Otago Polytechnic

Summer studies in New Zealand

1–29 June 2020

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.

You may be able to earn credits depending on your home institution's requirements for two papers:

  1. Sustainability through Nature
  2. Constructing Culture – Understanding a bicultural perspective


Who is this for?

This summer programme is for international students currently enrolled in a qualification with their host organisation. We already partner with these colleges, but if your institution is not yet a partner, get in touch with us and we'll start the process:

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


Here's what previous students have to say about their Summer Studies experience:

"The instructors, the activities and the bonds that were formed with others will stay with me forever."

"Being immersed 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."

"I will never forget all of the wonderful memories I have made throughout this trip."

"Without the proper education from this program, I would not have been able to critically analyze my own lifestyle."

What will I learn?

1. Sustainability through Nature (5 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. Use evidence based frameworks and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to plan a relevant project in your local context.

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 city of Dunedin. The landscape is home to incredibly diverse ecosystems and the site of a world-leading ecosanctuary with abundant wildlife. Take the opportunity to actively participate in ecological restoration and interact with local people who will 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.

2. Constructing Culture – Understanding a Bicultural Perspective (5 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.



Course credits 

Both of the courses are worth 5 Otago Polytechnic credits. Please check with your host institution to see how these match up to their credit system.

Programme cost and inclusions

Fee: NZD $4,150 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:

  • Accommodation with a New Zealand homestay family
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off from Dunedin, New Zealand to your homestay family.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner during the programme dates
  • Expenses for extracurricular activities and transportation for programme-related excursions.
  • Travel insurance for travel and course dates.

Not included in the cost:

  • Round-trip airfares (book your own flights)
  • Activity fees outside those included in the programme itinerary
  • Incidentals and spending money
  • 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


Find out about our Dunedin campus >