Your AOUA donations fund grants for students on exchange at a US partner institution. One award to the value of US$1500 is available per institution, with up to 15 awards being made in any one year. Based on academic achievement and personal qualities, selection is made by a panel of university staff which includes the Manager of the Exchange Programme and the Head of Alumni Relations. To be considered for a student exchange programme, students must have completed at least one semester of fulltime study at Otago before applying, with a minimum B average grade.
Exchange Programme students undertake study at an international partner institution and credit the work they complete back to their Otago degree. The University has Exchange Agreements with 90 institutions around the world, and currently has agreements with the following universities in the USA: Boston College, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, University of California (all Colleges in the system), University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management, University of North Carolina – Kenan Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina – MBA programme, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Oregon, University of Richmond, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Austin McComb’s School of Business, University of Virginia.
As the following reports and photos from US exchange students show, your donations are making a huge difference for Otago students. We’d love to hear from alumni who are interested in reaching out to Otago US Exchange students attending Colleges near them – contact an AOUA Board member to discuss your interest.
My name is Taana trotter, I am 15 years old and go to Queens High...
My name is Taana trotter, I am 15 years old and go to Queens High School
in Dunedin. I attended the 2015 Deep Thought Programme with the help of
the money from being awarded the Alumni of the University of Otago in
America Inc. Scholarship. I wanted to go on this course to further my
knowledge of marine science and to be exposed to more of this amazing
science to see it as a future career option.
The course was about oceanography and three main aspects; physical
oceanography, benthic and planktonic. I was in the benthic group and we
did our study on ‘how different sediment types affect the richness and
abundance of benthic organisms’. We gathered our data onboard the RV.
Polaris II using a grab to take samples of the ocean floor. We then took a sediment sample from
each grab sample, and strained the rest of the sediment out using 1mm mesh, leaving anything
bigger than this behind. We did this in multiple locations that we thought would have courser
sediments and finer sediments.
Back at the lab we sorted through the samples taking out all life forms and, under a microscope,
counting them and identifying them. Then we got all our data together and made conclusions and
presented back all our work at the end of the course. I actually really enjoyed collecting and
sorting out the data. I was amazed to find how many different species of worms there were and
how they look only slightly different, but could be a completely different species. In our group I
found it hard dealing with the other leaders, since I myself often take up this role. With others also
trying to lead we often clashed, so I stood down from leading and just did what work was needed,
even if it wasn’t the way I would do it. In group situations this often has to be done.
As I stated before there’s a lot, I mean like a lot, of different species of worms as well as other
benthic organisms and I think it would be quite interesting to learn how to identify the different
species. This would be very hard but I believe a very great talent to have. I learnt a lot
academically and gained great skills. I learnt a lot about the benthic organisms and about the
range of sediment types (e.g. the difference between sandy mud and muddy sand). I also learnt
from what the other groups presented. A lot of computer skills were gained like; shortcut codes in
Microsoft Excel, how to do certain shortcuts and use programs with Mac computers, and also
furthering my knowledge on fair testing and carrying out a scientific investigation.
I made some great new friends and caught up with some old ones. I had a lot of fun with the night
activities that were all marine-based. Coping in group situations, working with a range of people
with different skills, abilities and ways of thinking, is something that will help me in the future to
get along with everyone and work efficiently and effectively.
I want to thank the Alumni of the University of Otago in America Inc. so much for awarding me the
scholarship, which allowed me to have this brilliant experience and provided me the opportunity to
further my scientific knowledge, as well as gain people skills and let me explore marine science
further. I will continue to use my knowledge in and outside of school and hopefully with the years
to come I’ll have this experience to help me decide which future career in science is right for me.
With all my gratitude, Thank you.
As a member of the University of Otago alumni community, you are part of a unique and expanding network of people all with one common bond.
University of California Berkeley
My exchange to UC Berkeley really was the opportunity of a lifetime. The Alumni of...
My exchange to UC Berkeley really was the opportunity of a lifetime. The Alumni of America Scholarship allowed me to study at one of the world’s best universities, embrace a culture once unknown and to see things from a new perspective.
During my time at Berkeley I lived in one of the iconic student coops. This was a truly dramatic and wonderful experience for me. It put me in contact with so many people, both American and International, with the warmest hearts and most creative minds. I have fond memories of its walls covered in murals, the laughter that bounced from door to door and the fascinating conversations held into the small hours of the morning.
