My Dunedin Itinerary

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Dunedin is well known for its vibrant student lifestyle. Life will be as busy as you want it to be, but expect there to be plenty of events and recreational opportunities outside of study to choose from to keep active in Dunedin. The University has a wealth of clubs and societies offering interesting things for students to do and volunteer for in their spare time, as does the wider Dunedin community. Most study programmes have their own optional extra-curricular development programmes and groups in addition to the normal course of study, which students will benefit from taking part in.

What to expect

Expect your Dunedin education experience to offer the very best opportunity to understand the New Zealand way-of-life.

Anticipate tertiary student accommodation to be social - residential colleges are a good way to meet people as well supporting students in their study. Many student flats are located in one area, so student flatting life can also be a good way to connect - chose accommodation that suits your lifestyle. There are few apartments in Dunedin. Note that homes in some part of the city are older, and may not have central heating systems.

Alcohol is common in New Zealand. People must be over 18 to be served alcohol; students can purchase an 18+ card from a Post Shop – this is a better option to provide proof-of-age than carrying a passport.

New Zealanders enjoy eating a wide variety of food from different cultures, and there is plenty of ethnic food to chose from when eating out. Many students are surprised to find shopping centres and their food courts closed by 6pm.

Ask if you don’t know something; you will be directed to the right place, no matter what you are looking for. Make the effort to make conversation when people chat to you, as they will do – it is a good way to practice your English, to understand the Kiwi way of life, and to make friends.

Recreation is an important part of lifestyle for students at Dunedin high schools. Students will find there are many cultural and sporting activities and events to join through school and via community organisations. They also often take part in activities with their homestay families. Many homestay families have pets.


The University and Polytechnic student year starts with Orientation Week to introduce campus life and provide opportunities to meet fellow tertiary students - Otago is known for providing the best orientation festival for its new students.

The University of Otago has a programme of Academic Orientation to assist students. All new incoming international University of Otago students must register for a New International Student Enrolment and Orientation Seminar before they arrive on campus.

Otago University Student Association

The Otago University Student Association (OUSA) provide members with recreation and fun events as well as representation, welfare and advocacy. Its Clubs and Societies Centre has sports and recreation facilities and services including gear hire, recreation courses, competitions, tournaments, events and sporting and cultural clubs. The OUSA website, Facebook page and the noticeboard in the OUSA building all have up-to-date information on what is on. Ask if you need to know more.

University Volunteer Centre

The University Volunteer Centre (UVC) connects volunteers with community organisations who need them. Volunteer roles are hugely diverse and there is always something for everyone keen to contribute fresh energy, ideas and varied skills to their community.

Insiders tip

Whatever you chose to do, make the most of the opportunities available to you while you are here – a good place to start is the Clubs and Societies Centre.

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