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Thread summary:

Studying abroad in Australia, study abroad academic programs, best city in Australia, theater importance, coffeehouse culture, young college girls, outdoor activities

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Old 09-16-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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Hi guys.

I came across these forums while helplessly trying to research various places to study abroad, and let me tell you I'm so glad I did. I hardly know anyone from outside the US (I'm in correspondence with one Aussie right now, but I'd like more help!) - and these forums seem to be a great resource above the typical travel brochures/ random trivia that tell you hardly anything about a country or it's cities and towns. Annnyway...

I guess I'll tell you my quick story. I'm basically a US student in my third year at college, and I'm planning to study abroad for a semester this spring (Jan/ Feb - May/ Jun).

Why do I want to study abroad?

1. I've only been outside the US for a week, and that was in Cancun (laughably American and touristy). I would definitely like to expand my worldview and experiences.

2. Who doesn't want to have an adventure? I moved 1100 miles across the country to attend college because I really enjoy going off on my own and just saying **** it. I have a solid group of close friends, but I'm a guy who easily (and sometimes prefers) going out alone to a party or event, instantly befriending and meeting people, striking up conversations with strangers land talking to them like I've known them for years, etc. Just explaining who I am a bit so you can tailor your advice to my questions (coming soon I swear hehe).

3. Study purposes-- hope I don't come across as a fool here -- although academics are usually my top priority, they are not a high priority here. I feel I can study a large majority of topics just as easily in the US as anywhere else. And from what I've heard, even the most rigorous "study abroad" programs are a farce in their workload and that you'll forget most of it years down the road anyway. If I can take classes related to my major(virtually completed already) or of great interest to me, great -- but I'm always surprised when ppl ask me what I want to study there as if it's very important -- uh, I'll be doing most of my learning outside the classroom. Any commentary/ cynicism on my thoughts here are welcome lol.


Also, I only want to study in a country that speaks english. Not because I'm somehow xenophobic (I actually love hearing foreign languages) - but because I actually want to have deep meaningful conversations with the locals. So --- basically, I was trying to decide between Ireland and Australia for studying, but I think I'm leaning toward Australia. Ireland is cool because 1. I'm half irish. 2. A cool friend told me it was ABSOLUTLEY AMAZING. 3. Access to the rest of Europe, including other abroad friends. But on the other hand, Australia --- well it's mother****ing Australia! That and an Aussie who's traveled a lot of the world told me to go there above anywhere else (but he's probably a tad biased lol). Any thoughts here would be appreciated.

Basically, my questions: What do you think is the best city in Australia for me to stay for a semester? What universities for that matter?

I'm looking for a great city for young people. The more young hot student girls walking around the better. Lively music/ dance and arts scenes a plus. I'm a huge theatre nerd, too --- been a lead actor in several plays -- would love a great theatre scene, if only to watch even. I've only been to clubs/bars a hanful of times because I'm 20 (21 age limit for US mostly) but would love to start exploring them. So vibrant nightlife a plus. On the other hand, I don't want to be harassed by xenophobic locals or raging *******s while I'm out (saw some of this in Cancun). I mean, I'm a very friendly guy, level-headed and disarming - prefer not to be harassed for being American, not that I'm expectin it. I can easily deal with it just prefer not to, ya know. For the day --- any city have a big coffeehouse culture or is just pretty social during the day?

I'm am also very outdoorsy, love physical activites, sports, and the water. I would love a city with great beaches, landscapes, forests, mountains, parks --- or just lots of physical activities to do. Warmer weather would be nicer too.

Also preferring a city that is very typically "Australian," if that makes any sense. I mean, I came to Australia to see Australian culture and see what it's all about. I'd really, really, really like to pet a kangaroo. That sort of ****. However, I don't want to go to a touristy or tourist centered place --- I'd prefer authentic places, not locals trying to sell me bobble-head dolls or 'sacred artifacts' on every street corner.

