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James Cook University

About

James Cook University (JCU) is proud to be Australia’s leading University for the Tropics. Ranked in the top 300 universities in the world (Times Higher Education University Rankings 2022), JCU will provide you with world-class facilities, career-focused courses, and leading research excellence.

Participate in hands-on learning in locations like no other, as JCU is surrounded by the rainforests of the Wet Tropics, dry savannahs of the Australian Outback and the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. JCU’s students leave university prepared for the competitive demands of the global workforce.

Rankings:
Top 100 universities in the world for UN Sustainable Development Goals (Times Higher Education University Rankings 2021)
No. 1 in the world for Marine and Freshwater Biology (CWUR 2017)
Five stars for full-time employment (2020 The Good Universities Guide)

CRICOS Provider Code: 00117J

Website
www.jcu.edu.au
Founded
1970

Reviews

Default avatar
Ellie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GREAT EXPERIENCE

I am SO grateful to all the friends and professors that made my study abroad experience at JCU so incredible. I originally chose JCU for their marine biology courses since studying marine biology in a landlocked state is hard. I got incredible first hand experiences with marine life SCUBA diving there, I made new friends from all over the world, and I got to do field research with fun professors who really encouraged hands-on and fun learning! The memories I made while attending JCU like the social events, clubs, community events, hikes, and everything else will stay with me forever.

Pros
  • Fun learning environment and city
  • Great student support (especially international students)
  • Getting to meet people from all over the world
Cons
  • Need to take a bus to get to the coast/downtown city/large shopping malls
Response from James Cook University

Hi Ellie,
We're glad you had such a great time and got to do all that hands-on learning. We are lucky to have such fun professors at JCU :) It sounds like you were able to get really involved both on and off campus! We hope you will come back and visit us soon!

Cheers,
The International Team
JCU

Default avatar
Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

JCU Study Abroad

Studying abroad at JCU was the most wonderful and life-changing experiences, and I am beyond grateful for every moment that I was able to spend studying there. As an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major, JCU couldn’t be more perfect. The location of Townsville (on the Great Barrier Reef) makes classes such as Coral Reef Ecology possible, and I was able to attend field trips to reefs including those at Orpheus Island and understand the importance of reef preservation on a very first-hand level. James Cook also offers Biodiversity of Tropical Australia, which gave me the opportunity to learn about and see new systems that I might never get the opportunity to otherwise. JCU also provides so many club and internship opportunities- there is definitely something for everyone. The school also does a brilliant job of integrating and including the international students. They had an International day weekly where people would come to share parts of their culture and there was usually coffee and delicious food as well.I was also able to take advantage of the outstanding outdoor and wildlife opportunities in Townsville, as the school is within miles of the beach and several national parks. Its very hard to describe just how amazing the experience was in words, but If you are considering studying abroad at JCU, I say take the leap- I am forever grateful that I did.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was amazed at the biodiversity in Australia and around Townsville! There was an abundance of unique plant and animal life to see and learn about.
Response from James Cook University

Hi Sophia,
You are so right about JCU being the perfect place to study if you're interested in Ecology and Biology. Both our Townsville and Cairns campuses are located in the area of Australia known as the Wet Tropics. According to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, "The diversity of the plant communities and animal habitats of the Wet Tropics is recognised as being the most floristically and structurally diverse in Australia and is also outstanding on a global scale." The Wet Tropics is also listed as the second most irreplaceable natural World Heritage site on earth by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

We are so grateful that you took the leap to study at JCU, and we hope to welcome you back soon!

Cheers,
The International Team
JCU

Default avatar
Nathan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The times I cherish

Fellow student, do not let all the paperwork and endless forms that you need to fill out scare you away from studying abroad. It is going to be a wonderful opportunity for growth and will let you make friendships across the world that you will stay with you (if you choose to maintain them).

I had an amazing time studying at James Cook University. I met people from all over the world and shared special moments with them all. The professors and staff were great, I'm better for having met them. It took a lot of effort to make it happen but I'd do it 10x over to relive it. I dream about the day I can come back and be reunited with my friends. And maybe this time stay!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I didn't know anybody when I arrived there. I had one friend who I just met three days prior from my ISA group and that was it. I've always been nervous about making new friends. It's hard to do! After the first night I tried to say yes to every invitation and gathering. I made an attempt to sit with people at meals and not by myself on my phone. This paid off pretty quick and I found a great friend group
Response from James Cook University

Hi Nathan,
Thank you so much for the great advice you've offered future students. The part about saying "yes" to invitations and consciously making an effort to meet new people is such an important part of studying abroad. It sounds like you had the right attitude to create a really positive experience- no paperwork was going to stop you from coming to JCU! And we're so happy that you did come! We hope to see you back here in the future and would love to have you stay longer than a semester.

