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India in Dunedin

Are there many Indians living in Dunedin? Are there Indian events, restaurants and supermarkets in Dunedin? In this post, Kate explores life in Dunedin for Indian students, and we meet Khushboo, a current Otago student.

Dunedin has an active, supportive and growing Indian community who hold events and celebrations throughout the year. Just this past weekend, Diwali was celebrated in style with a range of activities held at various locations around the city.

And last month, the Dunedin Bengali Association held what is believed to be the southernmost Durga celebration in the world.

Facebook connects Indians in Dunedin from all walks of life, with online communities like Indians in Dunedin, the Dunedin Tamil Society. Outside of Facebook, the Indian Weekender keeps Kiwi-Indians up to date on all current news and events.

Dunedin has a wide range of delicious Indian restaurants, including a number of affordable options perfect for student budgets, as well as a dedicated Indian supermarket for those more inclined to cook at home.

University Life for Indian Students

On campus at the University of Otago, the Indian Students Association is an active and enthusiastic group who regularly host food festivals and cultural events and generally celebrate life as only Indians can – through music, dance, food and cricket!

And for prospective students from India, Otago recently launched the Indian Student Connection facebook page connecting future and current students.

But what’s it really like for Indians at Otago?

But don’t take our word for it, meet Khushboo who is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Science in Forensic Analytical Science and Biochemistry.

So there you have it – you’ll find a little piece of India right here in Dunedin!

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Kate Davis is in the International Marketing team at the University of Otago. 

The Insider’s Top 5 Reasons to Study at the University of Otago

International students have many, many different reasons for choosing the University of Otago. Some of these reasons are well-known, like Otago ranking in the top 3% of universities in the world. Others not so much, and it’s these reasons that Nicky shares with you in this inaugural post.

When it comes to deciding which university you want to travel half way across the world to attend, there is probably no shortage of information within the deafening noise of the internet. We know international students have plenty of options, and we know what makes Otago special. But we also talk to the thousands of students that venture to Otago, all the way down here in New Zealand, and we wanted to share a few of the reasons why they think Otago is their number one.

1. Our approachable and accessible staff

Everybody, and I mean literally EVERY international student who comes to study with us cannot believe how friendly, approachable and available our academic staff are. There are no titles at Otago – you won’t find Professor Juergen Gnoth asking to be called Professor Juergen Gnoth, it is simply Juergen. Our academic staff have an open door policy a lot of the time – you are encouraged to ask questions and to receive help,  the barriers to learning are broken down by this style and as a result you will find you learn more.

2. Flexibility of the Otago degree

When you study at Otago, you could just do one degree focusing on a single major (subject). But Otago recognises that we are all complex characters with numerous interests and talents, so you could study a double major (two subjects) or a double degree/double major, or add a minor (focusing just a little bit on another subject), or….you get the picture! Plus, depending on your degree, most students get to choose a number of individual papers (courses) of their liking. Perhaps you’re studying Accounting but your real passion lies in interpretive dance, so why not dabble in DANC201 Contemporary Dance Fusions. Or you might be interested in adding a cheeky paper about selfies (MFCO224 Studying Selfies) to your degree in Botany? At Otago you can. Lucky for you we understand that one size does not fit all, so read on to number 3.

3. Broad range of subject areas and academic staff

Maybe you’re not entirely sure what you want to do in life, or what you would like to study?  Perhaps that is why you are choosing to study in a whole new country?  Don’t panic – it’s perfectly normal! Otago offers a wide range of subject areas, taught by world class academics who have chosen to leave their home countries to live and teach here. Our teaching is research-led, so the information you are receiving in class is right at the cutting edge of what your lecturer is researching outside of the classroom. You may just find your study passion is something that you never knew existed, until you came to Otago.

4. New Zealand’s student city

If you like the idea of being surrounded by thousands of students, just like yourself, within a small geographical radius, studying in a compact walkable campus within 5 – 10 minutes of your accommodation, then Otago is definitely for you. Otago is not just about academic excellence, it is about offering a student experience and culture that is truly unique. The University of Otago has a population of over 20,000 students with nearly 3,000 international students included in this. And don’t think it is all local Dunedin-ites (people that call Dunedin city home) a staggering 85% of our students come from outside Dunedin.

5. Beautiful Campus

“Wow…I had no idea it was so beautiful….”

“I fell in love with Otago when I first visited it on holiday.”

These are statements we often hear. We are one of only two universities in the world to have a river flowing through the heart of our campus. Yes…a river – complete with cute fluffy ducklings in the spring and salmon heading to their spawning grounds. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of our campus judge away… We also (not wanting to boast) have a mixture of historic buildings that would happily please the director of a Harry Potter movie set, alongside new buildings blended into this mix. Imagine all of this, set amongst sweeping green lawns, lush trees, manicured flower beds and dotted throughout a range of contemporary art works and sculptures. Being around so much beauty is a privilege and an inspiration all at the same time.

So there you have it, the insider’s top 5 reasons to study at the University of Otago!


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Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!