University of Otago Language Pathway

Language Pathway
Globally Recognized
Delivery Method:
Multi Term, Single Term

About the Program

New Zealand’s oldest university, University of Otago is well-regarded for its deep respect for the country’s rich cultural history, shaping generations of local leaders through its scientific, medical, political, literature and athletic pursuits. On the South Island’s southeastern coast in the picturesque city of Dunedin, the University of Otago has been hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful campuses, with an abundance of mountains, harborside, and ocean views.

Kayak racing to Meditation Club to spearfishing and hunting: NZ adventures

The university and its education are at the heart of the town

Otago is perfect if you love being adventurous and outdoors

Classes of 18 give you the best chance for success

Program Advisor

Student Counselor SAFFY
Your Student Counselor is your study abroad ambassador and supporter. They join your application journey when you’ve confirmed you’re interested in studying abroad. At this point, they guide you through each stage of the application, notify you of the documents you need, let you know when your admission results are in, and walk you through the next steps, including class enrollment and organizing pre-arrival tests.
Schedule a Consultation

At a Glance

Language of Instruction:
GPA Requirements:
Academic Level:
Academic Strengths:
Sociology, Business, Economics & Finance, Environmental, History, English
Visa Required:

Stay Healthy & Safe While You Study Abroad


Kaori Saito

I often ask my host mother to check the grammar before submitting the assignment, but since the number of corrections has decreased considerably compared to before, I know my English ability has improved.

University of Otago SAF Alumni

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About the University

University of Otago

As the oldest university in New Zealand and one of the world’s finest institutions, the University of Otago is where you truly define yourself and choose your own direction in life on one of the world’s most-beautiful campuses.

With a deep respect for New Zealand’s cultural history, 95% of Otago graduates go directly into work or further study, and alumni since 1869 have followed the school motto—Dare to be Wise—and stepped out into the world to make a difference in the scientific, medical, political, literary, and—of course—rugby worlds. 

The university is in Dunedin, considered the gateway to the South Island, and framed by the mountains, harbor, and the Southern Ocean.

Learn more at University of Otago's official website


University of Otago's Academic Approach

When you join the pathway program, you take a placement test to determine which of the 5 class levels fits you best. You study 23 hours a week, taking the core English program with optional electives such as Test Skills and IELTS Preparation. To continue into academic classes after you’ve finished your language program, you need to achieve at least a 55% or higher to ensure you succeed in your credit-gaining classes.


In a class with no more than 18 students, you step into a deeply personalized and supportive learning environment. for 23 hours each week. Here, you work in close communication with language experts to prepare your English proficiency and confidence for the rigors of academic writing when you move into your discipline's academic program at the end of the semester. The program offers five levels, from beginner to advanced, as well elective courses to prepare you for internationally recognized tests. By the end of the pathway program, you must achieve 55% or higher to progress into academic classes.

Get To Know Our Application Process

From academics to visa requirements, our structured process helps you choose the right program and university for your goals. Complete a strong application, and prepare for success abroad.

Personalize Your Study Abroad Plan With Your SAF Counselor

Each student has unique academic goals for a study abroad experience. As you think about studying abroad, your SAF Counselor will help you plan for success and support you every step of the way.

Application Requirements

When applying to study abroad, you must meet the entry requirements set by the host university - and SAF is here to set you up for success.

The requirements outlined in this section include the language proficiency scores you may need to demonstrate your language skills, a guide to the GPA range and other academic prerequisites required by your host university, and a list of documentation and other application materials you will need to finalize your application. You may need to supply additional information throughout the process, and you will be alerted through your emails and SAF Student Portal if this is the case for you.
  • Language Proficiency
  • Academics & GPA
  • Application Documents & Materials

Language Test Score Requirements

If you hope to progress to academic classes, you need to achieve 55% at the end of the language component. To prove your language proficiency, you can use any of the following:

  • IELTS: 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT: 70

Learn More About Language Requirements

Program Dates

When studying abroad, you will want to consider the time of year and how long you are away. Most programs follow the host university's academic calendar.

