When you look outside your window in Christchurch, you know exploration awaits you—hiking, fishing, kayaking, or swimming—that’s just a typical day here. Enjoy the adventurous, yet relaxed, lifestyle that Christchurch has to offer.
During your time in Christchurch, you directly enroll in the University of Canterbury, one of the top three universities in New Zealand, and in the top 3% of the world's universities. You also have access to more than 50 academic departments and more than 100 on-campus clubs and organizations—ideal opportunities to connect with Kiwi (local) students.
Spread over 215 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, the University’s campus is located only 15 minutes from the city. Ski slopes, mountains, native bush, rivers, lakes, hot springs, and beaches are all within 1.5 hours of Christchurch, making this an ideal place to study and experience New Zealand’s outdoor lifestyle.
Christchurch will be your classroom. Meet the residents who are rebuilding their beloved city after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. While reconstruction is making progress, there's still work to be done. (There are ways you can help out, too.) Learn about the history of this great city, which is one of the oldest in New Zealand. Eager for hands-on field study excursions? Explore the University’s four field stations throughout the South Island. You can also enroll in an internship, which includes time spent working at your placement in addition to an academic seminar that helps you contextualize what you’re learning.
We want you to feel at home in Christchurch, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible. We also offer many opportunities to meet with Kiwis and learn about their culture.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
IES Abroad’s mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. That is why we partnered with the University of Canterbury.
The University of CanterburyEstablished in 1873, the University of Canterbury is one of the top three universities in New Zealand. The University has a population of about 12,000 students and more than 500 academic staff members. Large enough to offer a broad and diverse curriculum, the University is also small enough to ensure that you can take advantage of excellence in both teaching and research.
Location & Commute Time
The University of Canterbury is located on a beautiful, park-like campus in the heart of Christchurch.
The University is a 15-minute bus ride from downtown Christchurch. Students living in apartments will likely have a five to 10-minute commute to the campus by foot, and students living in homestays may have up to a 30-minute bus ride, which is common for many local students.
The University of Canterbury assigns a point value to each course. IES Abroad divides the number of points by four in order to determine the number of IES Abroad semester credits earned. You take between 60 and 75 points, or 15–20 IES Abroad credits (typically four courses).
The University of Canterbury has hundreds of course offerings. The course disciplines listed are available to IES Abroad students. In addition to course offerings across the disciplines, the University offers you unique opportunities for field study through its four research stations. Courses in the School of Business & Economics are AACSB-accredited.
Further information about course content and availability is provided on the University’s Courses, Subjects and Qualifications site.
Cellular & Molecular Biology
Engineering (Chemical & Process, Civil, Computer, Electrical & Electronic, Forest, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Natural Resources)
European Languages and Cultures
European Union Studies
Freshwater Management (Semester 2/fall only)
Maori & Indigenous Studies
Media & Communication
Science & Entrepreneurship
Science, Maori & Indigenous Knowledge
South Asia Studies
Theatre & Film Studies
Please note that not all subjects are offered every semester or every year. Certain disciplines have enrollment caps and others require prerequisites. Single-semester students cannot enroll in full-year courses. If you have specific questions regarding courses, please contact your IES Abroad Representative.
The University of Canterbury has established four field research stations throughout the South Island. These field stations are in the Southern Alps, on both the east and west coasts, and in different climatic regions. If you choose to study certain Biology, Forestry, Geography, or Geology courses, you may have the opportunity to do research at one of the field stations as part of your course.
You may be able to visit these research stations through course-related excursions, ranging from half-day excursions to 8-day trips, in conjunction with certain courses at the University. Although the courses that offer these field trips change each semester, some courses that have gone to one or more of these stations in the past include: Marine Biology; Ecology; Global Change and Biosecurity; and Science, Maori, and Indigenous Knowledge.
Even though you’re directly enrolling in one of our partner universities, there’s something IES Abroad wants you to know: we’re here for you if you need us.
Choosing and directly enrolling in courses abroad can be confusing and overwhelming. This is why we offer you predeparture advising that’s specific to your needs. Our goal is to provide support and guidance throughout your application and enrollment process.
But our advising services don’t stop there. While you’re in Christchurch, our staff is available to help you transition into your new home.
The support services we offer IES Abroad direct enrollment students are specifically designed to help you achieve your study abroad goals as effectively and smoothly as possible. We know studying abroad is an adventure, and, at times, you may need help or just someone to talk to—that’s why our staff will be there for you.
