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Study Abroad in Australia
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Get Your Aussie On Studying In Australia
You’ve heard about it — that giant island with beautiful beaches, the Outback, tons of sunshine, surfing, and shrimp on the barbie. Studying abroad in Australia will help you forget what you’ve learned from Crocodile Dundee and the Outback Steakhouse — those Americanized versions of Australia are a weak comparison to the real thing.
Australia is filled with captivating views
Photo by Victoria Mita
For starters, it’s “prawn,” not “shrimp,” and you’re more likely to find sausages, burgers, or chicken (or even fish or octopus) on an Australian barbecue. And Aussies are not all surfer babes — the diversity of Australia’s population usually comes as a surprise to anyone who’s never visited. Equally interesting is the country’s rich history, with civilizations having lived there for more than 40,000 years.
The wide range of ecosystems, landscape, plant, and animal life in Oz goes way beyond “beaches and bush,” making study abroad in Australia a truly educational experience every minute. Geology, anthropology, archaeology, natural resources, botany, oceanography, and zoology majors especially find studying in Australia to be one of the best educational and career decisions they ever made.
The Merry Old Land Of Oz. Of course, the bit about stunning beaches and great surf is true. But venture away from the shoreline in Queensland and New South Wales, and you’ll find rainforests with trees over 70 meters tall. Travel to South Australia and you’ll find rolling hills and great treks, along with copious vineyards. In northeastern Victoria you’ll find incredible mountain views, even some with snow. Western Australia boasts a wealth of natural resources, including coal, zinc, and gold, making it one of several major mining locations in Australia.
If you’re seeking the heat, it’s to the Northern Territory you go. Alice Springs is home to Ayer’s Rock. The massive red sandstone rock formation is considered sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area, who call it Uluru, “rock island.” One of the world’s largest monoliths, it’s the centerpiece of a land dotted with ancient paintings, caves, springs, and water holes.
Destinations such as Kangaroo Island and Tasmania provide breathtaking natural vistas. The Tasmanian Trail is a famous challenge for cyclists and adventurers, who explore the exquisite scenery of Tasmania via a 430-km. route around the state’s circumference. A trip to Australia is incomplete without a visit to the Outback. It sets the scene for sheep farms, for old mining towns like Broken Hill and Silverton, and is an absolutely brilliant star-gazing spot. Amid the scenery from the famous Mad Max films, there’s a museum dedicated to the film’s production. Take a camel ride, visit an underground mine, and join your mates around a campfire to watch the moon rise from behind giant hills in the black sky.
A Must-See Seashore. Let’s face it — if you’re studying abroad in Australia, you’ll want to hit the beaches. The variety of ocean views throughout Oz is an integral part of the continent’s indisputable beauty. Let’s start with … drumroll, please … the natural Wonder of the World, viewable from outer space, largest single structure made from living organisms, World Heritage Site … ladies and gentlemen, the Great Barrier Reef! Divers, prepare to have your minds blown. Then there are the Whitsunday Islands, also located off the Queensland coast — they’re 74 submerged mountaintops. They can be appreciated from a zooming, zig-zagging ocean rafting tour. On some days, your raft guide can take you flying through patches of rain clouds for a refreshing spray and then swerve right back into the hot sun.
Whitehaven Beach is on one of the islands, known for its pure white silica sand. Another island here, Fraser Island, is notoriously home to a large dingo population and beautiful vegetation. As the island is covered with sand dunes, the best way to get around is via 4-wheel-drive buses. It makes for a bumpy but exciting ride, and the glass clear waters surrounding the beaches are a sight for the bucket list.
Australia has several lively ports and harbors well worth a visit: Darling Harbor, home of the Sydney Opera House; Port Douglas, just north of Cairns; Victor Harbour, renowned for whale-watching tours; Port Lincoln, where you can dive with sharks; and the Melbourne Docklands, always active with cultural events, unique shops, carnival rides, and restaurants.
