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Otago

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  • Dunedin Pop. 120,249

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Otago is New Zealand’s oldest centre of learning, and continues to offer innovative, internationally-recognised learning to students from many nationalities. The region has world-class tertiary institutions, supportive secondary schools and excellent English language learning providers.

Where can I study?

University students walking on grass

Otago is home to the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic and the Wanaka campus of Tai Poutini Polytechnic. It has a strong network of schools that welcome international students, and many specialised providers offering English language programmes or careers training in areas such as tourism, aviation or diving.

Why you should study in Otago

The Otago region has a long history of providing innovative, internationally-recognised tertiary education.

The University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest university and has a long history of excellence in teaching and research. It’s ranked 169th in the 2016 QS World University Rankings, while its dentistry programme is rated 12th in the world. The university also has twelve more subject areas in the top 100.

Otago Polytechnic provides inspiring, career-focused education. In 2015, its New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) ratings were 94% for student satisfaction, 90% for qualification completion and 92% for employer satisfaction with its graduates. 98% of its graduates have moved on to work, further study or both.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic has a Wanaka campus and a unique ‘on snow’ classroom in the middle of Treble Cone ski area, where students can work towards a career in ski patrolling or snowsports instructing.

Students cafe Dunedin

The southern hemisphere’s first public girls’ secondary school opened in Otago in 1871, establishing the region’s tradition of helping generations of high school students to reach their full potential.

Otago secondary schools teach more than 40 internationally-recognised subjects, and give extensive support to English language learners. They also provide international students with safe and secure learning and living conditions.

Schools teach the National Certificate in Education Achievement (NCEA), which enables students to enter university and other tertiary education institutions in New Zealand and around the world. Some Otago schools also offer other globally-recognised awards and qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Secondary School Students enjoying lunch in Dunedin

With a higher-than-average number of residents who speak English as their first language, Dunedin and the Otago region are an ideal destination for students wanting to study in an immersive English language environment.

Otago’s higher education institutions and specialist English language providers offer intensive foundation studies and English language learning programmes.

Students are given the support they need to reach their goals, whether they want to improve their English in a specific professional field or gain the language skills to progress to a certificate, diploma or degree programme.

Short-term English study programmes are also available for groups.

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Learn more about studying in Otago

Otago has it all - the dynamic student city of Dunedin, where friends are easy to find, and an extraordinary landscape to discover. The pace is unhurried and the attractions are uncrowded, so you’ll have even more time to explore during your study adventure.

Why you should live in Otago

Almost one-fifth of Dunedin’s population are students, making it a dynamic, exciting place to study.

Dunedin is friendly and uncrowded but has the high-energy vibe you’d expect from a student city. Otago’s only city has great restaurants and cafes, shopping, art, sports events and festivals, with an iconic fashion and music style all its own.

It’s also a safe city, where you’ll feel well supported in and out of the classroom. In a 2014 quality of life survey, 84% of people in Dunedin rated their quality of life as good or extremely good, 98% said they felt safe in their own home and 92% felt safe after dark.

You won’t have far to go if you’re studying at the University of Otago or Otago Polytechnic - the two institutions are next door to each other, surrounded by affordable student accommodation and only a few minutes’ walk from the central city.

Enjoying the Farmers Market in Dunedin

Otago has wide open spaces, accessible wilderness areas, white sandy beaches and awe-inspiring scenery - all without the crowds.

It’s easy to get around in Otago, and there’s lots to see. It’s a great place for outdoor adventure, with rivers, lakes and mountains on your doorstep.

You can ski, snowboard, surf, fish, walk, skydive, bungy jump, explore the region’s significant arts and culture, visit former gold rush towns, experience world-class vineyards or meet the local wildlife - including penguins, seals and albatross. Otago’s relaxed, hurried pace of life gives you more time to focus on living as well as studying.

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Study in Otago and you’ll find it easy to meet people your age. Almost half the people in Dunedin are under the age of 30, the youngest population of any New Zealand city.

Otago has a strong social culture and a relaxed lifestyle. Whether you’re living in lively Dunedin, one of Central Otago’s close-knit small towns or the laid-back lakeside community and tourism hub of Wanaka, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet young people and make lifelong friendships.

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Study in Otago and you’ll get extra support to help you land your dream job. The city of Dunedin runs programmes to help students progress to further education, find paid internships, develop their entrepreneurial abilities and - if they want to stay on in New Zealand - find work after graduation

Why you should work in Otago

Dunedin’s Job Ready Programme gives international students a helping hand to find work in New Zealand after they graduate.

The free programme aims to give students an in-depth understanding of Kiwi workplaces, and to create strong relationships between students and Otago employers.

Available to any tertiary students studying in the Dunedin area, the programme provides seminars and mentoring to students seeking to stay in New Zealand after graduation.

By helping you understand and adjust to Kiwi workplaces and career opportunities, the Job Ready Programme is your pathway to work opportunities in Otago and beyond.

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The Sexy Summer Jobs programme matches students who want paid internships with Dunedin employers.

A speed-dating event gives students a chance to meet prospective employers while developing their interview skills.

Available to all university and polytechnic students, the programme gives students valuable work experience. It also gets results - half of students are offered a job after their internships.

For budding entrepreneurs, the Audacious programme offers Otago university and polytechnic students a chance to further their startup ideas with workshops, business coaching, a startup space and a Dragons’ Den-style business challenge.

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Otago’s educational institutions have developed pathways to help international students achieve their study and career goals.

The region’s tertiary institutions work to make it easier for students to progress from school to undergraduate courses, and to graduate and postgraduate study.

Students may have opportunities to work in Otago after graduation. The local economy has strengths in education, healthcare, hospitality, tourism, retail and manufacturing, plus a growing tech industry.

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Discover more about the Otago region at dunedinnz.com/study/learn