Over my exchange I was able to walk through Muir woods, Tilden park, Pier 39, Alcatraz, see baseball, basketball, gymnastics, bike the Golden Gate Bridge, travel to Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, Las Vegas and LA, drive through Death Valley, win my first marathon, run a 50km ultra-marathon and witness the vastness of the Grand Canyon. In giving me more financial flexibility whilst on my exchange, the Alumni of America Scholarship allowed me to immerse myself in many of the experiences I have listed above.
The incredible personal experiences I had did not come at any expense academic work, in my field of Neuroscience. Quite to the contrary. Of my four courses, I received three A+ grades and one A. For one course I was the third person in its history to get an A+.
Berkeley has been an utterly transformative experience. I am convinced I am a richer person, a more complete person, for having been there. I have no regrets and do not feel as though I left any stone unturned. I thank you deeply for what has been one of the best experiences of my life.
University of Texas at Austin | Fall 2013
My name is Maeve Jones and I was on exchange at the University of Texas...
My name is Maeve Jones and I was on exchange at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2013. This was a great semester where I was given lots of opportunities to fully immerse myself in Longhorn life. I am very thankful for the Alumni funds that helped me get there. The funds were received at the perfect time to help me purchase my flights and I am very grateful for the generosity of the donors.
As an English and linguistics student I was able to take courses that exposed me to the cultural and linguistic diversity in the United States. This was a great way to learn about the history and the some of the social and political dynamics of one of the most influential countries in the world. It was invaluable to be able to study the English language from a completely different perspective.
I had a large workload on the exchange and found it very academically rewarding. The American teaching style meant a lot more writing tasks than what we are used to in New Zealand so I was really able to hone both my writing skills and my time management. The sheer size of the institution meant there were many amazing sporting and cultural opportunities available that we would not receive in New Zealand and I loved taking advantage of these.
During the semester I chose to live in co-operative housing, which was a real highlight of the exchange. The co-operative model is not one that exists in the New Zealand university system and I found it very inspiring. Everyone contributed to the running and upkeep of the house and took responsibility for themselves. Whilst living in such a large and diverse country like the U.S. enhanced my understanding of the world, the co-op living experience made me realise the importance of looking after the people in our communities and helping each other.
The finish line of the Capital to Coast relay that I participated in with the University of Texas running club
The University of Virginia | Semesters 1 and 2, 2013
First I would like to acknowledge and thank the Otago Alumni who have generously donated...
First I would like to acknowledge and thank the Otago Alumni who have generously donated some of their own funds to help me have the experience of studying in America.
Whilst at the University of Virginia, I was able to thoroughly engage in my area of studies, Theatre, throughout my American college experience. It gave me the opportunity to study the specifics I am particularly interested in, Production Management being a primary one, and allowing me to become more skilled in these areas. It also allowed me to take up opportunities to apply these new skills in a real life situation, whilst still in a learning environment – I was given the chance to take a Production Lab class for credit which involved me being the Stage Manager for the Drama Department musical, as well as learning to create and produce all the necessary paper work that goes with the job.
This overseas exchange experience has opened my eyes to the great scope of necessary jobs and opportunities available in the theatre industry. With the help of the Alumni Scholarship, I got the chance to explore some of these options in an academic environment, as well as being able to experience them in the real world during my trips to Broadway, New York in the summer holidays. It also allowed me to spend some time during the summer as a volunteer at the Heritage Theatre Festival, working for and learning about a summer stock theatre company.
Thanks to the Otago Alumni Association and the University of Otago Exchange Office, I was able to have this amazing experience of living and studying in America. I thank them greatly and am looking forward to encouraging other students to take such wonderful opportunities.
Florida International University (FIU), Miami, FL, USA | Semester 1 2014 (USA Spring semester)
While on exchange I studied Forensics, and the papers that I got to do included...
While on exchange I studied Forensics, and the papers that I got to do included some at undergraduate level and some at postgraduate level. The Forensics courses at FIU are great, as the field and courses are much bigger and more developed compared to our relatively new course here at Otago, thus it was a great experience being able to learn from some of the world’s leading researchers in various fields of Forensics. Further to this, I was able to make some connections with leading Forensics researchers which will prove invaluable.
