As BCA Dunedin summer program student, you will choose one course from the University of Otago courses (known as papers in New Zealand) that reflect New Zealand’s unique place in the world and include field trips to some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most stunning landscapes. You will also take a one-credit BCA course to help you to better understand your host country. Remember that because New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, their seasons are the opposite of the United States so you will be living and studying in Dunedin during their winter months.

BCA Signature Course

You will enroll in a one-credit BCA Signature course as part of the summer program. This course is available to BCA students only and will help to provide you with an understanding of the cultural, social and political climate of contemporary New Zealand through the lenses of nonviolence movements there. The course will allow you to spend additional time in New Zealand beyond the time you spend in the University of Otago program, and it will help to provide you with further insight into your host country.

As part of the course, you will attend a series of lectures while in Dunedin. The course focuses on the impact nonviolent protest has played in shaping Aotearoa/New Zealand. By the end of the course, you will have gained knowledge of the mechanisms that nonviolence uses to create social change;  research findings on the practice of nonviolence; and explored examples of nonviolence in New Zealand’s culture and society. After the University of Otago courses end, you will spend four days in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, visiting important historical and cultural centers such as the renowned Te Papa Museum, the New Zealand Parliament, and National Archives . Since Wellington is on the North Island the course provides you with the opportunity to experience a region of New Zealand that is geographically and culturally different from Dunedin and the South Island.

Download the syllabus.

University of Otago Course Listing

There are a limited number of courses on offer for the 2016 University of Otago International summer program. BCA students will choose one course from the options below.

Entrepreneurship: The New Zealand Way (3-credits)

Taught by faculty from the prestigious Otago Business School, this course look at the early stages of developing a new business idea – using the New Zealand market as an example in an international context. There is a focus on the individual student as an entrepreneur and advancing their skills in areas such as generating ideas, pitching ideas to others, networking, and engaging mentors. By focusing on the individual entrepreneur and the idea generation process, students can match their own circumstances with a business idea. These skills are foundational and can be transferred into future endeavors. This three-week course includes field trip to Queenstown, NZ to visit several small and medium enterprises operating in the adventure capital of the world.

Maori and Pacific Cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand (3-credits)

Taught by faculty from Te Tumu, Otago’s School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, this course centers around the study and practice of language, performing arts and cultural knowledge. Students will engage with indigenous worldviews and develop an understanding of specifically Maori and Pacific worldviews – how this underpins topics like material culture and relationships with the environment. The course also explores the impact of European colonization on Maori, the arrival of Pacific cultures, building of new relationships, and the development of 21st century cultural identities in Aotearoa New Zealand. The field outings include spending time on a marae (a traditional Maori meeting place), excursions to sites of cultural significance and two visits to local museums.

Southern Landscapes: Landscape Development and Environmental Change in South Island, NZ (3-credits)

Taught by faculty from Otago’s Department of Geography, this course introduces students to the geological and structural development of the Southern Alps, the key drivers of landscape development, the impact of people on the environment and the current state of the environment. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on understanding the temporal and spatial dimensions of change and developing an ability to read landscapes and understand the causes and consequences of environmental change. Students will traverse the Waitaki Valley and make their way to Aoraki Mount Cook for a three-day field trip. The field study will focus on reviewing the evidence of landscape change spanning geological to human time scales. There are also laboratory sessions during the on-campus period, in which students investigate uplift and erosion, study aerial photography and satellite imagery in relation to landscape development and map cultural change.


In New Zealand a paper is the terminology used for a “course” or “class.”


There are no prerequisites to participate in the summer program or courses. Students will be expected to complete pre-course readings intended to provide international students’ general knowledge of topics up to the level local students would be expected to hold through growing up in New Zealand.

Teaching Style

The basic method of presenting subject information in papers may include lectures, seminar discussions, laboratories and field trips. Lectures are only a basic means of introducing new knowledge and outside of class, you will be expected to learn more through your reading. There is mandatory pre-reading for each course that will be assigned in the beginning of June and will be required to be completed prior to your arrival in New Zealand. These readings are compulsory and will be assigned by email.


Courses are assessed in a variety of ways and might include oral presentations, group presentations, written reports or essays, labs, and final reports. The final write-up period for assessments extends until the end of August. The write-up can be completed and submitted electronically by students after the conclusion of the on-campus classes and/or field trips. Students are welcome to stay in Dunedin for the write-up period, but University accommodation will not be provided past the end of the on-campus classes in mid-July.

Credits/Number of Courses

Each University of Otago course is worth 12 Otago points or 3 U.S. credits. You will take one course at University of Otago for a total of 3 U.S. credits and will also receive 1 credit for the BCA signature course. In total, you will earn 4 credits for the four week program.