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When people think of Australia, they often think of eucalyptus trees, sharks and the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin. But do you realize that it is challenging America for the most popular country in the world to study as an international student? Do you realize that, in addition to an education system, it's a world-class tourist destination because it's just so...cool?
You do realize that? And yet you haven't decided to study abroad there yet? Then I guess you better keep reading.
The Details of Australia
Australia is the only continent that's also a country, and is blessed with landscapes that jump from glamorous beach to gaping city to sprawling desert.
Although it is the smallest continent in the world, Australians think big -- big coral reefs, big adventure and big hearts. Those who study in Australia will see the cuddly koala, experience the vibrant nightlife of Sydney and Melbourne, and enjoy a laid-back, relaxed lifestyle, not to mention receive an advanced education thanks to Australia's campaign to attract some of the best professors in the world.
The "Lucky" Country
Australia is known as the "lucky" country because of its rich deposits of silver, zinc and zircon, and because it is home to 10 percent of the world's gold. Students who study in Australia will feel fortunate as well. The idea of visiting world-famous reefs and seeing animals and plants that only exist in Australia, in the same place where you can lounge on a gorgeous beach and ride a jet ski, in the same place where you can attend lectures by some of the most respected professors in higher education, is beyond alluring. There is, after all, a reason why Australian colleges and universities host more than 100,000 students from more than 180 countries each year. In addition to outdoor activities, Australia is known for its respected research in science, business and industry, and the most popular fields of study include the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering and medicine. And even though Australia may be known for its outback, or bush, or just plain old countryside (however you want to refer to it), the destination is considered a technological leader, with a prevalence of state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories.
But you may not even need all those details to convince you. Think emotionally. It even makes sense when your only consideration is your heart.
Can you imagine if you're an anthropology student, and you actually get the chance to study Aborigines, who have lived in Australia for more than 20,000 years and yet are still around today (not the same exact person, obviously, unless the Fountain of Youth exists in Australia)? Can you imagine architecture students getting to observe the Sydney Opera House firsthand? How can an ecology major or future vet not take an opportunity to hang with Australia's unique animal and plant population?
People, studying abroad in Australia just makes sense. It has a great education system, but is also a super-popular tourist destination because it's just so awesome. You can't go wrong!
Australia's strongest feature is by far the diversity of its amazing landscape. Students studying environmental science, ecology or biology will find a little piece of heaven in Australia. While the cities are slices of modern metropolitan life, the countryside, or bush, is the heart of Australia.
More than 90 percent of Australia is covered with vegetation, and 85 percent of Australian plants are exclusive to the country, which makes it a haven for natural sciences students. The Daintree Rainforest is a prime example of Australia's biological and ecological wealth, with more than 450 species of birds, plus butterflies and those famous Australian marsupials. You may catch a glimpse of a kangaroo, but if you want to see a Tasmanian Devil, the largest carnivorous marsupial, you'd better stay up late, as they are nocturnal. Other places to check out include:
Australia, thanks to its abundance of natural resources, is known to be a leader in outdoor education programs. Perhaps one of the most impressive natural attractions in the beach-blessed country is the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef. Go there, and you can swim with loggerhead turtles, humpback whales and dolphins.
In Australia, Everything's Going to be Apples!
Apples? Well, that means "Everything's going to be great!" Aussies tend to be optimistic, fun-loving people, and students who study in Australia are bound to make tons of "mates," or friends. And never underestimate the country's passion for sports. Whether it's playing cricket or rugby, scuba diving or surfing, Aussies are always down for adventure.
For people who prefer culture and pretty faces, the film and music industries in Australia are similar to that of America, and Australia has loaned quite a few famous names to the Hollywood roll call. Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts are all actors that hail from the Land Down Under. As for music, Australia has given us INXS, the Bee Gees and AC/DC, to name a few. Perhaps in spite of that information, music studies programs in Australia are increasing in popularity and availability, and music students will marvel at the aboriginal "didgeridoo," a long, wooden flute that may be the world's oldest musical instrument.
A stay in Australia would not be complete without a sampling of its cuisine, which is as diverse as its people. Whether you throw some shrimp on the barby (does anyone really talk like that?) or sink your teeth into a Vegemite sandwich, Australian food is not to be missed. Vegemite is a black, yeast-based spread that is slathered on bread. Aussies also like their "amber nectar" (beer), as well as their sweets.
No matter what you study in Australia, you are bound to fall in love with the Aussie way of life. There is much fun to be had in the country, as well as much to learn. So search through this directory to find the right program for you.
Still haven't made up your mind? Then mate, you're on your own.
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