To start off I was originally not planning on going on exchange at all, but the opportunity arose through my course where I was able to study Forensics papers for a semester in America and I jumped at the chance. Thinking about it now I am so glad I did. Going on exchange is an awesome experience, even though it is hard to believe when only hearing about other people’s experiences about exchange and just being told that it is great. Even though it sounds corny, it does help you find out about yourself. You get to see how you react being in a totally new and exciting environment where everyone is a stranger. I was lucky enough to have a month of traveling around the States after my exchange with some of the friends I had made at my host university, and I had the time of my life, with some friends I will keep forever!
The kindness and generosity of the Alumni of Otago in America Scholarship made it that much easier for me to complete my exchange overseas in the United States and I am so grateful. Not just for the amazing experience which encompasses the exchange, but the valuable courses I was able to take, and the lifelong friends I have made along the way!
University of Texas | Spring Semester'2015
My name is Sam Holborow and I was lucky enough to attend the McCombs School...
My name is Sam Holborow and I was lucky enough to attend the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin during the Spring Semester of 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Alumni of the University of Otago in America for their generous scholarship grant which allowed me to make the most of my exchange experience.
McCombs is one of the premier business schools in the United States and I made the most of my opportunity to learn from ex-industry lecturers and impressive guest lecturers, engage with companies at the numerous career events and other students during my classes.
The scholarship money was used to help with my accommodation costs. I stayed in a housing co-operative with a large group of other American students. This meant that I could engage with the local students and not confine myself to the ‘exchange student bubble’. It also gave me the opportunity to join them in intermural sporting teams and other student groups which made my time overseas much more enjoyable. I also went on numerous trips throughout Texas with them which gave me more of an appreciation of Texas.
My exchange experience rekindled my interest in the finance field as I was in such an engaging learning environment. It also fully met all my expectations of the American ‘college experience’ I was hoping for before I left New Zealand. Thank you to the Alumni of the University of Otago in America again for helping make one of the best semesters of my time at university possible.
University of Oregon | First semester 2014 (Winter & Spring terms at UoO)
My studies at the University of Oregon helped me to realize the range of opportunities...
My studies at the University of Oregon helped me to realize the range of opportunities available to me as an academic. Whilst studying at UoO I was able to take a variety of courses that I would have been otherwise unable to experience; such courses included anthropology and ethnic studies in Native American culture. By studying interesting courses in varying fields I was able to realize new interests of mine. This subsequently broadened my spectrum of possible work and study areas; and for this I am grateful. I am therefore considering anthropological studies as an option for future academic pursuits. I have additionally come to realize that it is possible to extend my academia beyond New Zealand alone which may be beneficial for research in future.
My experiences abroad were ultimately eye opening and positive. I was able to meet a vast array of people from many different countries and backgrounds, all of which I found fascinating. I was able to get an insight into the varying lifestyles and viewpoints that exist throughout the globe and learn how to interact with people from a vast array of cultures. Furthermore, I was able to develop friendships and contacts in many different countries which have already proved to be valuable, as I was able to visit friends’ homes during travels following my exchange.
My exchange was an incredible experience and helped me to grow both academically and personally. I am extremely thankful for the support provided by the Alumni as this would not have been possible without their generosity. Thank you.
First of all, I would like to thank you for the support I was given...
First of all, I would like to thank you for the support I was given while on exchange. It really helped me to get the most out of my exchange and make it the tremendously positive experience that it was. My name is Ben Lorimer, and I spent the fall semester, from August to December 2013, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Going on exchange really helped me broaden my global understanding and my perspective on the USA. It challenged my preconceived notions of their culture and attitudes, and reversed many of my beliefs on how they behaved, and also showed me what the real American life and people are like, rather than the image portrayed by the media.
Studying at Chapel Hill also gave me a different perspective on History, and gave me an opportunity to focus on American history in a way that would not be possible in New Zealand. This played a large role in broadening my horizons and global understanding, and also helped me understand better the political decisions made in the USA. The exchange also pushed me into a foreign country with no preexisting relationships, and this was great in helping me develop my ability to talk to anyone and everyone and build relationships. This will be a vital skill in my desired profession of clinical psychology. Most importantly, spending a semester in the USA has given me a whole new set of friends from all around the world, and was personally very rewarding for this reason.
Thank you for giving so generously to us and past recipients of this award, it truly made my exchange experience better, and the extra travel I was able to do was very rewarding.