Looking for the best place to study abroad in New Zealand for you? Are you interested in mountains and hiking? Or maybe you’re more of a big city type? Looking to be the only American student in town? Wanting to meet a large international cohort of students? Whatever your preferences for your semester abroad, New Zealand has a wide variety of destinations, schools and lifestyles that will suit exactly what you’re looking for!


Want to live in the heart of a sprawling,multicultural city? Auckland boasts the world’s largest Polynesian population. In this city of 1.5 million, there is always something to do and see. It’s also a domestic and international hub for those wanting to travel. From Auckland, there’s easy access to the coast and plenty of nearby islands for weekend getaways. (Not sure if Auckland or Dunedin, which is another popular study abroad location, is the best fit for you? Read this.)

AUT University

Looking to get hands-on experience? AUT gears its coursework towards hands-on learning opportunities and working in groups to recreate real life experience out in your field. This city campus offers classes in some of the most modern buildings in downtown Auckland. The Student Hub building boasts a variety of student spaces for studying and working on projects, making it easy to meet up and collaborate with your classmates.

You may be a good fit for AUT if you…

  • Enjoy working in teams and real life problem solving.
  • Are a communications, hospitality or business major.
  • Are looking to intern for credit during your semester.
AUT campus in Auckland's city centre
AUT campus located in downtown Auckland | Photo by Lily Andrules, TEAN staff
University of Auckland

One of the top 100 schools in the world, University of Auckland has high academic prestige. Here you’ll be in the heart of the city while still getting to live and study on a traditional style campus.

You may be a good fit for University of Auckland if you…

  • Are an anthropology, environmental science or sustainability major, and are looking for additional funding opportunities.
  • Are looking for a highly academically-focused atmosphere.
  • Love cities and are interested in exploring new, unique neighborhoods around the city


This walkable city on the water, which is fondly referred to as “The Coolest Little Capital in the World”, offers the best of both urban life and the great outdoors. Wellington is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with plenty of theaters, museums, live music, festivals and markets scattered across the city. (See even more reasons why studying abroad in Wellington may be the right place for you here.)

Massey University – Wellington

Located just south of the downtown square in trendy Wellington, Massey University is your hub for all things art and design. A sprawling but walkable campus with lots of workspace to crank away at projects. It’s still easy to get into downtown wellington, a short walk into the trendy downtown that is home to unique cafes, shops, and the national museum.

You may be a good fit for Massey Welly if you’re…

  • Looking for a smaller community of art and design majors.
  • A city person looking to be in the nation’s capital.
Textile design studio at Massey University
Textile design studio at Massey University in Wellington | Photo courtesy of Massey University
Victoria University of Wellington

On the hills looking over Wellington you’ll find Victoria University of Wellington.  Here you’ll spend your semester exploring the trendy shops, little cafes and international restaurants of Wellington’s downtown area, just a short walk down from the hill Victoria is situated on. Victoria itself has a wide variety of majors so you’re likely to find something to suit you there. In particular, VUW has a wonderful creative writing program, but you’ll need to submit some writing samples if you’re interested in this major.

You may be a good fit for Victoria if you….

  • Are a literature or creative writing, political science, landscape architecture or social sciences major.
  • Prefer to live in a trendy, artsy city with a place to explore hidden around each corner.
  • Are looking for a centrally located city within New Zealand so you can easily access both the North and South Islands.
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Keen for an immersive community experience and hoping to make lots of Kiwi friends? Palmerston North is a smaller city in rural NZ where half the population is under 25. Its location is great if you love being in the great outdoors and a smaller town but still want access to larger cities like Wellington.

Massey University – Palmerston North

It’s easy to feel like a local in Palmerston North. This town of about 85,000 includes 9,000 some students that go to Massey Palmy. The traditional-style campus with plenty of green space surrounded by research farms owned by the university. From Palmy it’s an easy 10-minute taxi or bus ride to get into the town square area.

You may be a good fit for Massey Palmy if you…

  • Play a sport and are looking to keep up your fitness goals while you’re abroad.
  • Study animal or equine sciences.
  • Like a traditional campus and want to be away from the city.
Massey University gym
Massey University gym | Photo by Lily Andrules, TEAN staff


Well known for being nestled between the mountains and the ocean, Christchurch is famous for allowing the option to hit the slopes or catch some waves in the same day.

Lincoln University

Out in the rural areas of Christchurch sits Lincoln. This school of about 6,000 will make you feel like you’re part of a large family. With a land-based sciences focus, you’ll find everything from etymology and viticulture, to landscape architecture and environmental science and sustainability. This campus is on the smaller side, and very walkable, with housing right on campus. There’s a bus to take into downtown Christchurch if you want to go exploring on the weekends.

You may be a good fit for Lincoln if you…

  • Are looking for a community of environment and land-based science majors.
  • Enjoy the countryside.
  • Are looking for a smaller school with a more familial feel.
University of Canterbury

Situated in the suburbs of Christchurch, University of Canterbury is a comprehensive university that will give you a traditional campus experience. Christchurch itself is a great destination for anyone interested in adventure sports.

You may be a good fit for Canterbury if you’re…

  • An avid adventure sports person – think skiing, snowboarding or surfing every weekend!
  • Looking for a bigger city that’s still manageable to get to know really well.
  • Interested in service learning and want to get credit for it.
  • An engineering major.
University of Canterbury campus lawn
The University of Canterbury campus | Photo courtesy of University of Canterbury


Built around the university, Dunedin is very much the Kiwi version of a college town and has a quirky, young vibe with lots to do. While you’ll still have the town atmosphere, Dunedin is in close proximity to lots of the South Island’s incredible outdoor pursuits.

University of Otago

Situated on the southeastern coast of the South Island, the University of Otago is surrounded by lots of notable destinations for outdoor exploration. Dunedin itself is very much a college town. You won’t find large skyscrapers here, but there’s plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore during your semester. This comprehensive university offers a variety of different classes across many majors.

You may be a good fit for Otago if you…

  • Want to be outdoors every free second.
  • Love long hikes and beautiful views.
  • Are looking for a larger cohort of TEAN students (this is our most popular program!) as well as the opportunity to meet local and other international students.
University of Otago campus in the sun
University of Otago campus | Photo by Ryan Murtaugh, Cal Poly

If you’re finding yourself torn between some of these options, get in touch with a New Zealand Program Manager to discuss your options!