University of Otago

Hey everyone!

Hope everyone’s first month of classes at UT are going well! I have two more weeks of classes and then finals begin. It is crazy how fast the semester went by. It is still quite cold in Dunedin. Word of advice, if you are a winter wimp like me definitely plan on coming to New Zealand during UT Spring semester! I have also heard from students that the Orientation week they have here during February is a lot of fun and a great way to get to meet a lot of people. If you do plan on visiting in the Fall I recommend getting involved in the student organizations. Like UT, they have many different kinds. I joined the Snow Sports Club ( and no you don’t have to be an extreme snow sports person to join) and they plan many school ski trips (about every 2 weeks). I went on one trip in July and it was a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot of Otago students and they are very friendly. Best part is that because you are a university student you get discounted ski rental gear and ski passes so it is a lot cheaper to go with the university. Here are some pictures from that trip and also from my spring break travels. Enjoy!
University Ski Trip to Cardrona:
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Spring Break:  Hook ’em from Auckland Bridge Bungy!
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Hook ’em from Hobbiton/ The Shire
If you are a Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit fan, I definitely recommend making a trip to Hobbiton. It is in Matamata, New Zealand about a 4 hour drive from Auckland. The movie set is amazing and so detailed. I thought there would only be a couple hobbit holes but there are actually over 35.
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Piha Beach:
This is a black sand beach about 2 hours away from Auckland.
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Howdy from The University of Otago, NZ

Hey everyone!

My name is Kara and I am spending this semester abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand! The fall semester at the University of Otago began on July 6, so I just completed midterms 2 weeks ago! Last week I got a week off for my “fall/spring break”, while back at UT the semester is just starting.

In New Zealand the first day of Spring was a couple days ago, it has been very cold since I have been here. We have even had snow several times.

I have four other flatmates (roommates). They are from Germany, England, Taiwan, and my Kiwi host is of course from New Zealand. Kiwi is a term that means New Zealander. At first I thought that only people from other countries called the people of New Zealand Kiwis but New Zealanders tend to refer to themselves as Kiwis, too. The kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand and a very important symbol to the country (much like the bald eagle is to the United States). So far I have run into a few interesting slang terms, so if you are ready I will teach you some New Zealand slang!

Chips= french fries

Cheers= Thanks

papers =  class courses

biscuit= cookie

boot = car trunk

dairy = corner store

jandles = flip flops

sunnies= sunglasses

rubbish = trash

scarfie = University of Otago student (much like we call ourselves Longhorns)

take away = to-go, or take out (food)

School is set up a little different here. I have found that my business classes are more heavily essay-based here at Otago. For my papers (classes) the grades break down like this:  an essay which is about 20%-30% of your grade, a group project which is 20-30% of your grade, and a final which is 50% of your grade. I have had a lot more essays at Otago as opposed to the quizzes and exams which I find more common in my classes at UT.  Final exams are also weighted more heavily here at Otago.

If you need a study break there are many great places close to the university to explore. Here are some of the places that I have been so far:

Signal Hill (a hiking trail just minutes away from the University):

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Nichol’s Creek (about a 30 minute walk to the trail and 20 minute hike):




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Tunnel Beach (a 25 minute bus ride):


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Hong Kong: Final Reflection and Pictures

I’d like to start by giving you a short snippet of the memories I made and lessons I learned. As an aspiring Finance major within the McCombs School of Business, Hong Kong (HK) had always been an appealing city to work or study in. It’s regarded as the financial capital of Asia, if not the world, and I knew that experiencing the fast-paced, economically driven city would give me a taste of what my future career held. So when I began exploring study abroad destinations, it’s not surprising that Hong Kong was at the top of my list. After two months abroad, I can confidently say that HK did not disappoint.

The city was all that it was hyped up to be and more. From the buzzing Ladies’ market whose stalls stayed open into the wee hours of the night to the beautiful morning hike to Ma Dai that revealed HK’s calmer side, I was amazed. HK was the perfect blend of East meets West, urban fused with rural, and work mixed with play. However, though the city itself had much to offer, it was ultimately the people I met and befriended that made this summer one to remember. By participating in an exchange program, I was able to meet and interact with students from the UK, Italy, France, Syria, Spain, Africa, Korea, and countless other countries. As a result, I did not just experience the culture of Hong Kong, but also the traditions and nuances of so many individuals whose origins reach far and wide. Now, I have friends in numerous countries that I can contact when I visit their homes. Ultimately, in my mind, that is the most invaluable part of studying abroad – the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends from the all over the world.

I encourage each and every one of you reading this blog to really consider studying abroad for at least a summer (if not a semester). My summer exchange in Hong Kong honestly gave me the best and most rewarding two months of my life and I would love for everyone to take the opportunity to experience that for themselves. Please feel free to reach out to me at if you have any questions or concerns about studying abroad. I would be more than happy to chat!

Here are some last few photos of Hong Kong :)

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Thailand Photo Set


Elephant riding – Mahout Training Center


Feeding the elephants


Chilling with some local Thai people outside the Long neck village


A picture with the famous Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho


Temples near Wat Pho


Selfie at the Bang Nam Pheung floating river market


The best food we had in Chiang Mai (Bamboo Bee Vegetarian Restaurant)


Inside Wat Chedi Luang (Chiang Mai)


Selfi at the Eagle Track zipline in Chiang Mai


Picture taken while on top of a zipline platform