Tag Archives: blog

Kangaroo Burgers for Lunch? Five More Stuff You Only Get Studying Down Under

When it comes to places abroad many don’t even consider Australia. The land is isolated and the people talk funny. But advantages come with studying in an isolated landscape with such a distinct culture. Check out some things you can only do by studying in Australia:

Wildlife Sign

Keep your eyes on the road!

1.   Observe the animals you’ve only seen in Zoo Books.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Not quite, but Australia has some incredibly exotic wildlife. Your most exciting encounter with nature is probably that black bear you once saw cross the road. Environmental Science is particular popular with students Down Under. Here are some of the top ranked schools in Australia according to the 2010 ERA Report for Schools of Environmental Science: Macquarie University, James Cook University, University of Adelaide, and University of Queensland.

2.  Actually pick up a “foreign language”.
Few countries enable you to integrate so quickly for English speakers. This isn’t to say North Americans can’t get lost in translation. Did she just ask if I wanted chips or did she really mean fries? A semester here and you’ll understand fluent Australian! You might pick up an accent of your own!

3.  Benefit (quickly) from medical innovations

In college I went to the hospital for a rather large 2nd degree burn. Were I studying in Australia I might have received their awesome new spray-on skin. Instead I’m looking at a nice scar. Innovations like this aren’t totally uncommon. From the HPV Vaccine to the world’s most powerful radio telescope, Australia is full of pioneering advancements. The 2010 ERA top ranked schools for Medical and Health Science are the Australian National UniversityMonash University, Murdoch University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia.

4.   Double up on the season’s wardrobe.
Here’s your chance to pick up the summer sale at the mall. How cool would it be to double your summer by studying in the fall? Or do you want to escape the incoming heat? Try a mild winter here. You’ll probably never have a chance to surf on Christmas again! View the Pre-Departure Guide for advice on what to pack.

This looks delicious

5.   Have a Kangaroo burger in dining hall
It may sound cliché but kangaroo meat is popular Down Under. Kangatarianism is a term for a diet exclusively of kangaroo meat. Don’t expect to find Koala Burgers on the menu though…

6.  Story topping your friends at home
Face it. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to say you studied exactly where a dozen of your friends have been. The inevitable “Straylia” stories will surely top your friends. Be sure and use the accent too. Study here is all about the stories. Maybe you can blog about yours through our blogging program.

Have your own? Be sure and add some in the comments below!



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Australian English: Where Does It Come From?

If you ask North American students, “What are the benefits of studying in Australia,” they’ll tell you a number of things. One particular perk that students mention again and again is that there is no language barrier. Americans speak English, Canadians speak English, and Australians speak English. Right?

…well, not completely. We’ve already discussed the differences between Australian English and what we’re used to on this side of the world: variances on food terminology and the words that we use when we talk about university. But where do these terms come from? What stories lie behind their meanings? The Australian National University’s Australian National Dictionary Centre explains it all! This website hosts a lexicon which breaks down Australian words and sayings, their definitions, and how they came about. Click here to check it out for yourself.

Dag unfashionable dork nerd socially awkward

An authentic dag specimen found in its natural habitat

For example, a popular Australian expression is the word “dag.” In modern Australian culture, “dag” means “any unfashionable or non-stylish person.” However, that’s not what the word meant when it was first coined in the 1870s. “Dag” was originally used to describe “a lump of matted wool, feces, and dirt hanging from the rear end of a sheep” (Ewwwwww). How then, did the word evolve to its present-day definition? Find out here.

Do you like words and writing? Are you studying in Australia? Apply to be a student blogger! More information here.

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Wanted: Study Abroad Bloggers

It’s that time of the year again… time for new student bloggers! Do you have what it takes? We want bloggers who are:

– studying in Australia for the Aussie Semester 1 (February – June)

student blogger study abroad Australia

Student blogger Ashley poses by the Opera House in Sydney

– enthusiastic

– dedicated

– creative

– responsible

Think you fit the bill? Click here to submit an application, and show us your best! You can always look at past bloggers’ posts for inspiration — we’ve pulled together our favourites right here. You can also learn more about our student blogging program on our website here. Applications close on 20 February.

Still have a question? Ask us in the comments!


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New Year’s Resolutions: Make the Best of Study Abroad

Happy New Year! Every first of January brings about a number of well-intentioned resolutions: no more eating junk food, exercising every day, breaking bad habits… If you’re getting ready to spend a semester in Australia, perhaps you should set a few resolutions of your own! Here are a few tips to help you make the best of your studies Down Under:

Sydney University Australia

Students studiously studying in Sydney

1. Study. Yes, it’s kind of obvious, but… this is study abroad, after all! Taking classes in Australia is a great way to learn about your field from a different perspective and maybe even take classes you couldn’t otherwise at your home university. So take advantage of your international studies and don’t forget to actually go to class!

2. Meet Australians. When you’re in a foreign country, it’s easy to stick with what’s comfortable — namely, your fellow compatriots. Why not branch out and mix with the locals? Make the extra effort to connect with Aussies in your classes, dorm, at work, and around campus for that extra-authentic Down Under experience.

3. Volunteer or Work. Take your learning outside of the classroom and get involved in your community! Also a great way to meet Australians (refer to resolution number 2).

4. Blog. Share your semester in Australia with your family and friends back home. This allows you to stay connected and to reflect on all of the wonderful activities you are partaking in. Want to blog for us? Apply to be a Student Blogger before 20 February! Download an application form here.

5. Enjoy yourself. Try new things, meet new people, explore new locales, push your comfort zone, and most importantly — remember to have fun!

