• View of Mountains

    Capstone in New Zealand

  • UNI student exploring a Hobbit Hole in Hobbiton

    Capstone in New Zealand

  • UNI student at geothermal site on North Island

    Capstone in New Zealand

  • New Zealand countryside

    Capstone in New Zealand


New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Located approximately 900 miles east of Australia and 600 miles south of Fiji, the islands of New Zealand have an interesting assemblage of plants and animals due to their remoteness. They were one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans.

Program participants will study the geology and landscape of the islands, the unique biodiversity and human impacts on them, colonization of the islands by Polynesian people and Europeans, and the modern society and culture. 

I strongly encourage you to visit New Zealand. The country is insanely beautiful and Kiwis (New Zealanders) are very open and like to have fun. It opened my eyes to how other cultures and countries interact and solve their problems in a way that brings everyone together. - Benjamin, 2017

I never knew that I could learn so much about a country by simply visiting it. . . . The biggest shocker to me was that people genuinely cared how you were doing and if you understood what they were talking about. I would go back to New Zealand in a heartbeat.- Alexandra, 2017


Course Leaders

Peter Berendzen, Associate Professor

Department: Biology
Phone: 319-273-7026
E-mail: peter.berendzen@uni.edu
Campus Address: MSH 93

Peter has lead study abroad programs to Taiwan and the Galapagos and has traveled extensively throughout the world for both education and pleasure. His academic expertise is in biodiversity and conservation, which will be the focus of the Capstone in New Zealand program. Peter loves to go "off the beaten path" and have authentic travel experiences abroad. He is looking forward to leading students on this exciting journey to New Zealand!


CAP 3140: Environment, Technology & Society (2 credits)

To view the course syllabus, click HERE. Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the spring semester. Please contact the program's course leader for more information.  


  • In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program's course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study. 
  • Students planning to participate in the spring commencement ceremony in May can enroll in this summer term program, however, their degree will not be conferred until the end of the summer term and is contingent on the successful completion of the program and all required coursework.
  • Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
  • Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken the program's capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.


Tentative Program Dates: Sunday, May 19 to Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Sample itinerary is subject to change.

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland two days after departure from the U.S. (day is lost due to crossing the International Date Line)

Day 2: Interactive cultural workshop at Auckland University of Technology, then visit to local kiwi fruit farm

Day 3: Ferry to Rangitoto Island for a summit walk on the youngest volcano in New Zealand; in the afternoon, go to the top of Auckland's Sky Tower. At 328 meters, the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers views for up to 80 kilometers in every direction.

Day 4: Boat ride in the Waitomo Caves. The glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. At the Waitomo Caves, you’ll have the chance to see thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their luminescent light. Next, you'll see the Kiwi House, a native bird park preserve offering nocturnal kiwi houses, daily talks and feedings, plus a large aviary, paths and ponds.

Day 5: Visit to Hobbiton, the setting for a large part of the Lord of the Rings movies. See how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into the Shire from Middle-Earth. Afterwards, visit Te Puia. This natural reserve features geysers, hot springs, and silica formations. You’ll also see the native Kiwi bird and a cultural center which features schools for wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving. While you’re here, enjoy an authentic cultural show before an earth-cooked hāngi dinner.

Day 6: Bathe in natural thermal waters and visit Huka Falls. This 33-foot natural wonder flows water at a rate of 5,800 liters per second – enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 11 seconds!

Day 7: Drive to Wellington, recently named the “coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet

Day 8: Enjoy a full day trip to Putangirua Pinnacles, a natural phenomenon from 120,000 years of erosion

Day 9: Travel to the South Island by ferry

Day 10: Activities TBA; whale watching possibility

Day 11: City tour of Christchurch, then a visit to Lake Tekapo, the largest of three stunning blue lakes in the center of South Island. The unique turquoise color is made from rock dust – rock which has been ground down by glaciers.

Day 12: Visit Queenstown and enjoy breathtaking views at Mt. Cook Village, located at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountains

Day 13: Cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Farm. Here, enjoy a walking tour of the farmyard, help feed sheep, and get a closer look at deer and Scottish highland cattle. Watch the sheep dogs in action, a shearing display, and maybe try your hand at wool spinning before enjoying an authentic barbeque lunch.

Day 14: Depart from Queenstown for U.S.

Housing & Meals

Students will stay in a hotels or hostels arranged by the Study Abroad Center and paid for before departure.  Most meals will be paid for by students out-of-pocket while abroad. Only a few meals are built into the cost of the program. Students are encouraged to try the local foods.

Program Costs

Capstone in New Zealand

Estimated Program Cost:


* estimated total cost of participation, actual amount depends on type of housing accommodation selected, actual airfare purchase price, personal spending habits, and other factors

Click Below to View Detailed Budget Sheet:

Cost of studying on-campus*

*per semester, estimated, will vary per person

Tuition & Fees:


Room & Board:




Personal Expenses:






Source: https://admissions.uni.edu/costs

Dates & Deadlines


App Deadline: 
Friday, February 15, 2019
Program Dates: 
Sunday, May 19, 2019 to Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:

  • Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
    • If your cumulative GPA is between 2.40 to 2.49, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (28 Gilchrist):
      • A letter of reference from your academic advisor supporting your pursuit of study abroad
      • An essay, which should explain why your cumulative GPA is below a 2.50, include how your cumulative GPA is stable or improving, a detailed plan for improving your academic performance a strong academic and/or personal interest in your study abroad location and/or course, and a compelling academic rationale for studying abroad.
  • Must be over the age of 18 years old
  • Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
  • Must be in good standing with the University
  • UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
  • Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
  • All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
  • Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.