Whether you have questions about academic requirements, housing, or well-being and safety, our Christchurch-based IES Abroad staff is available to fully support you. Our staff in Christchurch accompanies you throughout orientation, as well as on IES Abroad field trips and cultural events.
Interning while you study in Christchurch gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:
With a UC internship, you spend 75 hours at your internship placement—a local business or community organization—and enroll in an academic component, ARTS 295. You work under the supervision of a specialist lecturer within the College of Arts to earn 15 points (4 IES Abroad credits). A longer 30-point (7.5 IES Abroad credits) version is also available.
Once you indicate your interest in an internship, UC staff will work with you to find the ideal internship placement that fulfills your academic and career goals. Students have been placed in a wide variety of organizations and businesses. If the University of Canterbury doesn't currently have connections in your field of placement, UC staff will search for a placement that's right for you.
Past student interns have worked the following jobs. Talk to your UC advisor and the Program Director to find a placement that's right for you.
All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship. For more information, visit http://www.arts.canterbury.ac.nz/internships/
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Christchurch, it will feel like home.
As part of IES Abroad’s direct enrollment services, we offer well-located, comfortable housing for all students because securing housing independently can be challenging. IES Abroad’s housing options reflect the local student culture and meet our safety and security standards.
Ilam Apartments – Located across from the University of Canterbury campus, the Ilam Apartments are home to more international students than Kiwis. You have your own bedroom in a four- to six-person suite. The apartments are fully furnished with kitchens, communal living areas, and free Internet connections. Limited meal plans can be purchased onsite after arrival, but are not included in the program fee.
The Ilam Apartments complex also offers a large recreational room where community events and social activities are held. There are table tennis and pool tables, Sky (cable) television, DVD players, board games. There are also outdoor barbecue facilities and sports equipment you can borrow. For study space outside of your room, Ilam offers large, quiet study areas.
There are a number of Kiwis who live at Ilam, but we also encourage you to join student clubs and organizations as a way to make friends with local students.
Part of making you feel at home in Christchurch is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared and teaches you about services on campus, finding housing that is well-located and comfortable, or guiding you on the field trip that takes you places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.
There are two orientation events during the week before classes begin: the IES Abroad orientation and the University of Canterbury International Student Welcome.
The three- to four-day IES Abroad orientation gives you the opportunity to get to know your fellow students and IES Abroad staff, explores academic differences between the United States and New Zealand, and includes a field trip to Springfield at the foothills of the Southern Alps. Past highlights of the orientation have included a scavenger hunt around Christchurch, boulder climbing in an area of unique limestone outcrops, a hands-on New Zealand farming experience, and jet boating on a typical Canterbury braided river.
The one-day University of Canterbury international student welcome provides insights into New Zealand student culture and helps with the integration process. The program includes an official university academic orientation where you are further introduced to the facilities and offerings at the University, with a special break-out session just for study abroad students.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
University Clubs & Events
While you’re in Christchurch, joining a social or sports club is a great way to meet Kiwis. You have access to all of the University of Canterbury’s amenities, including a library, cafés, a health center, recreation center, and the University of Canterbury Students Association with more than 100 cultural, interest, and sports clubs and societies to join. The University routinely hosts cultural events and guest lecturers for the general student body and for individual courses.
Even though your adventure starts in Christchurch, our mid-semester field trip to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands takes you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of this small island nation in the Pacific. (This trip is partially subsidized by IES Abroad. You are responsible for a portion of the cost.)
RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS
Explore the mountainous island and white sand beaches, visit local institutions such as a primary school or perhaps an animal shelter, learn outrigger canoe paddling, and witness first-hand the island nation’s political and education systems and the place of song and dance in everyday life.
About the Center
We can’t wait to welcome you to Christchurch! Whether you need advice about your coursework or have questions about everyday life in Christchurch, our local IES Abroad staff will be there to support you when you need it.
Eunice has been the Program Director in Christchurch since 2007. She spent her career working with educational institutions in culturally-varied environments. She previously served as a guest home manager, and as a teacher of Music and French while living in Malaysia.
Prior to living in Malaysia, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington, and a Bachelor of Divinity through Melbourne College of Divinity. Prior to joining IES Abroad, Eunice spent more than 10 years working as an International Student Advisor at the University of Canterbury (where the IES Abroad Christchurch Program is located), providing pastoral care and academic support to international students and their families.
IES Abroad students in Christchurch are taught by University of Canterbury faculty.