Discover two diverse destinations in the South Pacific – New Zealand and the Cook Islands – by studying abroad with TEAN’s People and Cultures of the Pacific program. Spend six weeks studying at the oldest university in New Zealand, the University of Otago in Dunedin, with classes from both local and U.S. faculty that take an anthropological look at the region’s history, culture and environment. After completing exams, head off on a two-week educational adventure through Rarotonga in the Cook Islands learning more about the local communities. Throughout the program, TEAN’s experienced local staff provide support and cultural facilitation through ongoing meetups and included cultural activities.


Experience the unique beauty and culture of not only New Zealand, but also the Cook Islands with this all-inclusive, comprehensive semester where you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the cultures and issues affecting the South Pacific.

Earn 15 credits in a nine-week program designed to fulfill general education requirements with course offerings focusing on Pacific history, anthropology, culture and the environment.

Study on campus together with local students as part of the University of Otago Summer School to truly engage with New Zealand university culture and learn from scholars at the country’s top research university.

Take a further three classes taught both on campus at the University of Otago and while in the Cook Islands by leading U.S. professors in Pacific Island and New Zealand studies.

Live in Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. Home to incredible natural scenery and wildlife, a thriving arts and cultural scene, friendly locals and the country’s first university - this is the ultimate college town!

Spend your final two weeks engaged in field study in the Rarotonga, the largest island in the Cook Islands.

Benefit from TEAN’s expert in-country staff who meet with you regularly and are available 24/7.



This is a 9-week semester course consisting of five courses. Students take one course at the University of Otago for the first six weeks, as part of the Otago Summer School. This means that U.S. students will be in class with local students, and be considered University of Otago students with full access to university facilities. Students will also take three courses taught by U.S. faculty and directed research over the course of the program. For the last two weeks students are engaged in field study in the Cook Islands. Time is provided upon returning to the U.S. to finish up papers for the courses taught by U.S. faculty.

University of Otago

Known as New Zealand’s college town, Dunedin is home to the oldest university in New Zealand, the University of Otago – established in 1869, the charming city of Dunedin literally grew around this beautiful university campus. With a particular focus on the traditional arts and sciences, the University is considered the top research institution in the country, and provides an unbeatable location from which to explore the incredibly striking South Island of New Zealand. With Queenstown and the Southern Alps only a few hours away, and the wildlife and beautiful landscapes of the nearby Otago Peninsula and surrounding region, students who love the outdoors will be in their element.

University of Pittsburgh Faculty

The U.S. academic faculty and program leaders, Dr. Andrew Strathern and Dr. Pamela J. Stewart (Strathern), have more than 40 years of combined professional experience in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. This program brings together a lifetime of their intellectual interests and heritage with traditions of Scottish historical settlement and contemporary engagement with Pacific Islands. Strathern and Stewart have lived, worked, and conducted research in both the Pacific region and Scotland for decades, and have published extensively on their findings in scholarly venues.  They lead the program with foci on Culture, History, Environmental Sustainability and Responses to Climatic Change, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Ritual and Religious Practices, and Language usages within the Pacific, while allowing students to explore their creativity in comparative studies important to the global world that we live in. The program leaders are experts on all of the topics covered as well as experienced travelers through the Pacific.


All courses will appear on a University of Pittsburgh transcript.

ANTH 1786 Cultures of the Pacific
(Taught by University of Otago Faculty) 3 credits
This course surveys the enormous richness and variety of cultures and political systems of societies in different ecological conditions within the Pacific, giving students the background to situate more detailed regional variations in life ways throughout the Pacific arena.

ANTH 1737 Peace and Violence Studies
(University of Pittsburgh Faculty) 3 credits
Peace, conflict and ordinance studies are major topics of interest today in both political anthropology and international studies.  This course will be enhanced by visits to Maori settlement, the Centre for Pacific Island studies at the University of Otago, and through collaboration with the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

ANTH 17362 Human Ecology
(University of Pittsburgh Faculty) 3 credits
This course will focus on landscapes and the environment in the Pacific region.  It also examines the histories and meanings given to the environment and the landscapes that are the product both of nature and the cultural agency of humans and will be enhanced by local excursions.