Say What? They speak English. Can it be that different? Yer, mate! Aussies definitely have their own language. Differences in the way they speak extend far beyond the accent. Australians like to abbreviate, particularly with a y or an -ies on the end: sunnies, trackies, boardies, brekie, bikkies, bikey, footie, esky, pokies, stubbies, sparky, freshie … (translation: sunglasses, sweatpants, board shorts, breakfast, biscuits, motorcycle rider, Australian National football, picnic cooler, poker machines, beer bottles, electrician, freshwater crocodile.) Common terms in the U.S. mean something completely different in Australia. Biscuits are cookies, flip-flops are thongs, chips are fries, a bench is a countertop, and full-stop is used in the context of punctuation (a period), and declared to emphasize a point.
Foreigner-Friendly Universities. Studying in Australia offers a variety of world-renowned universities, which encourage global diversity and recruit faculty from all around the world. Students on a year or semester abroad in Australia typically have a class structure consisting of lectures and tutorials. The lectures are generally large, sometimes with multiple professors, and can last up to two hours (but not every day). Tutorials are smaller classes that supplement the lectures, letting students and teachers interact on a more direct level.
Australian institutions foster independent learning. There are not often small quizzes and regular assignments to keep the class on track; rather, there may be two or three major assignments and an exam. In some courses there may be only one major test or assignment, called a “hurdle” exam, upon which most, or all, of your grade is based. This can sound intimidating to students used to smaller classes and individual attention, but it is always beneficial to experience a different learning environment. Professors are generally supportive and will meet individually with students during office hours.
Because universities are quite large in Australia, they have heaps of activities and clubs. This is a great way to make friends and meet people from all over the world, as people come far and wide to study abroad in Australia.
Awesome Aussies. It may seem weird to lump “humans” in with the natural attractions of Oz, but the Aussies may be your favorite thing about studying abroad in Australia (I know it was mine). I was actually taken aback by how strangers could be so welcoming, helpful, and non-judgmental. Navigating public transport in a different country can be intimidating at first, and in Australia, the locals were happy to offer assistance to international travelers. Australians have an innate appreciation for humor and sarcasm. It is worth knowing ahead of time that they like to tease and poke fun — prepare to get some good-natured flack, and prepare to give it right back to them, and you’ll fit in just fine.
Australians believe in the concept of a healthy work/life balance. They live for spending quality time with friends and family, and they appreciate punctuality, sincerity, and honesty. Aussies are passionate about sports, and with so much to see and do, they enjoy living active, adventurous lifestyles.
In a country with immigrants and students from many different countries, it is exciting to be able to meet so many international people, but do make sure you also get to know the locals. When in Australia, do as the Aussies do!
Top 10 Australian Attractions
It’s important to any study abroad program to explore the world around you and Australia is packed with unique and wondrous destinations. It’s a place set apart from the rest of the world, both literally and figuratively, with its interesting landmarks, flora, fauna, and, of course, people. Your international experience down under can’t all be in the classroom. During your time in this vast and mysterious destination, make sure to visit the places you hear about and those you don’t.
The 12 Apostles, Victoria, Australia.
Photo courtesy of Stomac on Wikimedia
1. The Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest coral reef system is perhaps Australia’s greatest treasure. It is the only living thing visible from space and made up of more than 3,000 individual coral systems. Scuba diving is a great choice if you are willing to get your feet wet. If not, glass-bottom boats are available for tours and rental.
Recognized as one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is a major tourist destination and is also the source of considerable controversy. There is concern that such an influx of people is harming the reef. However, conservation efforts are in place, as well as regulations and requirements for access, all designed to help reduce human impact.
2. Sydney Opera House
The stark white peaks of the Sydney Opera House are often one of the first things to come to mind when thinking of Australia. Built in 1957, it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its creative architecture and stunning waterscape location. Not only is it visually and architecturally interesting, it also serves as a cultural hub for the area. It may be call an opera house but it is infinitely more. The venue offers a variety of halls filled with everything from opera and dance to restaurants and educational talks.
3. Sydney Harbour
When visiting the Opera House, give yourself time to visit the surrounding Sydney Harbour attractions as well, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and the countless art galleries and restaurants. The bright blue water is speckled with bright ferries and sailboats then lined with parklands and gardens. It is easy to find affordable ferry rides that will provide the best views.
