• Australia
    • Cairns
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Conservation and Preservation Marine Biology Natural Sciences Sustainable Development

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
What's Included
Some Activities Airport Transfers Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Visa
May 25, 2023
Jun 26, 2023
10 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

This program explores the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of far North Queensland and the relationship of traditional and contemporary human cultures with the environment. Students interact with scientists and local experts from organizations such as the Lizard Island Research Station and the Wet Tropics Management Authority to gain a firsthand understanding of ongoing conservation efforts in an exceptionally diverse environment.

The program's field-based modules allow students to:

examine the diversity of habitats and environments within the Wet Tropics Bioregion,
study coral reef conservation and management issues, and
experience traditional Aboriginal lifestyles and culture.

This program is currently not being promoted on Go Overseas by its provider. Check with SIT Study Abroad for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of this program.

Video and Photos


SIT Robert Kantor Memorial Scholarship

Each year one student will be granted $10,000 in scholarship aid to study abroad with a SIT program. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the requirements are tight: seeking first-generation college students who've never traveled abroad before, currently attend an HBCU, and demonstrate strong financial need.


Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.4
  • Support 4.65
  • Fun 4.9
  • Housing 4.15
  • Safety 4.75
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Field-based learning in incredible places

Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The program allowed me to study not only the ancient rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, but also learn from aboriginal elders who went camping with us and taught us about their culture and connection to the land. I learned so much about fieldwork, forest ecosystems, species dynamics on the reef, and threats to these environments. The independent study portion taught us what it means to be independent researchers and allowed us to pursue our own interests. I chose to study bat behavior in North Queensland, where I used drone technology to track the movements of bats.

  • research experience
  • relatively light courseload
  • learning about and seeing endangered wildlife
  • lots of moving around
  • be prepared to work the sun, heat, rain and mud with little access to laundry
  • health services were not great
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing educational experience

As a marine biology major, i was immediately drawn by the reef portion of the trip. To my surprise, I not only loved lizard island but I found myself missing the rainforest and camping once we left. I learned about the endemic species found only in the Wet Tropics and got to see them for myself. It was easily one of the most educational experiences I have ever had and I was just having fun the entire time! I was able to gain real hands on experience in the field that definitely gave me a better idea of what I want for my future career. Additionally, I got to see parts of Australia and its culture that many Australians never experience. One of the best parts was the independent research program. While it was sad to leave my friends, I found myself in Brisbane working in the lab helping a PhD candidate with her project. I never thought I would enjoy lab work until this experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity and that I decided to do this program!

  • Educational
  • Hands on experience
  • Sight seeing
  • None
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Spring 2023

This program is unique in that it moves around a lot as classes occur in the field, so expect to get used to keeping yourself mobile. That said, this meant that the experience was ever more immersive, providing an opportunity that I would be unable to obtain in a classroom.
The independent study project period fosters a lot of independence and provides a unique opportunity to accrue experience in a field of interest. I didn't have a day that I would rate as bad--most if not all days were fun and positive.

Overall, this program offered a unique opportunity to learn in a fun and awesome environment, from natural surroundings and peers alike. I have no regrets in taking this semester abroad.

  • Research Experience
  • Great community
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Australian Adventure

From discussing the fire regimes of Eucalyptus trees on hikes through the rainforest, to listening to Uncle Rus' stories about Aboriginal tradition around the campfire, to conducting fish behavior surveys on the great barrier reef, this program takes you beyond the classroom to learn in the environment. This program is perfect for students who want to experience more than just city life (although there's some of that too) and explore ecology with their own eyes. A typical class might include a bus ride where you use those 'car window ecology goggles' to observe how the landscape changes, then stretch your legs with a proforma to classify the rainforest type before lunch. After a group picnic, you might swim in the nearby waterfall or switch locations to explore a different ecosystem. While in the marine unit, you might have a lecture after breakfast, then put that new knowledge into practice by snorkeling the nearby reefs. The program ends with the opportunity to join a research project or possibly design your own which is a great way to apply everything you've learned, explore an interest, and potential find a future career.

  • Variety of Field Work experience in different ecosystems
  • Gives back to communities near by with rainforest restoration projects and beach clean-ups
  • Balances learning and the fun touristy stuff to get the most out of the country
  • Plans are shared last minute
  • Finding research advisors is up to the student
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventurous, Life Changing, and Memorable!

This program was by the far the best experience of my life! I had never been to Australia before and feel as though it's my home away from home now and I can't wait to return. I got to snorkel for the first time in the Great Barrier Reef and camp for the first time in the outback. Not only did this program impact my personal life, it also impacted my professional career path as it made me realize how interested I am in fieldwork. I highly recommend this program to undergraduate students who are looking for an outdoor lecture experience and hands on learning!

  • Professional experience (fieldwork)
  • Getting to travel a lot throughout Queensland during excursions and Australia in general during Independent Study Project
  • Experiencing another culture
  • Not too much help with finding an Independent Study Project Advisor
29 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience in Australia

I had a fantastic time studying abroad in Australia and would do it again if I could. The program was fantastic and taught me much about Australian flora and fauna. The high quantities of fieldwork we did was a fantastic experience as I have never done that before and I can now identify many Australian plants, animals, and fish. The independent study project was excellent as well since it allowed me to do my own research and explore more of Australia outside of Queensland. I recommend this program to everyone that is considering studying abroad in Australia. This program is the way to do it since it allows you to explore the country and spend lots of time outside.

  • Time outside
  • Independence
  • Places traveled
  • Packed too much
27 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in Australia!

I had an absolute blast studying abroad in the fall of 2022! I've always wanted to go to Australia, and it was a true dream. Cairns is the cutest little town with plenty to do during the day and night. My program did a great job of introducing us to the culture, and letting us experience everything AU has to offer, even the indigenous lifestyle! I thought the coursework was a great introduction to a future in research and how to write scientific papers which is very helpful for my major (marine biology). The staff were amazing and very helpful with any sort of problem. Truly eye opening and a wonderful experience overall

  • Very outdoorsy
  • See all different types of landscapes and cultures
  • Learned a lot about myself and Australia
  • I packed too much
28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Exploring Australia's Biodiversity

From the first day we donned our rain gear and headed into the rainforest, this program was full of surprises. There are few places on earth as magical as the tropical rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, and this program allowed me to explore both with the wisdom of my Aboriginal elders always in mind. The program was my first experience working in the field in the natural sciences, and from data collection to bird identification to searching for platypus and tree-kangaroos, there was never a day that I didn't learn something new and wonderful about the natural world. The independence I gained during this program has served me well in the years since; it has also inspired my now constant wanderlust and craving to learn more about new cultures, places, geographies, ecologies, and people. The most memorable experience from my semester abroad was camping with two Aboriginal elders in the schlerophyll forest of Far North Queensland and being given my own Aboriginal name, Guyibera, which arrived to Russell in the Dreamtime. I had only known Russell for a few hours, but he knew me well enough to give me a name that fit me perfectly. I cherish both that moment and the name itself. This is an experience I never could have had in a different type of study abroad semester. I am continually grateful for everything I learned with SIT and for the path it helped to shape as I've continued my education and career.

What would you improve about this program?
I remember the most difficult part of the program being searching for an ISP advisor. I remember wishing I had more guidance in this task or learned more about staff's in-country connections, but ultimately being satisfied with the advisor I identified, the project I created, and completing the whole process largely independently.
66 people found this review helpful.
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