The dates shown below are general estimates, and as you get closer to the start of the term, you will get more detailed information from SAF. If you have any questions, your Student Counsellor and Program Specialist are always here to support you and point you to the correct information.

Fall 2024 Language Pathway (15 week Presessional) + Spring 2025 Academic

Program dates:
Mid October - Mid June
Application Deadline:
Fees Starting From:

Spring 2025 (15 Week Pre-Sessional) Language Pathway + Fall 2025 Academic

Program dates:
Early March - Early November
Application Deadline:

Housing Information



The SAF program fee includes a comfortable and friendly homestay with a local family. 

*Housing is subject to availability. For specific questions regarding housing please contact SAF.

About Otago

Australia New Zealand Otago Destination 06

Why Otago

A dynamic, welcoming city, Otago is the gateway to New Zealand's South Island, framed by mountains, harbor, and the Southern Ocean. Otago has it all: beaches, alpine peaks, fjords, glaciers, world-class vineyards, and sub-tropical rainforest. It's a wealthy city and one of the nation's fastest growing centers. 

Learn more about Otago

The Student Experience

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Student Health & Safety

We champion health, safety, and security. As part of IES Abroad, the largest study abroad organization in the United States, we have set the standard for health and safety in study abroad for decades. We plan for the ‘what if’, so you can get on with the experience of a lifetime.
International Health Insurance

International health insurance included in the cost of your program

24/7 Emergency Phone Support

Total coverage to support you while traveling and in your new city

Location-Specific Information

Health and safety information prepared based on your destination

Health In Your Language

Highly trained multilingual staff to connect you to healthcare providers

Secure Housing

Quality, safe, secure housing within close proximity to your classes

Dedicated Expertise

Protection by a Dean of Students Office advocating for your interests


On Arrival

Your SAF pre-departure process will arm you with all the information you need for a smooth arrival to your new campus, city, and country.

To Housing

Your SAF program will include a safe transfer from your arrival airport to your new study abroad housing. We'll even provide you with top tips to make the most of your new city!

Home Sweet Home

Your SAF Program Specialist will coordinate with you to ensure you have arrived safely and settled into your new secure housing.

Keeping You Safe

As you settle in, you will learn about the SAF emergency alert system, our 24/7 phone support, and any safety concerns relevant to you.

Get Social

Your new university and SAF will arrange social and cultural events so that you can meet other study abroad and local students. Make the most of your adventure!

Advising and Support

The process of studying abroad could quickly feel overwhelming, but we have been doing this for decades and do everything we can to support you through it. 

Many SAF staff are alumni and have walked this path. They have real-life experience to draw on as they advise and support you through every step of our comprehensive services. They’re in your corner, taking care of all the details and explaining what you need to do next.

Take the first step in your study abroad journey by scheduling a consultation with your closest Student Counselor. You can discuss your for-credit academic courses and language programs and explore internships, research programs, and study tours. When you know what you want to do, we guide you through the pre-program steps, help you arrange your visa and transport, and finalize your accommodation or digital experience.

Get To Know Our Application Process

From academics to visa requirements, our structured process helps you choose the right program and university for your goals. Complete a strong application, and prepare for success abroad.

Personalize Your Study Abroad Plan With Your SAF Counselor

Each student has unique academic goals for a study abroad experience. As you think about studying abroad, your SAF Counselor will help you plan for success and support you every step of the way.

Commonly Asked Questions About Studying Abroad

Student Blogs

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UC Berkeley Study Abroad Course Guide

In the first three weeks of school, international students at UC Berkeley must finalize their course selections, considering factors like class capacity...


Why Travel With SAF?

Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience, one that stays with you in your career, your contacts, your future. It can define you. At any of our prestigious university partners, you can build personalized for-credit programs that can last up to a whole year.

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