Cheers,
The International Team
JCU

Default avatar
Kelly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

James Cook University

I loved my time at JCU! The campus is beautiful and the support of the international team was amazing. Being so close to magnetic island and the Great Barrier Reef was a dream. I wish I could go back and relive it all again! I would definitely recommend this university to anyone wanting to study abroad in Australia who does not want to be in a big city. Townsville is just big enough to have everything you need while also being connected to nature. If you are considering going I would highly recommend joining the international Facebook group!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Wallaby’s right outside my dorm! They would graze and sleep so close to the buildings and they were so cute to watch.
Response from James Cook University

Hi Kelly,
Isn't it so cool to have the wallabies right on campus with you? I'm happy to hear that you felt so supported by the International Team during your time here. Thank you for pointing out one of the benefits of studying at JCU- even though our Townsville and Cairns campuses are regional, you have all the amenities that you need without losing that "small town" feel. And you're right- the connection to nature is a big part of the JCU experience. We hope to see you back again in the future!

Cheers,
The International Team
JCU

Default avatar
Briana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

JCU Semester Study Abroad

JCU was a great experience for me! I made friends from all over the world, explored the nearby area, and had so much fun learning what it’s like to be a college student in another country. Luckily, I was also able to travel to different cities in Australia and discovered even more how beautiful of a country it was. The way college works in Australia was definitely an adjustment from how it is in America, but it was the experience of a lifetime and I’m so grateful I was given the chance to be a part of it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take full advantage of the fact that you’re in another country! Make friends with the locals, travel around the country to different cities/towns, try new foods, and don’t forget to enjoy the little moments as well. I remember I saw a kookaburra, and I just smiled and stared at it for a long time. My friends from Australia thought I was crazy, but I knew it was a once in a lifetime experience since we don’t have those animals in America. I still remember that moment because I stopped and appreciated it, no matter how small it was.
Response from James Cook University

Hi Briana,
Thank you for the kind words! Your advice to future students is so important- to take the time to appreciate the world around you and enjoy the little moments. I'm glad that you were able to do that and take the memories of the kookaburra back home with you. What a beautiful photo of the sunset as well! We definitely have some stunning views up here in North Queensland. We hope that you'll get the chance to come back and visit us to take in more small, but precious, moments.

Cheers,
The International Team
JCU

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I have been interested in studying abroad in Australia ever since my older sister did while she was in college. I was lucky enough to study in the same school as her in Townsville. Along with all of her amazing stories of the people and, of course the weather, i wasn’t interested in studying in Townsville because of its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the school’s focus on marine biology.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider held a four day orientation for everyone in Sydney before we all split up and went to our respective schools. During this orientation they filled out days with activities like hiking the blue mountains, a walking city tour, a night time dinner cruise, and a trip to Bondi beach. James Cook University in Townsville hosted international student breakfasts every Tuesday with special Australian guests or presentations and music and free lunch Fridays where they also brought in traditional Australian entertainment and food.

On my own I had to navigate the city and figure out how to use the public transportation. That, however, was easy since things in Townsville are pretty similar to how things are from where I’m from plus in the same language. The most difficult thing to figure out was where my classes were, since I typically go to a small liberal arts school in America and James Cook had a campus that was significantly larger. I also had to figure out budgeting for all my excursions.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My study abroad experience was significantly different then my other friends who went abroad to other schools or to other countries. James Cook University encourages abroad students to live in dorms with the Australian students. I found that this promoted my friendships with Australians and my involvement in the school.

I would recommend to students going abroad to Townsville to get involved in their dorm spirit and by to waste a single day. I remember there was a river walking distance from my dorm that had a dock and rope swing that a plethora of us frequented. It was a free option at exploring Townsville and enjoying the biodiversity which is unique to the tropics.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Typically on a week day i would wake up in the morning, go to my dorms dining hall for breakfast then head out to class. After my classes i would eat some vegemite on toast and whatever the daily special was and hangout with my friends. After lunch i would either walk to the river or the pool or sometimes take the bus to the ocean. At night we would all go cheer on our dorm as they challenged the other dorms in sports for the year long competition. Weekends I would take longer excursions such as to the billabong wildlife sanctuary and then at night go support a boy who lived in my hall as he DJ-ed at a local bar with my friends.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going abroad was that I wouldn’t have enough money to do everything i wanted. I actually wasn’t able to, but instead of focusing of the stuff I could do, I focused on the once in a lifetime experiences that I was able to have. None of my time there I consider to be boring or a waste of time and even though my money did run out like I feared I am incredibly happy with how i spent it.

Do you have any prior travel experience?

I spent my spring break traveling to Bali with some friends who were also abroad. Bali was incredibly different to Australia and to America which was really eye opening for me. It was a country where bartering was the norm and there were wild monkeys everywhere. We got to do things like explore markets and temples, go surfing, and lay on some of the most beautiful beaches.