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New Zealand: Christchurch - fall

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Earth Systems (fall) Quick Facts

Language of Instruction

Fields of Study
Environmental studies and access to the full university curriculum.

Host Institutions
University of Canterbury
Frontiers Abroad

University dormitory

Program Dates
Fall semester: Late June to early November

Faculty Liaisons
Rick Hazlett and Char Miller

Frontiers Abroad: Earth Systems (fall)

New Zealand comprises two large islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as many smaller islands. The indigenous Maori have named the country Aotearoa which is often translated into English as "The Land of the Long White Cloud." New Zealand owes its varied topography to its position straddling the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. The Southern Alps run the length of the South Island, with the highest peak in the range and the country, Mount Cook, standing at an impressive 12,320 feet. There are 18 peaks on the South Island that reach over 10,000 feet in height. The North Island is home to numerous volcanoes.

The tallest peak on the North Island, the 9,000 foot-tall Mount Ruapehu, is an active cone volcano. When not admiring the towering peaks or steaming volcanoes, one should take advantage of New Zealand's culture, which has been influenced by a mixture of British, American, Australian, Maori, European, Polynesian, and Asian cultures.

Christchurch is the South Island's largest city with about 370,000 inhabitants. A short distance from both the snowcapped Alps and the Pacific coastline, Christchurch is in an ideal location for the outdoor enthusiast. Lovers of art will also appreciate the city's thriving art scene. Christchurch boasts many beautiful parks, including a free botanical garden, that are inviting to walkers and joggers, or one may prefer to sit along the Avon river and watch the water flow on by.

The Frontiers Abroad fall program based in Christchurch analyzes current environmental issues arising from the interface between nature and society. The curriculum includes a four-week field camp in the Cook Islands, a group research project, and university courses at the University of Canterbury. The research projects are designed to assist in the re-development of Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake.


  • Established EA major.
  • Letter of recommendation written by an EA faculty member. 
  • 9.0 GPA overall.

Students should have a demonstrated academic interest in human and natural environments. Background in physical and biological sciences recommended. Students should meet with an EA faculty member or the faculty liaison. 

Number of Students

Frontiers Abroad enrolls approximately 25 students, selected from a national pool. 

Academic Program

Before classes begin at the university, students take part in a four-week field camp in the Cook Islands. The field camp consists of four modules: 1) Sustainability for Survival - The Island System, 2) “Kaitiakitanga, Maori Perspectives on Natural Hazards, Resource Management, and Environmental Restoration, 3) New Zealand Marine and Coastal Ecology, and 4) Hazards, Emergency Management, and Science Communication of the Canterbury Earthquakes. Once the university semester begins, students enroll in “Research Methods in Geography” GEOG 309 where they will participate in a group research project. The field and research components combined are worth 1.0 Pomona credit.

During the university semester, students choose three courses from the University of Canterbury academic departments. Pomona requires students to take a humanities or social science course with New Zealand content. Each course is worth 1.0 Pomona credit. 

Internet Links

Study Abroad