This area is a tourism hotspot so prices on goods and services can run high compared to elsewhere. It’s best to plan your day ahead of time and have a good idea of what will be needed so you don’t find yourself racking up a large bill.
4. Ningaloo Marine Park
You’ll find significantly fewer people crowding the waters around this alternative to the Great Barrier Reef. It is located along the western coast of Western Australia. The reef is home to whale sharks, with many other large marine animals making an appearance throughout the year. Also, be sure to visit Cape Range National Park, which covers much of North West Cape peninsula, where you can explore caves.
5. Kangaroo Island
This natural wonder is the best location to see the plethora of Australian wildlife living in their natural habitats. Expect to see pelicans flying overhead, sunbathing sea lions on the beach, munching koalas in the trees, and of course, kangaroos bouncing across the grasslands. The island is a prime stop no matter what the season and is also well known for its superior gastronomic selection. Kangaroo Island is just one of Australia’s top island attractions. Tasmania and Melville Islands take the the number one and two spots in terms of size and each offer another slew of attractions.
6. The Great Ocean Road
This stretch of road hugs the southern coastline in Victoria running between the towns of Warrnambool and Torquay. It’s filled with many smaller towns and points of interest along the way. One is the The Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell. The distinctive rock formations rise up from the ocean waves. They are the remnants of limestone caves, which turned arches, which turned rock stacks over the last 10 to 20 million years. The Great Ocean Road is relatively short, about 150 miles long, so it makes for a great day or weekend trip depending on many times you want to stop.
7. Kakadu National Park
Situated in the northern region of the Northern Territory, Kakadu is filled with a huge variety of landforms, flora, and fauna. It’s also filled with evidence of its Aboriginal history, with rock paintings that date back thousands of years. It’s estimated that humans have populated the region for between 40,000 to 50,000 years (compared to North America, which has been populated for about 15,000 to 20,000 years). You can throw a dart at a board covered in the names of Australian national parks and never go wrong, but the sheer bio and geologic diversity of Kakadu National Park make it a must see.
Smack in the center of the Australian continent, Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is the massive sandstone formation seen in about every brochure or travel guide on Australia. The site is steeped in Aboriginal history and considered highly sacred. On that note, if you visit the site and plan to take pictures, be very aware of what (or who) you are taking pictures of. The local population is adverse to photography of both themselves and certain areas of the rock, some which are considered more sacred than others. There are signs posted around the rock notifying visitors of photo-restricted areas.
9. Coober Pedy
This unique attraction is much more than meets the eye. At first glance, it seems you are looking at sprawling desert and deep red rock formations scorched under a hot sun. It is what’s underneath that will surprise visitors. Many local residents live underground year round in an attempt to avoid the heat. The subterranean town includes churches and motels.
Also known as the Opal Capital of the World, the city has many festival and exhibits dedicated to this beautiful stone. And for any movie buffs, the treeless area was used as the setting in Mad Max, a 1979 post-nuclear apocalypse film featuring Mel Gibson.
10. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Taronga Zoo
Visitors experience nearly 200 feet of underwater tunnels and over 630 species of Australian fish, reptiles, and mammals. See even more wildlife with a visit to the Taronga Zoo. Over 3,000 animals call the site home and there are free animal talks and shows daily. The animals are plenty but what truly sets this zoo apart is its stunning elevated location. Feed a giraffe or have a picture taken with a koala, all against the stunning backdrop of water and city.
G'Day - A Look At Life Studying In Australia
Australia offers endless opportunities for students and individuals hoping to experience a diverse, exciting, and wondrous home-away-from-home. Whether you are looking to explore world-class beaches with famous surf breaks, get off the grid in the expansive Australian Outback, or kick back and enjoy the endless activities throughout the cities, Australia presents a one of a kind experience for everyone.
Australian Road Sign.
Photo courtesy of Hossen27 on Wikimedia
Furthermore, with dozens of highly-accredited and leading universities, students can expect to be challenged and encouraged within the classroom. There is no question about why Australia has become one of the world’s most popular destinations! Read on for some information to help you during the stay.