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A Year in Review: Best Student Blog Posts of 2011

The new year is upon us and 2011 is rapidly coming to a close. What did the year bring to the Embassy of Australia Education Team? Awesome bloggers and insightful student blog posts! Check out a few of our top picks:

1. Paroma wraps up her first Semester Down Under with this blog post and covers all of the big topics: studies, cost, homesickness, making friends… all of it!

2. Katie reflects on what international education means to her and how studying abroad in Australia has impacted her both inside and outside the classroom. Click here to read more

study abroad Australia student room housing

Student housing at the University of Technology, Sydney

3. If you’re curious about what student housing looks like in Australia, Ashley provides a virtual tour of her Aussie digs here. Pretty nice, huh?

4. Student blogger Lilach writes about how the grading system in Australia can sometimes throw North American students for a loop. What’s an HD, again? Find out here!

5. Marissa has some helpful tips if you’re looking to make the best of your semester in Australia; read them here.

Don’t forget to browse through our other student blogs here for more information about what it’s like to study in Australia — whether you’re curious about classes, lifestyle, social life, culture, or travelling.

And of course, we can’t possibly leave out our top blog posts! Revisit this year’s favourites below:

1. Rabbits in Australia: This is our most-read blog post, ever! All of our readers must really love bunnies…

2. Aussie Rules Football: Because who doesn’t want to learn more about playing footy?

3. Aussie Food: Get your grub on, Australia-style!

4. Future Unlimited Video Contest: Many of you loved watching student videos from this year’s Video Contest. Check out the winning entries and tell us what you think.

5. How to Deal With Homesickness: This post about battling the study abroad blues was also a popular read.

Lastly, Happy New Year from the Embassy of Australia Education Team — and thanks for reading!!


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Boxing Day in Australia

Kangaroo Boxing Gloves

Not this kind of Boxing Day

Boxing Day: no, not a day dedicated to celebrating Australia’s famous boxing kangaroo… This particular holiday, which takes place on 26 December, is observed by most countries in the Commonwealth (including Australia!).

Traditionally, Australians enjoy Boxing Day by relaxing with family and shopping for after-Christmas sales. Boxing day is also the start of the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Sounds like fun, right?

So why do Aussies (and Brits, and Canadians, and New Zealanders…) get the day after Christmas off, too? There are several competing stories as to where Boxing Day originated. Some historians claim that Boxing Day came around because the day after Christmas was when servants, who had spent the entirety of Christmas day ensuring other people’s celebrations were running smoothly, would receive presents and leftovers (…in BOXES!!) from their bosses and spend time with their families. Others think that the collection boxes for the poor which were placed outside of churches during the holiday season led to the creation of the holiday. The contents of the boxes would be distributed to the poor the day after Christmas.

Regardless of where the tradition comes from, it’s nice to get an extra day off!

What are YOU doing this holiday season? If you’re looking for something fun to pass the time, why not watch some videos about studying in Australia or read student blogs? It’s entertaining AND educational!

Happy Holidays from the Embassy of Australia Education Team!

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4 Tips on How to Write a Great Study Abroad Blog

Today’s blog post is from our new intern, Angelina! Angelina studied abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast during Semester 2 2010 and has a few tips to share about keeping a blog while you study in Australia.

Speaking from first-hand experience, writing a blog sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Whilst taking a stroll down memory lane, I ventured back into my old blog (you can have a look here if you’d like) and re-read some of my entries I created while I was studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Let’s just say I was less than impressed with myself!
So, effect of my recent epiphany I thought, “why not write a blog about how to write a good blog?!” Here are a few pointers that may be helpful in not boring the snot out of your followers!

  1. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Simple!)You may feel the urge to go into excessive detail to share EVERYTHING you are experiencing. But, from the reader’s perspective, long posts that go on and on can get exhausting and uninteresting. Try limiting content to main topic points and follow that with one or two comments. For example, if you spent the day at the Steve Irwin Zoo with a bunch of Uni friends, mention that, and your favourite animal/exhibit/part of the day! That way you are being informative as well as expressing yourself without creating too much to read!

    sydney opera house study abroad blog australia

    Add pictures like this to your blog to add variety and raise interest!

  2. Add visuals! Adding pictures and videos to your blog really helps get your ideas across and are fun for your readers too! One or two visuals to go along with your post, something interesting/new you discovered (steering wheel on the opposite side of the car), food you made (fairy bread), popular place you went (Sydney Opera House) or even new friends you made (say cheese!) is a cool way to keep your followers updated on your Aussie adventures!
  3. Don’t overshare. While abroad, odds are is that you will be experiencing new and exciting things every day! However, when it comes to your blog, it may be best to limit your posts to once or a couple times a week. You don’t want to blog yourself out! Allow yourself to enjoy your Uni and new friends and write a blog post on your down time, perhaps before you catch some Z’s at the end of the night to reflect on what a wonderful week you had!
  4. Diversify your blog topics. It may be a lot easier (and more interesting to you) to blog about how delicious Tim Tams are, your messy flatmate or the best pubs to go to for cheap drinks, but it is also a good idea to include other kinds of information that could be useful and educational to others. For example, what you are learning in your Uni tutes and lectures, what is going on politically, how the culture/social norms differ or broken stereotypes Aussies/Americans may have had. You will be surprised about how much you learn by just observing and listening in your new surroundings!

Thanks, Angelina, for sharing these useful tips! Remember that you can always browse through our own Student Bloggers’ adventures to get a sense of what it’s REALLY like to study in Australia! You can click on the links under “Student Bloggers” on the right-hand side of this page or visit our website here to learn more.

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