ANTH 1761 Patients and Healers
(University of Pittsburgh Faculty) 3 credits
This will be a directed studies course examining medicine, ritual and coping with environmental change.  Pacific Islanders today face a number of challenges resulting from historical forces in their lives. Climatic changes also mean increased risk of natural disasters during certain seasons and rising sea levels that threaten islands with flooding. To help adapt to changes, island populations use communal rituals that are unique to their heritage.



  • GPA 3.0
  • Students with a 2.8 GPA may be considered on a case by case basis with supporting documentation
  • Enrolled in a two-year or four-year degree-granting institution at the time of enrollment

Program Details

Housing and Meals

Students live in on-campus student dormitories for the first six weeks at the University of Otago, where you will also have classes. This accommodation includes three meals per day.

In Rarotonga students will stay in a central location in hotel style accommodation. Accommodation is clean, safe, comfortable and has Internet access. In Rarotonga breakfast is included every day, and some other meals. 


Upon arrival students are provided with a one-day Orientation program including orientation sessions, cultural activities, an Otago campus tour and overview of Dunedin.

Cultural Activities and Events

Acknowledging the importance of experiencing the local culture, a variety of social and cultural activities are included in the program. These complement the included academic field trips within the courses. Events are a mix of arts, environmental and sports presenting a cross-section of New Zealand society.

TEAN Services and Support

Upon arrival in Dunedin, students are met by our on-site staff who provide assistance throughout your time in the Pacific. Through informal meet ups and excursions, our staff is readily available and able to assist students with any academic, social or cultural issues. For urgent situations TEAN staff is available 24/7.

Program Dates

Spring 2020

This program not running for Spring 2019 and is scheduled to return in for Spring 2020.

Spring 2018

Application Deadline Oct 8, 2017
Date of Departure Jan 4
Arrive in Dunedin, New Zealand Jan 6
Orientation Jan 7
Classes Begin Jan 8
Depart Dunedin for Auckland Feb 18
Depart Auckland for Rarotonga Feb 19
Depart for USA March 5

Fees & Inclusions

Spring 2018

  • $16,799 (for non-Pitt students)

What’s Included

  • Full tuition
  • Housing and most meals
  • Medical, travel and accident insurance
  • Orientation program upon arrival in Dunedin
  • Cultural events scheduled throughout the semester
  • Official University of Pittsburgh transcript at program conclusion for all courses
  • Local SIM card
  • All field experience-related expenses (transport, accommodation, entrance fees, etc.)
  • Airport reception and transfers from Dunedin Airport, Rarotonga
  • TEAN staff and resources available 24/7 to provide assistance and recommendations during emergencies
  • Suggestions for weekend activities and excursions
  • Pre-departure planning sessions and assistance from U.S.-based TEAN staff including pre-departure guidance for students and immigration visa assistance

What’s Not Included

  • International flights to and from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (approx. $3,200)
  • Passport fees
  • Textbooks and/or reading materials

  • Personal spending money



To apply for this program, please submit this form to University of Pittsburgh to start your application. This program is run in partnership with University of Pittsburgh and is open to all students who meet the eligibility requirements.

Apply Now

We Love Dunedin

On Lee Lau

Resident Assistant - Dunedin

Dunedin Tip
Best Fish n Chips

The Flying Squid or “Squiddies” is a fish and chips shop on Albany Street near the University Library that is THE student hangout for a fast, cheap, deep-fried meal. They are locally famous for their shoestring fries and big fillets of fish for a price you can’t find elsewhere. Go with a piece of blue cod or snapper for fish and ask for chicken salt.


