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G'day, mate! Slap on your thongs, grab your eski, and spend your Mundy arvo with your cobbers at the beach!
That may look slightly silly now, but after a semester in Australia, you'll be speaking "heaps more" Aussie slang (good on ya!). Despite its distance from the USA, Australia sometimes feels like our homeland's most natural neighbor. Other times, though, things may get a little lost in translation, but it sure is fun to argue over who's English is proper! If you want to study abroad in a new country, but not interested in exploring territories too exotic, Australia is calling your name.
Students who study abroad in Australia can expect to be immersed in rich traditions and innovative ideas. Whether you are touring an art gallery in one of Australia's lively cities, or bushwhacking across the Australian outback, there is an adventure to be found for any student willing to try something new.
While Australia has been populated by indigenous peoples for more than 30,000 years, the Australia that we know of today has been around since the late 1700s, when Captain James Cooke led an expedition and created a new British colony.
Australia may be the world's smallest continent, but it is the world's 6th largest nation (it spans 3 time zones!). Regardless of which study abroad program you select, you will most certainly get a feel for Australia's infamous laidback attitude, appreciation for nature, and overall contagious good vibes.
When selecting a study abroad program, there are a number of factors to consider - luckily, we've got an outline for you!
1) Language: Since English is the language used in everyday life AND the medium of instruction in learning institutions, your language barriers are fairly limited. Your biggest concern will be attempting to master that sweet Aussie accent (and if you're feeling brave, try to learn the language of love for vegemite).
2) Housing: When you select a study abroad program, consider the differing types of accommodation offered. Whether you opt for university residences, private accommodation, or homestays, you should choose a program where your living situation is ultimately comfortable for you.
To get a real feel for the university life of the typical Aussie student, I recommend choosing a program where you can stay in a campus dormitory or university flat. Being surrounded by local or international students will add more depth to your experience than living with Americans for your entire experience!
IFSA-Butler's program at the University of Tasmania emphasizes an integration with Australian students in all of their housing options. AustraLearn guarantees "pre-arranged accommodation to fit YOUR lifestyle," so whatever your cup of tea, you'll be happy to find it!
3) Immersion and cultural activities: Some program providers will include extra activities for weekend fun in their program fees. These cultural activities are intended to add an extra level of excitement into your study abroad experience - why stress over where to go, when someone will do all the planning for you?!
The Education Abroad Network gives their students the option of participating in as many added excursions as they see fit. With choices such as "Alternative spring breaks" in Thailand or weekends in South Island New Zealand, the Education Abroad Network happily organizes affordable sight seeing to ensure their students' experiences even more memorable. Conversely, CIEE's program in Perth automatically includes a surf lesson, Australian Rules football match, Aboriginal Heritage tour, and a wildlife park tour.
Australia's cosmopolitan cities (often situated on a beach!) make the perfect background to an unforgettable study abroad experience. Australia is a nation of diversity - from it's multicultural peoples to its varied landscapes, Australia's got it all!
SYDNEY: Best known as the Harbour City, Australia's largest city is not just a place to "find nemo" - this Australian icon is a popular destination for study abroaders from all over the world. Sydney sparkles as the culmination of Australia's warm and friendly character, accented by nearby beaches, historical sight seeing, and exciting nightlife. Sydney offers something for just about every study abroader - if getting into nature is more your thing, Sydney is just a few hours drive from the majestic Great Barrier Reef to the north, and the rugged beauty of the Blue Mountains to the west! The city's mild weather means there's no "bad time" to visit, so soak up that Sydney sun!
MELBOURNE: Arguably Sydney's older and more mature sibling, Melbourne brings a whole other flavor to the Aussie barbecue. The Yarra River runs amid the city streets, dividing Melbourne into two very distinctive characters. Melbourne is known as the cultural capital of Australia, contributing greatly to the local art and music scene. Melbourne's central business district is known as the "Golden Mile" - and truly is a mile long! Melbourne's wide streets are lined with leafy trees and ornate Victorian-era architecture, nodding their hat to the area's early history.
GOLD COAST: Many study abroaders flock to the major cities in the southeast of Australia, but you can stay a step ahead of the pack and study where all of those students will eventually vacation to - the Gold Coast! The Gold Coast is located along some of the finest beaches in the world, and situated near many natural World Heritage sights (including rainforests!) Explore the country's geological diversity, and see for yourself why Australia's varied landscapes are really its prized jewel.
While living in Australia may be comparatively cheaper to its European counterparts, you might find that the flight alone makes a significant dent in any of those dollars saved. While it may cost an arm and a leg to get you there, we're confident you will walk away feeling like your experience was worth every penny.
However, if you wish to alleviate the heavy costs of this investment, here is a starting point (barely scratching the surface!) for the number of scholarships out there specifically supporting study abroad. Hint* Double check with your university to see if your financial aid package is applicable to your study abroad experience!
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to studying abroad in Australia? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.