Palmerston North (Palmy) is home of the original Massey campus in the Manawatu region. The city offers a true taste of Kiwi culture within a friendly, young, and laid back atmosphere. As a university town, Palmerston North offers a great selection of cafes, pubs, and restaurants catering to the student palate and wallet. Theatre and live music performances are scheduled around town, and popular student pubs come to life during the year, providing great entertainment. There are many hidden treasures in this area including luxurious country retreats, award-winning gardens, uncrowded championship golf courses, special interest museums, galleries, historical homes, and a host of adventures for adrenaline junkies. Throughout the year this region is alive with major national and international events—sporting, cultural, trade shows, conferences, and exhibitions. Horse trekking, bridge swinging, drift and whitewater rafting, and kayaking are available in this incredibly scenic area. If you like to hike, the Manawatu also offers amazing “tramping” country. In the city centre, the Te Manawa Science Center and Art Gallery have a mixture of interactive exhibitions, which explore science and technology, the stories of Manawatu and its people, and art from New Zealand and around the world. For avid rugby fans, a must see is the New Zealand Rugby Museum at Te Manawa. Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most populous city, is truly cosmopolitan. Home to over a million people, the city is built on a narrow isthmus between the Waitemata and Manukau Harbors, connected to the North Shore by a beautiful harbor bridge. This waterside setting provides a mild climate and beautiful scenery of water dotted with sailboats against the city skyline. Auckland offers all the advantages of large, international city— diverse culture, arts, entertainment, festivals, sports, major transportation, and industry—in addition to easy access to the amazing natural highlights of the Auckland region, including 48 nearby volcanic cones, numerous parks and reserves, rugged black sand beaches, over 100 km of coastline, and rainforests. Auckland is one of the only place outside the tropics where rainforests exist. The Albany campus is part of North Shore city. Within walking distance of the campus is a large shopping centre where students can shop and browse, and just down the road is the Albany village with its traditional shops. The campus is surrounded by a wide range of amenities, including numerous cafes, shopping centres, cinema complexes, art galleries, libraries, a performing arts facility, and extensive leisure and sport facilities including the North Harbour Sports Stadium. Wellington is New Zealand’s political and cultural capital and is truly a great city in which to live. Compact and funky, this unique urban space is situated between a magnificent harbor and rolling green hills. Shops, galleries, restaurants, clubs and world class entertainment all co-exist within a thriving and fast paced yet intimate urban environment where café culture dominates. "Welly" is home to Parliament, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, a thriving film industry, and "heaps" of interesting culture and events. It is the southern-most city of the North Island, serving at the gateway to the South Island. Wellington consistently ranks highly in lists of "must-see" cities in the world as well as for quality of life. Lonely Planet named it as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2011, calling it "the coolest little capital in the world."
Puntarenas offers the peace and rural beauty of a small beach town while at the same time affording easy access to the activities of the capital. During the nineteenth century it was Costa Rica’s major seaport, but Puerto Limón and Caldera (11 miles to the southeast) have assumed that role. Now primarily a tourist destination and transportation hub, it is a bustling town, particularly during the dry season months (November–April). During the wet months (May–October) it is hot with refreshing afternoon showers. The geography of the city is unique since it is located at the end of a sandy peninsula almost five miles long, but only 120 to 700 yards wide. Consequently, one is always close to the ocean, and there are many beaches from which to choose. Puntarenas offers access to the Nicoya Peninsula on two ferries. Nicoya is best known for its pristine beaches and resorts, as well as for its native folklore. From Puntarenas, you can travel up and down the coast to world-class surfing beaches, nature reserves, and plantations. This central Pacific region offers something for every outdoor enthusiast. Students find buying a used bike upon arrival is the easiest form of transportation for getting around Puntarenas.
Bilbao is located in the north of Spain near the French border and has an international airport with direct flights to most large cities in Europe. Both Bilbao and Getxo (where most of the housing placements are located) are situated in an area of beautiful green mountains that face the ocean, making it possible to hike in the morning and go swimming in the afternoon. Close by, there are several picturesque coastal towns with great beaches that are easily accessible by public transportation. Bilbao is the poster city for successful urban renewal and the spectacular Guggenheim Museum of Art has ushered in an era of international tourism to the area; in urban renewal circles, the use of a revitalized cultural sector to kick start the renewal of a city’s economy is known as the “Bilbao effect.” Bilbao is home to some of the world’s most renowned architecture including: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Music Hall and Convention Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s Bilbao airport, and other projects by architects such as Arata Isozaki and Cesar Pelli. Additionally, the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation has given its approval to expand around Urdaibai's Natural Reserve area. Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country with a population of approximately 350,000; the greater Bilbao region has just under 1,000,000 inhabitants. Bilbao was recently recognized by the Eurostat report as one of the top three safest areas in the EU. It is an extremely walkable city with a great transportation system that is efficient and safe. The city includes many pedestrian areas, including the old quarter with shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. There is also a bike path along the riverfront and through the main street of town. Getxo is a charming, coastal community popular for its beaches, lively nightlife, and diverse cultural activities. It is well connected to downtown Bilbao by subway (20-25 minutes away). Getxo is a relatively young town—80% of the population is below the age of 60—and it is not touristy, maximizing the opportunity for students to meet local peers. Getxo is known for its numerous outdoor activities and cultural events including: surfing, canoeing, hiking, rollerblading, paragliding, music festivals, a medieval market, and much more.