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As a student in the School of Geography, you may have the opportunity to do a semester or a full year of your study overseas as part of the University's Student Exchange Programme.

If you are considering an overseas exchange, please see the University student exchange web page for general information

Wayne Stephenson is the School of Geography's exchange advisor and provides advice to majoring Geography and Environmental Management students on any aspects of exchange.

Contact Wayne ( for a preliminary discussion about exchange, or at any time during the application process for advice and help. Wayne can also assist students not majoring in Geography or Environmental Management who plan to take Geography papers while on exchange.

If you plan on taking Geography papers while you are away and would like these to count towards your Otago Geography degree, there is specific information that you need to know. Please read the important information given here carefully.

How do I go about getting approval from the School of Geography?

Before you are accepted into the Exchange Programme there are a number of steps that you need to take. DO NOT LEAVE THIS TO THE LAST MINUTE! Aim to complete these steps at least 3 weeks before your Learning Agreement needs to be signed.

How to apply

  1. Log on to eVision
  2. Go to 'Programme and Papers'
  3. 'Apply to Study Overseas' listing five exchange institutions in order of preference (you may make changes to this list at the time of your interview)
  4. Upload your statement of purpose and character reference
  5. If applying for a full academic year you will need to put in two applications
  6. An Exchange Adviser will contact you after the 'apply by' date and invite you for an interview

Before submitting your application

  • Attend a Otago Global information session
  • Choose institutions from the list of approved partners for Humanities (where applicable)
  • Identify your five destinations of choice in order of preference and be prepared to attend any of them
  • Ensure courses you need to take are offered in English (if applicable) and in the semester you will be on exchange
  • If you wish to take equivalent to 400 level papers on exchange:

a. Discuss this with the School of Geography's Student Exchange Advisor: Dr Wayne Stephenson

b. Check suitable destinations with an Exchange Adviser

  • If you intend starting a new degree programme on exchange please see the Head of School

Statement of purpose and character reference

1: Statement of Purpose

  1. Your name & ID number
  2. Degree(s) programme you will be studying on exchange
  3. Subject area (s) you will study on exchange
  4. Level(s) of papers you will take on exchange
  5. Outline your motivation and suitability for taking part in the Otago Global Student Exchange Programme, how courses at the selected institutions suit your Otago degree.

2: Character reference

Your character reference should be no more than six months old. It should be on letterhead (where possible) and should contain the full name, address, phone number and email address of your referee.

Your referee will be someone who knows you personally, and is able to provide relevant information about you to support your application. It could be an employer, a sports coach, a religious or other community leader, etc, but cannot be a personal friend or a family member.

Information for your referee

Your knowledge of the student will be an integral part of our nomination process. Please provide the University of Otago with information about the student's character, adaptability, ability to live independently, capacity to adjust to another culture, sense of responsibility and maturity, etc. .

Please let us know how long you have known the student, in what capacity and provide any impressions you believe would be useful to the selection panel in considering the student for an exchange.
The character reference should be on letterhead (where possible) and contain your full name, address, phone number and email address.

Contact an Exchange Adviser if you have any questions

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