MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. Programs, Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Study Abroad Orientation & Excursions in New Zealand

New Zealand Universities Program

Arrival and orientation

  • Airport pick-up
  • 4-day on-site orientation at the picturesque Shakespear Regional Park, on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, north of Auckland
  • Students stay in the original homestead of the Shakespeare family in an open an open air sanctuary with thriving native bird life
  • Informative briefings are mixed with exciting outdoor activities such as kayaking, learning to play rugby, archery, mountain biking, beach tips and much more!
  • Afternoon trip to Waiwera, a natural hot springs
  • Introduction to kiwi culture
  • Discussion of academic differences and expectations
  • IFSA-Butler staff walk students through everything from how to succeed academically to integrating socially in the host university
  • Transportation to host university accommodation at conclusion of orientation

Cultural and sporting events

  • An overnight stay at a marae as part of the IFSA-Butler orientation
  • Attend a theatre performance/arts festival event
  • Visit a brewery or winery
  • Attend a rugby match when in season
  • Choice of two-day adventure weekend or ‘Slice of Kiwi Life' weekend
  • Volunteering event


  • Excursions and activities vary by program (see below). Previous excursions included, but were not limited to:

University of Auckland and Massey University Auckland:

  • A Kiwi night out: A chance to wear ‘jandals' (flip-flops) to the beach for a dinner of fish and chips at Auckland's beautiful Mission Bay. The night finishes with a trip a local cinema to watch a homegrown New Zealand movie
  • Beach day and surf lesson or sailing lesson to Waiheke Island to zip line and visit vineyards
  • Adventure weekend: Quad biking, yachting, sand dune tobogganing and your own shellfish for dinner on the beautiful Cape Reinga

University of Canterbury:

  • From the Mountains to the Sea day trip: Quad bike across bush and hill country, have a BBQ lunch, walk some coastal tracks, and visit the seal colonies in picturesque Kaikoura
  • Adventure Adrenaline Overload weekend: Rafting in the Rangitata River, plenty of good food, an evening of R&R by the fire, then waking up to face your fears on the high ropes course

Massey University Palmerston North:

  • Action packed day trip to the Kapiti Coast with quad biking, stunning views and a great lunch
  • Cultural trip to Wellington for the "World of WearableArt" awards show to see some seriously creative ‘fashion'

University of Otago:

  • Overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound in the heart of Fiordland, including kayaking and a visit to a bird sanctuary
  • Day trip on ice: check out the world renowned Moeraki Boulders before an afternoon of ice curling, skating and food all among the amazing scenery of Otago's great outdoors

Victoria University and Massey University Wellington:

  • Dolphin watching, kayaking, walking and biking in nature's best adventure playground, the Marlborough Sounds
  • Volunteer event: Cruise the Wellington harbor before a rewarding day of eco-action tending to native plantings on the historic Matiu/Somes Island

Other activities/extras

  • T-shirt
  • DVD of photos and videos from the semester
  • Farewell meal
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