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Australia, one of the most popular gap year destinations, is the only country that has a whole continent to itself and is world famous for its natural wonders. From its beaches, deserts, "the bush", and "the Outback" to the cosmopolitan attractions of its large cities, Australia is the perfect destination for taking a gap year. Go see a show at Sydney's world famous opera house or travel through the Outback to watch the mobs of kangaroos. Australia can accommodate all kinds of personalities, and truly demonstrates how diverse our world is.
If you want to get more involved with the real Australia, try volunteer work. Link up with fun and rewarding wildlife conservation projects in the rainforest of North Queensland, work with the elderly, tutor, or join a local gardening project. You can also volunteer with local charities and NGO's in Australia such as Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
Australia is the smallest continent, but the sixth-largest country. It's as large as 48 contiguous United States. Australia is highly urbanized; most of the population is heavily concentrated along the Eastern and Southeastern coasts, but the distance between cities and towns is easy to underestimate.
Melbourne boasts the largest tram network of any city in the world, but most of Australia is not easy to travel through. Buses cover more of Australia's rural landscape than trains, but travelling off the beaten path may require a few days' wait. If you want to see all that Australia has to offer, you'll have to take domestic flights throughout the country.
For the adventurers at heart, Australia offers plenty of fun activities. You can scuba dive off the coast of King Island, contemplate at MONA (The Museum of Old & New Art), or lose yourself on a road trip through the natural splendor of the Outback. Australia offers something for everyone.
Make your resume stand out! An internship in Australia adds something extra to your resume. International experience is sought after in today's market and undertaking an internship in Australia offers interns the opportunity to show employers that they're flexible and confident when working in a new environment. If you don't want to be tied down during your gap year, many internships are as short as 6-10 weeks and allow you to customize your internship if you're a student. Many internships offer academic credit as well.
Living in Australia is equivalent to living in the U.S. Some items are cheaper, and some are more expensive. It's completely relative. While youth hostels and inexpensive dorm accommodations are common throughout the cities, Australian currency, also called the dollar, is essentially equal to the USD.
Exposure to the sun at Australian latitudes frequently results in sunburn. Getting sunburned can make you feel feverish and unwell, taking a few days or even weeks to heal. You can burn in as little as 15 minutes during the Australian summer. You should wear sunscreen (SPF 30+), clothing, and a hat to shade the sun.
Australia's cleanliness standards are high. Restaurants are required to observe strict food preparation standards. Carrying water on hot days is a good idea in urban areas, and it is a necessity if hiking or driving out of town.
Australia does not have endemic diseases that will require non-standard vaccinations. Like many other countries, it will require evidence of yellow fever and other vaccinations upon entry.
Along with its wild, open spaces and amazing wildlife, Australia also boasts a great party scene and world-renowned cuisine. Australia's endless sunshine and beautiful beaches make it one of the surfing capitals of the world. There's no language barrier, so it's easy to meet new friends. While the diversity of the country will make you feel far away from home, you'll never be too out-of-place.
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