Have you been dreaming of the Great Barrier Reef ever since you saw "Finding Nemo"? Are you addicted to Vegemite? Is the desert calling to you? Are you not entirely sure what a "joey" is, but are itching to find out? Do you love to surf, sail and snorkel? Then you should be spending your summer in Australia!

There are a ton of options when it comes to choosing a summer abroad program. Are you the bungee-jumping/cliff-climbing/snorkeling type (or would you like to be)? Consider a travel-adventure program and experience everything the Outback and Great Barrier Reef have to offer.

Are you an animal lover? Consider volunteering at the Sydney Zoo, or studying the ecology of the awesome coral reefs.

Many programs also have a service component—that way you can give little bit back as you take the vacation of a lifetime!

Don't forget that you’ll be heading to the southern hemisphere- that means it’ll be winter in Australia! Pack a few sweaters, for sure, but you’ll still be able to tan on the (slightly chilly) beach in the mild Australian climate.


Depending on your choice of program you could be staying in a hostel, dorm, or host family—or maybe all three! Because most summer programs combine a variety of activities with travel, you may find yourself in a couple different living situations. From hostels to university dorms, there are a bunch of possibilities.

If you're up for an extra challenge, look for programs that give you the opportunity to live with a host family. Eating, talking and laughing with an Australian family is the best way to experience the real OZ. While it may be scary to live with strangers, 1, 000 miles from your hometown, but seriously, no worries! Your program will pair you with a family that matches you. You'll feel at home, like a joey in its mother’s pouch!


A lot of programs will give you the full tour of Australia, from the tropical northern frontier town of Darwin and chilly southern city of Hobart. However, if you're looking to strike out on your own and do some independent travel, remember that Australia is BIG—as big as the continental United States, and traveling from point A to point B may take a while.


Do you have a valid passport? Before you head out, make sure you check out passport requirements AT LEAST two months in advance (the whole process usually takes 4-6 weeks!). If you're under 16, you’ll have show up in person at your regional passport agency.

Financial Costs

Programs usually cover your room and board once you arrive; however that international airfare can get pricey. Budget at least $1,000- 2,000 USD to get you there and back again!

And while there's no such thing as a free lunch, but there are ways that you can lessen the cost of traveling abroad. A lot of programs provide scholarships that'll cover some (or all!) of the costs of studying abroad in Australia. Take a look at the information on your program website. Or check out these ideas for fundraisingin your community.

Make sure you budget some cash to cover extras. You'll want to grab a couple souvenirs and gifts to bring back home!

Why spend a high school summer in Australia?

There are lots of reasons to go abroad in high school. Sure, it looks great on a college application (it really does), but you also get a few weeks away from mom and dad (who doesn’t want a little more independence?), not to mention a whole bunch of adventure. Australia in particular is a great place to start your lifetime of traveling. English-speaking but exotic, you'll find a country that is totally different than what you've found back home. Going abroad is an amazing experience that shouldn't have to wait until college!

The incredible diversity of Australia has drawn travelers for generations. Its deserts, coral reefs, tall forests, snow-cloaked mountains contrast with its multicultural melting-pot cities (over one-quarter of Australians were born outside Australia, and another quarter have at least one foreign-born parent). Other people come to see the amazing wildlife that is exclusive to the country. Still other people come to see the unique and ancient aboriginal culture and to experience a way of life a perspective that is entirely different from their own.

Whatever brings you to Australia you definitely won’t be disappointed!

Contributed by Julia Brady


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