What is your role at TEAN?
I’m a Resident Assistant based out of Dunedin, New Zealand. I look after students that study abroad at the University of Otago and help introduce students to New Zealand culture during TEAN Orientations as well as throughout the semester.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part for me is planning group events to do things most students otherwise wouldn’t know about or have the budget to do on their own. I love seeing how newly arrived students react when they walk up to an amazing vista – like in the Otago Peninsula or Queenstown or Milford Sound – that perfectly encapsulates the natural beauty of New Zealand. It’s also fun to see how excited students are to see the All Blacks vs Australia rugby match at our local stadium.

What makes Dunedin a great place to study abroad?
Dunedin is the only place I know where you can see albatross and penguin colonies in amazing nature reserves close to town – it really deserves its reputation as the wildlife capital of New Zealand. Students in Dunedin get the perks of being in a college town, in a place with a rich indigenous and immigrant history, and surrounded by green hills and wild beaches.

What should be on every student’s bucket list for a semester in New Zealand?
Every student in New Zealand should plan to do a Great Walk or at least a part of it. Great Walks are backpacking or boating trails that go through New Zealand’s National Parks managed by the Department of Conservation. I also recommend taking the time to watch kapa haka groups that often perform during community events, and learning about Maori history and culture.

What places would you recommend to someone visiting New Zealand?
I’m a big fan of Te Anau. The town is right near the start of the Kepler Track and is the closest town to Milford Sound. Te Anau tends to have less people compared to Queenstown or Wanaka, but it still has great restaurants and cafes, and a year-round boat tour to otherworldly glow worm caves on the opposite side of the lake.

Kate Hilby

Senior Program Manager

Dunedin Tip
St. Clair Beach

St. Clair is a lovely part of town that has everything you’d want. A beach as far as the eye can see, a heated saltwater swimming pool, five cafes within two blocks, a surf shop, yummy restaurants for a fancy night out and, if you are there on a clear night, you may even spot part of the Aurora Australis over the ocean horizon.


Tell us a little about what you do at TEAN?
I currently work on our New Zealand and Thailand programs. My role as team lead and Program Manager is to make sure everything on these programs is running smoothly working with our team. It includes everything from making sure students have pre-departure information on time to making sure they submit all of the items they need to study abroad (i.e. transcripts, courses, contracts, arrival details, payments, visa confirmations).

Where did you study abroad?
I studied with TEAN in Melbourne, Australia at Deakin University. It’s a more traditional campus, just outside the city but being able to live in the city and commute gave me the best of both worlds. Honestly, Melbourne has something for everyone – think sporting events, art, music, theatre, comedy, laneway cafes/restaurants/bars, shopping, the list goes on. Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, so why wouldn’t you choose to study there? If you’re looking for a Melbourne equivalent in New Zealand, check out Wellington known as the coolest little capital in the world. It’s a smaller city, but that makes it an easy city to get around by foot. It’s a very accessible city for study abroad students.

What brought you back to Melbourne to live and work after graduation?
When I graduated, I knew I wanted to return to Australia. My time studying abroad had given me that exposure to living abroad and I wanted to spend more time there as a professional. For my career, It was great to gain work experience at a university abroad. I’m so glad I went down this path or I might not have ended up at TEAN today!

Packing for study abroad is always a challenge and popular topic, as a frequent flyer – what insider tips do you have for someone packing for the semester?
I’ve become pretty good at packing light over the years since there have been so many times earlier on where I’ve overpacked. I took half of my closet and never touched the majority of it. You will hear the advice – pack everything you think you’ll need then take half of it – and it’s so true. My other advice is to pack articles of clothing you can mix and match to create different outfits to help reduce items. Also try to keep the shoe situation under control, they take up a lot of room. Bring a couple pairs that are super versatile (and comfortable).

If you were going to study abroad tomorrow on a TEAN program where would you go?
I’m biased, but I would study on one of our New Zealand programs. Since working with our TEAN New Zealand students, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand a few times and have visited all program locations. I’ve also done some traveling in the South Island. I would love the idea of going for a full semester, joining a tramping club on campus and getting out into the beauty of New Zealand in my free time!

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