Round-trip airfares (book your own flights)
  • Activity fee outside those included in the course itinerary
  • Incidentals, spending money
  • Travel health insurance for the course dates – please check with your college to see if they can provide cover
  • Baggage and trip cancellation insurance, if desired
  • Students who are not American or Canadian citizens may be required to apply for an entry visa to New Zealand
  • Visa to enter New Zealand.


For more information/to apply

Phone +64 3 477 3014 (and ask to speak with Sarah Sellar)

Email sarah.sellar@op.ac.nz