My semester in Australia was indescribably amazing! If you are considering a NOLS course, DO IT!! It will be worth it!!!
As far as the Australia semester, the NOLS branch, staff and instructors were very helpful, knowledgeable, and fun. They answered my questions about gear and logistics ahead of time and made me feel at home on the other side of the planet. The instructors were excellent at allowing us to learn through experience and take leadership roles while making sure we were safe and taking time to teach us.
The life skills I learned during my NOLS course (leadership, navigation, decision-making, risk management, self-confidence) have been helpful throughout all areas of my life. It is not an exaggeration to say this was a life-changing experience. I learned a huge amount about myself and my interactions with others.
If you are considering a NOLS course, I would highly recommend looking at the semester-long courses. Being out in the wilderness for that length of time allows you to truly feel like the outdoors is your home. Plus, the longer course you do, the more amazing experiences you can have and the more you can learn.
Also, I would highly recommend Australia as a site for a NOLS course. We had the opportunity to travel to areas where no human had been for years, possibly ever. We were off-trail the entire time and, for the hiking and kayaking sections, we saw no signs of civilization for the entire sections. Although the wildlife is potentially more dangerous at this site (crocodiles, snakes, etc), it was empowering to learn how to exist safely in this environment. Also, Australia is BEAUTIFUL and has a wide diversity of ecosystems to explore.