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international programs

New Zealand

office of international programs


New Zealand, or Aotearoa, is composed primarily of two main islands—North Island and South Island—which vary greatly from each other. Located approximately 900 miles east of Australia and a long distance from other lands, New Zealand has its own unique flora and fauna. Originally settled by the Maori people over 1000 years ago, the country became inhabited by Europeans starting in 1640. Although the majority of New Zealanders today are of European descent, the Maoris have a strong influence on the culture. Sports such as rugby and cricket play an important role in Kiwi culture, and various other outdoor activities are popular in New Zealand’s pristine and naturally beautiful environment.

Boston College students wishing to spend a semester or year in New Zealand can study at the University of Otago, located in the city of Dunedin. The University offers full integration, allowing BC students to study alongside their New Zealand counterparts.

BC Programs - Semester & Academic Year

BC students wishing to study in New Zealand have the choice of a semester or academic year at the University of Otago, located in Dunedin, which is one of New Zealand's premiere institutes of higher education.

Speak to an OIP Advisor

In preparation for your study abroad in New Zealand, you will work with a Boston College OIP Advisor who specializes in this country and in BC's programs there. Your advisor will help guide you through the application and pre-departure process, as well as act as your main contact with BC while abroad. For students studying abroad in New Zealand, your advisor is Minna Ha.

To find out more information about this program, schedule an appointment. 


New Zealand Lake with Mountains in the background

Currency in New Zealand

The main unit of currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar. ATM's are widespread and are your best way to get New Zealand currency. It is important to remember that NZ dollars and US dollars are not equivalent, and students should consult a currency conversion calculator.


Current Events & News Resources

In preparation for your time in New Zealand, you should familiarize yourself with the current events and contemporary issues facing the island nation. By knowing about your host country before you arrive, you are making yourself a more informed traveler, a more receptive student and a better prepared individual. Following these and other news sources will be of great value in preparing you for your time abroad.


Large rocks on the beach at sunset

Language & Customs

The official languages of New Zealand are English, Maori and NZ Sign Language, but over 98% of New Zealanders speak English, so BC students can rely on their own language skills to get around.

New Zealand customs may be very different than many in the United States. It is best to familiarize yourself with acceptable practices before you arrive in the country. Some tips for successful cultural integration may be found here.


Visa Information

To study in New Zealand, you must have a passport (valid at least six months beyond your estimated return date) and a student visa. You may apply for a passport at any major U.S. post office.

The University of Otago will send you an official acceptance letter. You should then go to the New Zealand Government Immigration website here. Click on the “Study” section and then “Get a Student Visa.” Be sure to read the “Requirements” section and then click on “How to Apply.” If you are a U.S. citizen, there is no fee for a student visa. Print the application and Student Visa Guide. On occasion, a student might be asked for an x-ray; the New Zealand Immigration Office will contact you directly should it be necessary. You will be required to show evidence of financial support while in New Zealand; this is standard procedure for most countries. Page 12 of the Guide gives clear instructions on how to complete section G: Financial Support; however, in general, you are asked to show proof that you have at least $1000 NZD per month of your stay to support yourself. Make certain that when you are applying for your visa you provide an e-mail address that you use regularly. If there are any problems in the granting of your visa you will be contacted by e-mail. Carefully complete the application and send it to the correct New Zealand visa office; you can find out where to send your application here.

Vaccinations are not required for U.S. citizens; however, you should check the New Zealand Department of Immigration website for recommendations.