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Frequently Asked Questions

There are some questions that come up again and again, and while many of them are answered comprehensively in the registration booklet and on the website, it is a lot of information to sift through, so here you go…

What do I need to bring?

Necessary clothing

Some projects and afternoon activities take place in the outdoors and in mildly rugged conditions. Some of the projects and 'snacks' take place in University of Otago laboratories where you are required to wear closed-toe shoes at all times.

Gear list

  • Bring clothing suitable for summery days and outdoor activities, but also come well prepared with warm protective clothing and footwear in case of rain or wind (or both) and cool temperatures.
  • Bring sportswear that can get dirty!
  • If you play a musical instrument, then feel free to bring it.
  • Bring a waterproof jacket, sports shoes, backpack, drink bottle.
  • Personal toiletry items, alarm clock, camera, sunglasses, sunblock, and hat.
  • You will need extra money for snack foods, free-time activities such as swimming or shopping trips to town.
  • Meals from Sunday lunch or dinner to Friday lunch are covered by your fees.

Please do not bring any unnecessary valuables or surplus clothing.

How do I get to Hands-On at Otago from the airport or bus station?

We meet every flight students arrive on, we meet every bus, and we deliver back to every return home flight or bus. It’s free and friendly. Don’t panic! We'll send out some of our student helpers to meet you, and they'll make sure no-one gets left behind.

Do I have to share a room?

Nope. Each student has their own room, which comes with bed linen and two towels for the week. If you think you’ll need more than two, bring your own extras…

Do I have to share a bathroom?

Yes. There are multiple showers etc in each bathroom, and the water heating is pretty good, but you need to be considerate of others…

Can I be on the same floor as my friend?

Of course you can. It helps to let us know who your friend is early on, so when you send in your registration let us know who you’d like to room beside. On the other hand, you’ll make so many new friends in the first five minutes, it won’t be as much of a concern as you might think….

How careful is the supervision?

Obviously Hands-On at Otago is mixed, but we recognise that these young people are young, and we have been given a huge responsibility to look after them. So we separate boys and girls, there’s supervision on each floor from senior or postgraduate students. There are plenty of social activities which take into account the wide range of ages and interests of the students attending.

Why didn’t I get the project I wanted?

Each project has a limited number of places, and we allocate on a first-in-best-dressed system. If your application is the fifteenth one for a project that only takes 14, we will have to put you in another of your picks. Unfortunately in some instances all of an individuals projects are already full by the time their registration gets to us. In that case we will work very hard to find space in a project that is closely related to the ones you have chosen. We do try very hard to place everyone satisfactorily!