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University of Otago

Program Overview 

Location: Otago, New Zealand
Culture: Supportive/collaborative, outdoorsy
Neighborhood: Flanked by mountains, harbor and sea, active
Housing: Homestay
English level: Beginner - intermediate

As the oldest university in New Zealand, the University of Otago has a long tradition of education and teaching excellence. This is translated both through their rigorous courses as well as their respect for their cultural history. 

Sports and outdoor activities are commonplace and popular among the students. The university has the Forsyth Barr Stadium on campus, which is New Zealand’s only covered sports field, where student can catch top-level rugby matches. The university showcases many fine examples of what New Zealand has to offer SAF Scholars.

The university is situated in Dunedin, considered the gateway to the South Island. Nestled between the mountains, harbor, and the sea, natural beauty abounds and there are easy connections to other outdoor activities in the area.

Student Profile

SAF Scholars seeking a personalized language learning experience would benefit from the program at Otago. The university offers many varieties of support and assistance, so students who prefer to be in close communication with staff would be well-suited. The right-fit student would also enjoy outdoor and adventurous activities.

Other Programs at University

The University of Otago also offers SAF Scholars the opportunity to participate in an Academic Program.

Other Comparable Programs

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Semester 2/Fall (August – December)
Fall + Winter (August – February)
Academic Year (August – June)
Spring + Summer (February – August)
Spring + Summer + Fall (February – December)
Spring + Summer + Fall + Winter (February – February)

Program Strengths

With a maximum class size of 18 students, Otago understands the importance of a personalized and supportive learning environment.

Number of Classroom Hours Per Week


Number of Levels


Elective Courses Offered


Progression or Concurrent Notes

A progression option is available. Students that choose this program will need to achieve at least a 75% or higher in the program in order to advance to academic classes. The following minimum language proficiency scores are the minimums necessary to choose this option:
IELTS: 5.5

Housing Type



The homestay families will provide scholars with the opportunity to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the family every day of the week.

Type of Room

Homestay room
Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

SAF Scholars have access to many university resources, from its libraries to the 24-hour computer centers. The Otago University Student Association (OUSA) is also open for students to utilize, which manages the student-centric clubs and support networks. Between the numerous sports clubs and societies, from Kayak Racing to Meditation Club to Spearfishing and Hunting, students will find something that interests them.

Life on Campus

With the student population of 20,000 making up approximately one fifth of the city’s population, life on campus could never be considered isolated. Dunedin developed together with the university, making education a long lasting priority to the town.

Last Updated: 1/9/19