FA Experience

NZ at its best!

Frontiers Abroad’s goal is to provide a study abroad experience that is academically challenging, engaging, culturally rich, and leaves students with a love of New Zealand! Living and studying in New Zealand is an experience in and of itself, with unique experiences occurring almost daily. New Zealand is a small country with major sites and adventures only a short drive or plane ride away. For more information on New Zealand and things to do, visit here.

2019 Semester 1 Geology crew celebrating being at the top of the mountain, central South Island.

 A Land of Many Cultures

New Zealand is a land of many cultures, many of which you will be exposed to during your stay. New Zealand society is based around its Anglo-Saxon “origins”, but is heavily influenced by Maori culture, the original inhabitants of Aotearoa / New Zealand. Nestled in the South Pacific, New Zealand is also influenced by the neighboring Pacific Islands. In fact, Auckland boasts the largest population of Pacific Islanders in the world!

Frontiers Abroad students rowing the waka (Maori war canoe) after the Waitangi Day celebrations in 2012.

Challenging Your Concepts of Learning

Through field based activities, ‘text book’ examples of natural phenomena can be found in some of the most extreme and beautiful landscapes. With complete immersion into an environment, FA students gain the ability to think critically and creatively while actively observing processes in action. Frontiers Abroad is also one of the few programs in the world using the concept of ‘longitudinal learning’, linking a pre-semester field program with directed semester courses.

Individual Research

Central to our program model is inquiry-driven, research-based learning. During the program, students engage in research and mapping projects that begin during field camp and carry on through the semester. Research from these projects is commonly presented at AGU meetings (Geology students), and of quality appropriate for publication. Some past students have even gone on to publish research they began with FA! For a complete list of past research projects, visit our Student Research page.

Field Camp Accommodation

During field camp, students live in a variety of field stations, lodges, and marae (traditional Maori meeting houses). These facilities are generally bunk style accommodation with two to four students sharing a room. Large living quarters, great rooms, and study halls are the norm. Internet access is limited. Meals are prepared by our camp cooks! While evenings are generally filled with office work, there is ample time to relax in these amazing locales.

At Umutahi Marae with Dr Dan Hikuroa.

Geology: While in the South Island, the Geology program bases out of the University of Canterbury’s field stations. The Cass and Westport Field stations are well-equipped and situated in beautiful locations. For more information, visit the University of Canterbury’s field station website.

Centre of photo is Cass Field Station, located in Cass (population of 1). Perspective view from GoogleEarth Pro.

In the North Island, we stay on the flanks of Mt. Ruapehu at Ski Lodges in Whakapapa Village. From Ruapehu each day we travel to our field locations – geothermal fields, ignimbrite deposits, lava flow fields, and various styles and types of eruptive deposits.

Earth Systems: In New Zealand, while learning about kaitiakitanga and completing their research projects, students stay the Umutahi Marae, the traditional Maori meeting house. The Earth Systems program also takes advantage of the University of Canterbury’s field stations. Check them out here!

Semester Accommodation

Frontiers Abroad students stay in self-contained apartments either the University of Canterbury or the University of Auckland with other university students. For more information about campus housing, visit the links below:



Ilam apartment with a shared living area, kitchen and bathroom.

Explore New Zealand

Whether in New Zealand during field camp or staying for a semester you have plenty of opportunities to see and experience New Zealand. Our field trips traverse the North and South Islands of Aotearoa / New Zealand and provide you with “guided tours” while you learn.

While here in New Zealand many of our students make the most of their weekends and their mid semester breaks. If you stay in Christchurch or Auckland the outdoors is only a shirt drive away.

Popular weekend activities from Christchurch are:

Hiking in the alpine environment (Arthurs Pass, Mt Cook)

Star gazing at Lake Tekapo

Mountain biking at the Christchurch Adventure Park

Visiting Dunedin

Skiing at the local skifield (1 1/2 hours drive)

Surfing at Sumner

Visiting and tastings at the farmers’ market’s

Hiking on Banks Peninsula

A short hiking route above the village of Akaroa, Banks Peninsula.

Popular weekend activities from Auckland are:

Wine tasting at Waiheke Island

Exploring the far North

Thermal fields at Rotorua

Visit the Coromandal Peninsula

Explore Rangitoto Island

Black sand beaches of the West Coast

White water rafting near Taupo, central North Island.

Want to hear from FA Alumni?

Several past students have volunteered to be student ambassadors for the program. If you would like to contact a past student, please email FA alumna Jamie Shannon (jamie@frontiersabroad.com) who will answer your questions directly, or provide you with another alumni contact!

Thank you for your interest in Frontiers Abroad and we look forward to seeing you in New Zealand soon!