Otago a class above

Home to the southern hemisphere's first girls' public secondary school, Dunedin offers powerful pathways to higher learning.
Home to the southern hemisphere's first girls' public secondary school, Dunedin offers powerful pathways to higher learning.

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, they say about New York. And, perhaps, Washington. Fact is, to make it in either city it might pay to be educated in Dunedin.

Take Duncan Chambers-Watson. The 25-year-old fashion designer who made the cut for the hit US TV show Project Runway learned his trade at Otago Polytechnic.

Or Fenella France, entrusted by Americans with restoring their most beloved icon, the original Star-Spangled Banner. Heading heritage preservation for the Library of Congress, France also discovered secrets in Thomas Jefferson's handwriting, edited by Presidents John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, in the Declaration of Independence.

Where did she pick up her skills? As a textile-science lecturer and postgraduate research manager at the University of Otago.

Any way you turn, you can discover successful people who did their tertiary studies in Dunedin. And it holds true for an astonishing variety of disciplines -- fashion, management, construction -- as well as its university's famous academies of medicine, dentistry, law, education and physical education.

Many former Dunedin students are making their mark around the world. Recent media stories have featured diverse achievers who trained in the city: the graduate in stonemasonry (yes, the polytechnic does have a stonemasonry course at its Cromwell campus) now manufacturing pizza ovens; Jessica Young, the champion harness racer who earned a bachelor of pharmacy; Rugby 7s skipper DJ Forbes gained his bachelor's degree in applied management and is now studying for a master's "while trying to make it to the Olympic Rugby 7s in Rio".

Forbes was awarded his degree from Capable NZ, an innovative Otago Polytechnic division that enables students to have the knowledge and experience people they've gained through their lives and careers formally assessed and count towards a qualification.

The common thread for all these students is: they chose to train in a city renowned for quality education, student culture, friendliness and an incredible natural environment.

Ask anyone who's invested more than a semester there, and they'll tell you Dunedin's strong and supportive social environment helps nurture lasting friendships.

An incredible range of music, entertainment, festivals and events means there's always something to enjoy together. The city is home to countless cafes, restaurants, arts and cultural venues, shopping and is the gateway to a stunning natural world.

DJ Forbes, Rugby 7s skipper and bachelor of applied management
DJ Forbes, Rugby 7s skipper and bachelor of applied management

With a population of 120,000, Dunedin may no longer be one the country's four largest cities but without a doubt it has some of the best civic facilities and infrastructure.

Student-friendly Dunedin boasts the youngest population in New Zealand -- 45 per cent of those people are aged under 30.

They're a happy bunch too -- a staggering 84 per cent rate their quality of life as good or extremely good.

Dunedin also has the country's highest concentration of locals with postgraduate qualifications. More than 36 per cent of residents have achieved some form of higher learning.

There's a fair amount of academic history. Dunedin is where learning began in New Zealand: our first university, first art school and the first girls' high school in the southern hemisphere were all founded here.

It remains a leader in global learning trends, offering an exceptional education and extraordinary experiences to students from around New Zealand and the world.

Like our Project Runway star. As Otago Polytechnic's fashion course head, Dr Margo Barton, said of Duncan: "He's not afraid to take risks, while also having a great sense of what seems crazy, but just might work."

Sounds like a typical Dunedin scarfie!

Dunedin in a textbook

Since opening the southern hemisphere's first girls' public secondary school in 1871, the city has offered the best in college education with powerful pathways to higher learning for generations of students. Helping young students achieve full potential, these schools ensure they learn and grow in a safe and secure environment.

Dunedin's world-ranked institutions make it a landmark study destination and a global source of knowledge and expertise. It's home to a world-ranked university (pictured), an institute of technology with top course completion rates, renowned research programmes, an extraordinary range of study-related opportunities and New Zealand's most lively student culture.

Career training
Dunedin's specialised providers deliver world leading skills-based education in areas ranging from aviation and dive instruction to travel and tourism.

English language learning comes easily in Dunedin, where more people speak English as their first language than any other city in New Zealand. It is the perfect place to learn English or improve your abilities with the support of our schools, higher education institutions and specialist English language providers.

- NZ Herald

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