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Making Dunedin Home

Jocelyn Pietro
Jocelyn Pietro
Jocelyn Pietro is on exchange at Otago University from her home school of Elon University in North Carolina, USA. Back home she studies Public Health and she also has specific interests in Human Services and Interreligious Studies. While at Otago, Jocelyn hopes to immerse herself in studies as well as adventure outside of her comfort zone. She is very excited to share her exchange experience with people near and far as she continues to travel around New Zealand.

There are so many emotions that come along with embarking on an adventure to study abroad in a new place whether that be for a semester, a year, or longer. If you are considering the University of Otago hopefully the following information will help to settle some of the nervous emotions that come along with that.

Move in feels like it was just yesterday and it’s crazy to think that so soon I will be having my last weekend here in Dunedin (my home away from home). There are always things to do in Dunedin and always support systems to fall back on. One of these support systems is the infamous Uniflats.


Okay, first things first about Uniflats, they ROCK! They are super helpful in placing you with the right people and if all else fails they are willing to help you find the right place. We have had a student go home for personal reasons and then had another one move in and she was the perfect addition.

In addition to Uniflats incredible job of placement, we can also consider the placement with a Kiwi Host. A Kiwi Host is a New Zealand student who attends the University of Otago and will help you to get your feet on the ground (no they are not an RA, nor a babysitter). This person can be extremely helpful and typical are some of the most friendly people you will meet while on your exchange.

International Office

In addition to Uniflats, the International Office at Otago has a huge support system for your time here in Dunedin. They aid with the process of orientation as well as provide emotional support throughout one’s time in Dunedin.


There is always something to do in the city of Dunedin. Whether that be cafe hopping, botanical garden walking, or perusing the local museum. Below is a list of must dos:

  • Visit the Botanical Gardens.
  • Get brunch at as many cafes as possible.
  • Have a night out in the Octagon listening to live music.
  • Walk the street art with some of your friends.
  • Participate in a BYO.
  • Do an escape room with your flat.
  • Visit Otago Museum the Toitu Museum.
  • Attend a Saturday morning Farmer’s market near the train station.
  • Go on a Speight’s and Cadbury tour.
  • Go to a rugby game!
  • Walk up the world’s steepest street (Baldwin Street).
  • Climb up Signal Hill.
  • Hike Pineapple Track for a view of the entire city.


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If you complete all of these things, do not fear there is still so much more. These are all just must dos to make Dunedin feel like home. Soon enough this quaint city will feel like home and as you leave a part of you will feel as you did coming into this unknown place leaving all of the familiarities of your family, friends, and everyday life. You will have established yourself in this same way in a different part of the world and that’s okay.


You will now have not one home, but two, what’s better than that? Three dollar lunch at OUSA Monday through Friday. Now seriously, you have the tools, go make Dunedin your home.

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