UCLA Travel Study

Social Science IDP: Social Science in Context: Understanding New Zealand

  • Dates

    July 30 – August 25, 2023

  • Location

    Wellington, New Zealand

  • Program Fee

    UC Undergrads: $7200

    UC Grad Students: $7800

    Visiting Students: $7800

    Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents: View full fee disclaimer

*2024 Program Information Coming Soon!*

Drawing on social science theories and methods, this program introduces students to the socio-historical and economic processes that have shaped contemporary New Zealand’s society and culture. New Zealand – Aotearoa in its native language – is celebrated for its stunning scenery, its friendly inhabitants, and its indigenous Maori people, who play a fundamental role in New Zealand culture, identity, and pride. But this is not the whole story. Like other New World countries with their promise of a better future in a new land, New Zealand has been challenged by the aftermath of colonialism, globalization, and neoliberalism.

Through readings, class discussions, guest speakers, visits to museums, Maori communal gatherings, nature walks, and the Weta Workshop (the Lord of the Rings special effects lab), students will immerse themselves in the beauty, history, art, design, and culture of Aoteraroa New Zealand. Furthermore, students will develop tools to examine the dynamic relationships between society and individual identities and experiences, between culture and the organization of everyday life, between hegemonic power and inequality, and between global powers and postcolonial perspectives. This Travel Study program offers students a unique opportunity to ‘make sense’ of Aotearoa New Zealand as well as to reflect on the social and political processes that shape life in the United States.


Required Program Courses

All students will enroll in two required courses:

  • SOC SC 110A (4 units)
  • SOC SC 110B (4 units)

Course Descriptions

SOC SC 110A: Social Science in Context: Perspectives and Methods in the Study of Culture and Society  (4 units)*

Prerequisites: None

This course introduces students to social science perspectives and methods for the study of culture and society through a combination of theoretical discussions and practical exercises. The course offers an understanding of the interaction of persons, societies, cultures, environments and time. In particular, this course examines the relationships between language, culture and society to gain insights into the processes of social reproduction of identities and discrimination. The course also exposes students to the “nuts and bolts” of social research: the ethics of studying people and communities; the gathering and analyzing of data (e.g. observations, interviews, and surveys); and the interpretation and presentation of findings. It aims to impart students with informed and responsible values and attitudes towards: a just society; intercultural understanding; informed and active citizenship; ethical research practices; and lifelong learning.

*SOC SC 110A can be applied toward the Diversity requirement for the College of Letters and Science, School of Music and Public Affairs. 

SOC SC 110B: Social Science in Context: Understanding New Zealand from Colonialism to Neoliberalism (4 units)

Prerequisites:  None

This course draws on social science perspectives to examine life in Aotearoa New Zealand. It focuses on historical events and social processes as well as axes of difference such as ethnicity and class and the ways in which they have shaped and continue to influence cultural, political, social structures, and norms and values in New Zealand. Students will learn to employ social science theories and concepts to gain a deeper understanding of the issues that the nation faces. Through readings, classroom discussions, field trips, along with guest speakers and the unique opportunity of exploring the forces that shape society and culture in the context of one of the most celebrated democracies in the world, students will gain greater insight into social and political relations and events elsewhere in the world, including the United States.


TBA.  Syllabus and schedule are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Travel Study courses must be taken for a letter grade. Grades are typically based on class attendance and participation, short reading responses, field exercises (observations, interviews, and surveys), and a final paper due after the conclusion of the program. Grading criteria is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


TBA.  You are responsible for purchasing your own textbooks. We strongly suggest you read as much of the text material as possible before you depart. Textbook information will be available at a later date.

Budget and Financial Aid

Budget Estimate UC Undergrads UC Grad Students Visiting Student
Program Fee  $7200  $7800  $7800
Textbooks  $100  $100  $100
Airfare  $1900  $1900  $1900
Meals  $1000  $1000  $1000
Spending Money  $800  $800  $800

Program fee includes registration and course fees, accommodations, some group meals, program excursions and health insurance. 

Airfare, textbooks, most meals, optional excursions, and any COVID-19 testing required for travel are additional.

Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents. View full fee disclaimer.

Document Fee

Non-UCLA students will be charged a $50 Document Fee. This is a one-time document fee which covers fees for first-class mailing of official transcripts, diploma and much more. Please visit the Registrar’s Office Website for more information. Matriculated UCLA Students: Please visit the Registrar’s Office Website for document fee information.


All undergraduate students will be charged a $61 IEI fee per summer. The IEI (Instructional Enhancement Initiative) fee is a course materials fee that is charged in order to support the use of technology in undergraduate education at UCLA. 


We recommend that you budget accordingly to cover optional sightseeing, laundry, internet cafes, emergencies, etc.  How much to budget depends on your travel, entertainment and souvenir choices. It is always best to overestimate your spending. Take the time to research the cost of living in your destination and the activities you want to participate in while abroad.

Purchasing Airfare

Please do not purchase airfare until instructed your program coordinator.  Program details for arrival are typically confirmed by spring quarter and students will receive email notification that it is time to book their arrangements accordingly.

Financial Aid

Financial aid for Summer Sessions Travel Study programs is available to qualified UCLA students. All other students should inquire about financial aid at their home institution. For details about the financial aid application process, please visit the Financial Aid section of this website.

On Location


Housing arrangements are still being finalized for this program.  Tentatively, students will reside in shared apartments in Wellington.

UCLA Travel Study reserves the right to change housing location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable accommodations elsewhere.


No daily meals are included as accommodations include kitchens to prepare meals.  There will be 3-4 group meals included as part of excursions or welcome/goodbye gatherings.

Please let us know when you apply for this program if you have any special dietary needs as well as any physical or medical conditions. We will advise you accordingly.


This program includes several field trips and excursions as part of its curriculum. A schedule of excursions will be available at a later date.

Limited free time is built into this program for independent sightseeing. If you plan on traveling extensively, we recommend that you budget additional spending money and plan to do so after the program concludes.