Which USAC New Zealand Program is Right for You?

Ah, New Zealand. Renowned for its natural resources and breathtaking scenery, New Zealand is the ideal study abroad destination for those who love being outdoors. The seasons are opposite of those in the United States, so being strategic about when you choose to study abroad could give you a few extra months of summer (or an escape from the heat of your hometown, if that’s what you’re looking for).

Regardless of when you choose to study abroad, you must first decide on where to study abroad. USAC offers three programs to fit your needs. Keep reading for a breakdown of each USAC New Zealand destination and the unique program styles we offer.

Auckland/Palmerston North/Wellington

USAC students studying abroad in New Zealand


The beautiful thing about this USAC program is that you not only get to study abroad at one of the country’s highest-rated universities, but you get to choose which campus and city to call home.

Palmerston North (nicknamed “Palmy” by locals) is a young person’s city filled with unique cafés, lots of shopping, live music, and an international airport to satisfy your travel bug. As a university town, students studying here will have plenty of opportunities to meet local students because nearly half o the city’s population is under 25.

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, offers everything a capital city should: a mix of culture, history, and modern city amenities. Located on the southern tip of the North Island, Wellington will give you easy access to both of New Zealand’s islands. In 2011, Lonely Planet named Wellington as one of the top ten cities to visit, calling it the “coolest little capital in the world.”

USAC study abroad students in Wellington, New Zealand on CUBA street

Auckland is situated in the northern part of the North Island on the water. Being New Zealand’s largest and most populous city, Auckland is ideal for students who crave that big city lifestyle. But that’s not all; the Auckland region also boasts access to 48 volcanic cones, many parks and reserves, over 100km of coastline and beaches, and rainforests.

Field Trips & Activities

USAC New Zealand students on a field trip

Each Massey University campus offers recreational facilities and classes to all students. These can include group exercise classes, club sports, and a variety of social events organized by the international students’ office. Past student trips include an evening kayak trip to Rangitoto, dolphin watching in the South Island’s Marlborough Sounds, and a trip to the Wairarapa wine region.

Student athletes who are interested in studying abroad but need to maintain a serious training/fitness regimen can take advantage of Massey University’s Global Student Athlete program at the Palmerston North campus.

Host University

USAC New Zealand students pose in front of Massey University sign

As one of New Zealand’s leading universities, Massey University offers courses in five different colleges across the three campuses. The Manawatu Campus in Palmerston North is home to Massey’s colleges of business, sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The Albany campus in Auckland is known as the “Innovative Campus” and offers courses in business, education, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology. The Wellington campus is known as Massey’s “Creative Campus,” offering courses in creative and performing arts; health, policy, and practice; journalism and communications; sport and exercise science; and more.


USAC New Zealand students in Wellington

Dive into Kiwi Culture during a summer in Wellington. New Zealand’s capital hosts all the cultural events you’re looking for while simultaneously providing access to the great outdoors.

Academic Structure

USAC New Zealand students participating in internship during summer abroad

The National Expedition and Internship in Wellington is offered only in the summer and is composed of a two-week field study and a four-week professional internship in either Communication & Marketing or Disaster, Risk & Emergency Management. Combined, students will earn a total of 6-8 U.S. credits by completing this program.

For those choosing the Disaster Risk & Emergency Management track, you will explore the relationships between risks, risk mitigation, resilience, readiness, response, and recovery during the two-week expedition through New Zealand’s “hazardscape.”

The Communications & Marketing track will give students insight into New Zealand’s tourism industry during a two-week field study through the North and South Islands. Students will experience the country’s most popular destinations and study how successful brands of the tourism industry are at capturing the attention of visitors.

Each expedition is followed by an internship placement within a Wellington-based organization in public, private, or NGO sectors.

Hawke’s Bay (on hold until 2021)


USAC New Zealand study abroad students group shot

Known as the “Fruit Bowl of New Zealand,” the Hawke’s Bay Province is famous for its food production. The region is also the base of the country’s wine industry, making it the ideal place for students studying agriculture and other food-related studies.

Academic Structure

USAC New Zealand students during plant and land field work during study abroad

Like the Wellington program, the Hawke’s Bay program is unique in that it is a combination of a field study and internship that is only offered in the summer. Hosted through Massey University’s National Expedition and Internship Program, students will participate in a two-week expedition throughout New Zealand to explore current issues specific to agriculture and the environment. This is followed by a four-week internship in a related field. Students must be majoring in Agribusiness, Agriculture, Environmental Science, or Wildlife Management to be eligible.

In a nutshell, the Palmerston North/Auckland/Wellington program offers students a more traditional study abroad experience at one of three Massey University campus: in the university town of Palmy, in the metropolitan Auckland, or in the culture-filled capital of the country, Wellington. If you’re interested in earning academic credit and real-life job experience, the National Expedition and Internship Program in Wellington or Hawke’s Bay is the program for you!