Australia Gap Year Programs

Taking a gap year in Australia before you start your academic pursuits might me a great way to not only have an international experience, but also begin an adventure at the heart of the Australian culture. This culture just happens to be surrounded by surf, sand, barbecues, and interesting wildlife! ! Before you head off to earn a post-secondary degree it’s time to get out and fully experience the unique perspective Australia has to offer. And who knows? After you spend the day “hanging ten,” you many come back home with a firmer grasp of the academic direction you want your life to go! Say goodbye to your home country and “g’day mate!” to Australia gap year programs!

Don’t worry, the slang gets easier the longer you’ve been there – just see below for some helpful hints!

What is a Gap Year in Australia?

Gap years in Australia may be great programs for students because they offer an international experience that’s comfortable for many. Since Australians primarily speak English, there might not be a language barrier for many students to tackle after getting off the plane. This could make adjusting to the new continent a breeze and reduce the culture shock! You may find that on the surface Australia may not be too different from your home country. But underneath, it’s sure to surprise even the most seasoned travelers.

First off, there might plenty of ways for you to test the educational waters of certain concentrations while you’re in Australia – sometimes literally! For example, as part of your gap year in Australia, an undecided student might try out a Pacific Ocean program. Due to Australia’s densely populated waters, you could have the opportunity to witness everything from coral blooms, to tropical fish, and maybe even whale migrations! This specific program may be what pushes you to apply for a marine biology program when you return home. There may be many subjects you could explore through a gap year in Australia, such as history or science. Programs vary, so be sure to check with intended programs for a complete list of course offerings.

If you’ve already selected a post-secondary degree concentration, you might want to treat your Australia gap year as more of a cultural learning experience. Even though Australia is a primarily English-speaking country, it’s day-to-day culture and aboriginal heritage are something that may not be experienced anywhere else in the world. By living and learning about this way of life, you might develop a better understanding of your own culture and how it affects your perspective.

Others may go a completely different route than the two mentioned above, and see a gap year in Australia as a professional opportunity. A working gap year in Australia could provide students with a study abroad experience where they potentially earn and save money for future educational endeavors or other expenses. Programs often place students in in-demand positions, such as au pairs, that allows them to work during the week and still explore the country in their downtime. (Payment, positions, and required hours may vary by institution or program.) Since the program is a paid position, it might be a perfect choice for students who potentially need monetary assistance to pay for books, housing, or tuition at their home university

What Might You Need for a Gap Year in Australia?

When students ask this question, it means so much more than “What to pack for a gap year in Australia?” What you need is an overview of what it’s like to live in Australia: The slang you need to know and places you need to visit!

Let’s start with the slang – it may help you blend in with the other Aussies. If you’re going to live in Australia for an entire year, you better start to sound like them! Why not try out these phrases:

  • Barbie – barbecue. Students might know this one if they’ve been a particular American restaurant that’s from the Down Under. Barbecues are a common pastime in Australia due to its warm summer climates. Just don’t ask to “throw another shrimp on the barbie.”
  • Fair Dinkum – true, real, genuine. Hopefully you’re making a lot of fair dinkum friends during your gap year in Australia!
  • Ripper – really great. This phrase should be a vital part of your vocabulary. Use it to describe the food, the surf, or the crazy wildlife you see in the Australian Bush.

Now that you’ve got the lingo under your belt (you did remember to pack a belt, right?), it’s time to get out and explore! Australia is home to many exciting, and iconic, tourist attractions, so you could have your fair share to see. A visually stunning site is the Sydney Opera House. The towering, scalloped building was opened in 1973 and houses a number of ballet troupes, orchestras, theatre companies, and, of course, operas. Even if you don’t have time to catch a performance, the Opera House hosts tours daily for you to experience the awe-inspiring architecture.

And as many may know, beaches play a huge part in Australian recreation (see “barbie” above). If you’re not the surfing type, why not trying snorkeling or scuba diving around theGreat Barrier Reef? No matter your level of expertise, you could have the chance to swim alongside rare tropical fish as they go about their day in the largest naturally occurring reef in the world. It’s highly recommended you go back to this location several times during your gap year in Australia – you’re bound to see something new and different each time!

These are only a few suggestions of what to see, say, and do during your gap year in Australia. Be sure to chat with local Aussies to see what their favorite places to hang out are. You might find something off the beaten path!

G’day Mate! Ready for a Gap Year in Australia?

Is the Australian Bush calling your name? Then you may be ready to start your search for gap year programs in Australia! To continue your hunt into the outback, scroll further down this page to browse a list of potential programs. To request more information from a particular program, click its associated link and press the “request info” button. Be sure to send a postcard from your perfect gap year in Australia program!


Featured Program Information


  • Pacific Discovery

  • General Assembly

  • InterExchange, Inc.

  • The Oceania Project

  • Lattitude Global Volunteering

  • University of Sydney

View Programs