Monthly Archives: August 2011

Drop Bears : the Forgotten Australian Animal

Everyone knows about Australia’s phenomenal wildlife. Kangaroos! Koalas! Wombats! These fuzzy little dudes draw many tourists to Australia — who doesn’t want to cuddle with a koala? For better or for worse, kangaroos, koalas, and a plethora of other Aussie critters (Platypuses! Echidnae! Emus!) have become Australian icons. Unfortunately another, lesser-known animal native to Australia is often forgotten…

Have you ever heard of the drop bear? The drop bear, which lives predominantly in Queensland, is much like a koala, except it is larger. And has vicious fangs. And poisonous claws. Unlike their mild-mannered koala cousins, drop bears wait patiently for unsuspecting passer-by to stroll beneath the tree they are sitting in… and then they drop onto their human targets (hence the name “drop bear”) and claw the poor person to shreds. Yikes.

drop bear koala australia

A scientifically accurate depiction of an Australian drop bear

Scared out of your mind? No worries! Luckily for you, these fearsome creatures are just a product of Aussie humour. Aussies love to joke, and one of the fantastic perks of studying in Australia is getting to experience Australian culture with the locals. Aussies may tell foreigners about drop bears as a good-humoured joke: to share some Australian folklore and have a laugh together. What better way to integrate into the culture?

Studying in Australia is, of course, about getting a world-class education. But it is also about cultural immersion, adapting to local customs, and getting friendly with the locals. So when you pack your bags for your semester Down Under, don’t forget your funny bone!

You can read more about Australian culture, including Australian humour, on our website here.


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Australian University Rankings

How do Australian universities rank against other institutions around the world? Why, I’m glad you asked. Last week, the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University were published. Four out of the 39 (that’s more than 10 per cent!) of Australian institutions placed in the top 100 spots: the University of Melbourne at #60, the Australian National  University at #70, the University of Queensland at #86 and the University of Sydney at #96. In addition to these four, fourteen other Australian universities placed in the top 500 universities WORLD-WIDE! The rankings compared more than 1000 universities globally based on their quality of education, quality of faculty and research output; only the top 500 institutions received a published ranking. When you consider that there are about 5000 universities and colleges in the United States alone, that’s pretty impressive.

If you don’t believe the rankings…. believe the students who have studied Down Under! Watch what Nicole has to say about her Australian study experience:

Still not convinced? Let Emma show you around her Aussie semester:

You can view additional student videos on our YouTube channel here. Want to make a video of your own? Submit it to our video contest before 18 October and you could win a trip to Australia. How’s that for a top-ranked opportunity?

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Recently returned from your studies Down Under? Currently cavorting through an Australian university campus? Dreaming of one day spending a semester in Australia?

Win a Trip to Australia

Check out the legroom in V Australia's International Economy cabin!

Whatever the status of your Australian study endeavours, enter our student video contest for a chance to win two round-trip tickets to Australia (courtesy of V Australia)! Intrigued? All you have to do is:

  1. Think really hard about how studying in Australia has impacted (or, if you haven’t studied in Australia yet, will impact) your future goals — whether they be academic, career-related, or personal. Got it? Good.
  2. Now make a 3-minute video about it — specifically, how Australia has allowed you to ‘Discover your Future Unlimited’ (which is, coincidentally, this year’s video contest theme) and upload it to YouTube.
  3. Fill out the online entry form with your video details and… VOILA! You have officially entered the video contest.

The best video will win not one but two (TWO!) round-trip tickets to Australia on a V Australia flight, complete with attentive in-flight service, gourmet meals, generous legroom, state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment, and unique mood lighting.

Win a Trip to Australia

Doesn't the mood lighting put you in the mood to win a trip to Australia?

If that isn’t enticing enough, a second place winner will get a shiny new Apple iPad and three third place winners will receive an Amazon Kindle each. So… what are you waiting for?

For more details about the video contest, including rules, eligibility requirements, and frequently asked questions, check out our website here.

Win a Trip to Australia


About V Australia
Part of the Virgin Australia Group of Airlines, V Australia has built a fresh new airline on a simple idea: that flying should be something great again. Now flying non-stop between LA and Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and operating a fleet of brand new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, V Australia’s boutique style airline offers 33 lie-flat beds in International Business, 40 all-leather International Premium Economy seats and 288 International Economy seats – the widest across the Pacific.  V Australia also boasts attentive in-flight service, two in-flight boutique bars, gourmet meals, generous legroom, state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment, and unique mood lighting.   For more information on V Australia, please visit


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Proudly Presenting our 2011-12 Student Ambassadors!

Last weekend, the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC welcomed the 2011-12 student ambassadors for an orientation program. We were so excited to meet our new student ambassadors and are thrilled to be working with such enthusiastic students!

This year’s student ambassadors hail from near (the DC suburbs) and far (Australia!) and study at universities spread throughout the United States and Canada. And what a good looking bunch, dontcha think?

Student Ambassador Program Embassy of Australia

2011-12 Student Ambassadors

During the orientation, students learned about their roles as student ambassadors, how to plan an event, and how to best help other students who want to study abroad in Australia. They also had some time to think about how studying in Australia has impacted their futures. One of the students, Nicole, blogged all about the weekend — click here to have a look.

If you want to learn more about our student ambassadors, check out our website. We’ll be updating it with pictures and bios soon, so stay tuned!

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Say Hello To Our New Student Bloggers

After reading through numerous worthy applications, we have finally selected the student bloggers for Semester 2, 2011! We are pleased to be working with nine excellent students and are excited to be following their adventures as they study abroad in Australia.

australia study abroad blog

Student blogger Ashley poses in front of the Sydney Opera House

Want ideas on how to stay busy and social on-campus? Read Meg’s blog about joining clubs. Aching for an inside look on what studying in Tasmania is like? Browse through Venita’s blog here. Curious about how people get around in Melbourne? Check out Lilach’s blog and find out if students REALLY ride kangaroos to school… Read all about Sydney’s Aroma Festival on Marissa’s blog here, get a glimpse of what it’s like to attend a rugby game in Australia on Katie’s blog, explore Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens through Ashley’s blog, and check out Paroma’s bucket-list for Sydney attractions here.

You can read more about our bloggers and our Student Blogging Program on our website here.

Happy reading!

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