Campus Life

Your Life on Campus

The University of Canterbury has the largest campus in New Zealand according to land size. It is a beautiful, green, leafy, safe campus that inspires staff and students alike. From the upper floors of the library and Rutherford buildings on campus, you can see the city of Christchurch laid out below and all of this with the majestic, snow covered Southern Alps as a backdrop.

As a UCIC student at the University of Canterbury, you will have access to a variety of programmes and services outside the classroom that will give you the opportunity to meet students, explore your interests and most importantly to have fun! The University of Canterbury is home to the most active Students Association (UCSA) in New Zealand, with more clubs and societies than anywhere else. It will be easy to get involved, make friends and find like-minded people doing the things you love!

Explore the Campus

Do You Have Questions? We Have Answers

There will always be someone to help you and answer your questions when you arrive, but if you have questions now, please have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions or email our friendly staff at

Worried About Getting Lost on the University of Canterbury Campus?

Fear not! Dotted all over campus there are maps and information points to help you determine where you are and where you need to go. If you press the black button on the information point you will be put straight through to the security office on campus, where someone can help you. We even have a UC campus App called UC Finder that you can download to your phone and tablet, to help you find your way around and find out where everything is. But the really great thing is that Kiwi’s (New Zealanders) are especially friendly, so you can always just stop and ask someone! Download the UC campus map before you arrive!

You’ll Discover that the University of Canterbury and UCIC is a Vibrant and Active Student Community

Whether your interests are social, sport, religious, political, the environment, food and drink or performing arts – there will be many clubs to choose from. Some clubs are designed just for international students but in most of the other clubs and societies you will be surrounded by Kiwis, and people from all over the world. Students really benefit and develop skills, language ability and lasting friendships through clubs and societies outside of class-time. It is a great way to settle into your new home and make yourself part of the community. If you don’t see a club you like….just create your own!

Want to Grab a Bite to Eat or a Quick Coffee in Between Classes?

The UC campus is what we call a liveable campus, it’s like a little village all on its own. We can offer students a range of services, shops, even our very own art gallery! There is the UC Health Centre, Recreation Centre, University Bookshop, Bank, Post Office, Pharmacy – and that’s just to name a few! Best of all is that you are never far away from your latest caffeine hit, sandwich or sweet treat! Check out some of the eateries we have on campus.

Want to Connect to the Internet While on Campus?

When there is a lot of distance between you and your family it is important to stay connected so that it feels no one is far away. At UC you can connect to the WIFI network on both the main Ilam campus, the Dovedale campus and from the Halls of Residence on-campus accommodation. Students receive 200GB of free data and can purchase top-ups if more is needed.

Student Services Levy

Every student at UC, whether domestic or international, will pay a student services levy every year. This levy funds and entitles you to use the world class facilities UC has to offer. Your student services levy will be included on your letter of offer and should be paid along with your tuition fees. Find out more on what it funds and what it entitles you.

Canterbury Card (Student Services Card)

Your Canterbury Card is much more than just your student ID card, it is your security card for access to locked areas, your library card, your UCSA membership card, it’s even your debit card, so you can pay for internet, email, printing etc. Soon you will be wondering how you ever lived without one. So how do you get your hands on one of these? Well that’s where we come in, during your Orientation Week we will take you to pick up your Canterbury Card. There are a few things that you will need to take with you, so read your orientation guide fully and whatever you do….don’t forget to smile for the camera!

UC Health Centre

The University of Canterbury Health Centre is located right on campus and it serves UC staff and students. They offer very affordable health care and as international students are required to have full travel and medical insurance the good news is that you can claim back any costs with your insurance provider. You will need to check your individual insurance policy to see what you are covered for and what you can claim.

UC Recreation Centre

Like to get the heart pumping and muscles burning after a long day in lectures? Or maybe a relaxing yoga class is more your style. Whatever type of fitness suits you; chances are the UC Rec Centre has it. This is free for all students, you just have to register at reception and then your Canterbury Card will give you access for the year. Check out the awesome climbing wall!


Need a library? Well you are in luck because UC has four of them! At UC we know that collaboration and discussion are all part of the learning process just as much as quiet, self-directed research. Because of this our libraries are designed for everyone’s different learning styles – they have been cleverly divided into zones, on some floors you can talk and discuss things with your friends but on other floors (quiet zones) it’s best to keep your head in the book! And libraries are not just for books, there are many other things hiding in there too, such as computer labs, private rooms that can be booked, and a range of other services.

Public Transport

Around 2,000 students choose to live on campus at UC but for those who don’t there are many private rental properties in the surrounding suburbs, most located within walking or cycling distance of the University. If you live a little farther away then you may wish to catch the bus. There are many different routes (all colour coded) that pass right through the middle of campus and also around the perimeter. During Orientation Week we will assist you with getting a Metrocard which you can top up at the city’s bus exchange, on the bus with the driver or at selected stores around the city. When you use a Metrocard you benefit from cheaper rates, free transfers, a daily cap on spending, regardless of how many buses you catch and you don’t need to worry about having cash or change.

Get on Your Bike!

Christchurch is surrounded by beautiful mountains and hills but the terrain around the city is quite flat. This makes it perfect for cycling, in fact that’s how many of the locals like to get around the city. So, for a cheap alternative to driving or public transport, that will keep you fit and get you out in the fresh air, invest in a bike to get you to and from the UC campus and beyond. Before you strap on your helmet remember to spend some time reviewing the NZ Road Code.

Cycling on campus:

  • Secure, electronically accessed cycle stands are located around campus – simply swipe your Student ID card to get access. Always lock your bike.

  • Cyclists can use both the campus roads and pedestrian paths, but please always be considerate of other path/road users

  • Dr. Bike is a free service during term time where students and staff can have their bicycles looked at and fixed by Dr. Bike mechanics. This service provides basic maintenance such as fixing punctures, tightening brakes and oiling chains

Explore the Campus!

The UC campus is 76 hectares of well-designed learning spaces and magnificent gardens and natural scenery. So grab your scooter, skateboard or bike, or simply strap on your walking shoes and go out and explore it!