Student Life On Campus
Studying abroad in Australia encourages students to immerse themselves in a different culture, experience the thrills of surfing and exploring the Outback, and also guide them on a path to success in their future professions. Universities offer students of all majors ample opportunities for international education in Australia. Choose to stay for a semester or complete your degree abroad – everyone’s perfect program can be found.
On the Northeastern coast, near the cities of Brisbane and Cairns, oceanography and biology students can apply their studies directly to one of the world’s most biologically diverse and impressive landscapes – the Great Barrier Reef. Students at other universities will also have the chance to work closely within the industry that they are studying. All classes are taught in English regardless of location or program, providing students an excellent environment to excel. Study abroad students will be housed in either university dormitories or in private apartments within close proximity to campus.
Student Life Off Campus
When students are not in the classroom, unlimited opportunities await them. Expect to meet students from all ethnic backgrounds. Australian and Aboriginal cultures show characteristics from Greece to Asia to the Pacific Islands. Australia has many different climates ranging from temperate in the south to desert and tropical as you head north. Therefore, depending on the location of your university and the seasons in which you will be abroad, you may need to pack a somewhat different wardrobe.
Australia’s economy is directly tied into that of the entire Pacific region, helping Australia’s economy stay strong. An important note is that “tipping” on a meal is not customary in Australia. The tip will be included in the price of the meal; therefore, meals tend to be more expensive. On a grander scale, tuitions at Australian universities are comparable to those of U.S. universities, and numerous scholarships and funding opportunities are available.
Australia’s desert Outback encompasses the vast majority of the country’s land area, pushing the population and cities out to the coast. Most of the population resides on the east coast of the country where Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast provide very popular tourist destinations. As a result, traveling throughout Australia is rather simple, and there are many different modes of transportation including: cars, buses, trains, and flights. For the budget conscious, taking a bus or a train may be the best way to travel. Although, airline travel may be more realistic depending on the trip. Australia is a sprawling country with almost 2,500 miles between Sydney on the east coast and Perth on the west.
Cities Down Under
Each city offers something a bit different from the others. Their differences in climate, geography, and feel are so great it can be hard to believe they are all part of the same country.
Perth is Australia’s largest city on the west coast, and has more hours of sunshine per year than all other Australian cities – providing the perfect motivation for students to take advantage of the gorgeous white sand beaches and friendly atmosphere. The unique city is isolated between river, ocean, and desert.
Moving east along Australia’s southern coast, Adelaide is the “festival capital” and “wine capital” of Australia. Music, art, and film events blend with the vibrant café culture to offer students an easy way to navigate through this always entertaining destination. Festivals range from the Santos Tour Down Under, a week long cycling festival that draws world famous cyclists, to a Cabaret Festival.
Further east, Melbourne’s European architecture and fervent atmosphere create the country’s cultural capital. Melbourne is known for its youthful outlook as a means to making it one of Australia’s most popular student destinations.
Actually an island state, Tasmania is about 150 miles off the southern coast. Although separated from the main island, Tasmania is still less than an hour from Melbourne, making travel a breeze. Tasmania is known for the wide range of activities available, including: kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, surfing, as well as an endless array of art, music, and great food!
Back on the mainland, Sydney is the largest city in Australia with easy access to beaches and national parks located just outside the city. The metropolitan area has a population of around 4.6 million and offers up well known attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour, and Bondi Beach.
Head north from Sydney and you will run directly into Brisbane and the Gold Coast, both of which are internationally recognized for their amazing beaches and world-class surfing. The city has a subtropical climate plus amazing shopping and nightlife. Drive the Great Sunshine Way to visit the Golden Coast or spend a day at the Koala Sanctuary.
Last but not least, Cairns is situated on the northern end of the coast, and offers students the easiest access to the Great Barrier Reef and the less-frequented rainforests. Try the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway or visit the many waterfalls in the area. Beyond its adventurous and friendly atmosphere, the thriving nightlife of the city offers a great end to a day of outdoor excursions.
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