Of course, public transportation, *affordability* (I am a poor college student so cost of living/ doing things a big consideration), access to other Autralian cities also all big pluses.

My Aussie friend (30 year old guy who's wildly social) has recommened Brisbane. Obviously, the other cities that come to mind off the top of my head are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. So any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:18 AM
 
Location: Camberville
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I would strongly suggest an SIT program. SIT is the most respected study abroad program because it actually is VERY rigorous. I'm in a group of 18 students in Mexico (which is actually on the large side for SIT) studying development issues. We spend 4 hours a day in Spanish class then 2 or more hours meeting with local officials in all areas of development and social change. Depending on what program you do, you could meet with any range of people. The capstone of the program is that you spend a month independently in the field leading your own research program. Of course, with only a month, the end result is rather short (20-30 pages) but it really pushes you to the limit. You have to go out and interview people and be comfortable being on your own. As a kind of shy person who has a lot of insecurities about my Spanish ability, this program is really helping me grow as a program.

SIT has an AMAZING program in Northern Ireland focusing on the conflicts there. There are also a few programs in Australia. I also spent the past summer with them in Iceland. While you learn a bit of Icelandic, everyone speaks English and you get to study alternative development. Plus, it's super outdoorsy.

I think the SIT programs are probably the best of all study abroad programs. Sure, you can wimp out and direct enroll in a university and basically have your same college experience but in a different country. There are advantages to that (and I'm doing it next semester in London- but also I'm on my college's dime since my scholarship covers study abroad, otherwise I wouldn't waste my time) but honestly the people who seem to be most affected by their time abroad lived in homestays and did not enroll in programs that just replicated their home college experience (ie go to class all day, lectures, tests, etc.)

I'm also obviously completely biased. :P
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Old 09-17-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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Default Sweet Adelaide

I went to Uni in Adelaide and of course I'm biased to Adelaide. Here's why:
1. Cost of living cheaper than MEL, SYD...
2. Wine regions close by, wine is excellent.
3. If you want to pet a kangaroo or koala, cleland wildlife park is close. Or for a weekend you can go to Kangaroo Island or the start of the Outback in the Fleurieu peninsula.
4. Adelaide is the festival city of Oz, so always something to do.
5. Lots of place for cheap dining, Chinatown, etc.
6. Good public transit to get around town or to the beaches.
7. Nice beaches, the waves are not as wild as east coast cities.. the Gulf of St Vincent is fairly calm. I've swam and a pod of dolphins swam by.
8. People in ADL are friendly. My friends who visited from NYC went back to New York saying hello to strangers and realised they were no longer in ADL.
9. with Tiger and Air Asia moving into ADL, cheap to fly around Oz.
10. Its less hectic than the larger cities, maintains the atmosphere of a large Aussie country town. Easy to navigate.

One of my favourite things to do was bike to the beach following the Torrens. On the way you will see amazing colourful birdlife, horses, etc. Jump in the ocean, have a gelato then bike back into the city.

None of the foreign students that I have met or aussies from other cities that I met there hated it. The general consensus was it was a nice pleasant city to live in and that we were lucky to be there.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:26 PM
 
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Adelaide I would have to agree is much better than Melbourne and Sydney. A lot of Aussies poke fun at it for some reason, but overall it's just a better city. Probably the only negative for me is it's a bit warmer than Syd or Mel. The city is very nice and smaller without the excessive sprawl that plagues the other cities. I like the downtown and the parkland around the CBD. There is plenty to do in terms of touristy things. I like going up in the Adelaide Hills and going to the different towns up there.

I still have a lot to see in South Australia so I look forward to my next trip. Often when I travel down under I rent an apartment in a city for a month or so and I think Adelaide is next on the list.
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:11 AM
 
Location: London
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Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Adelaide I would have to agree is much better than Melbourne and Sydney. A lot of Aussies poke fun at it for some reason, but overall it's just a better city. Probably the only negative for me is it's a bit warmer than Syd or Mel. The city is very nice and smaller without the excessive sprawl that plagues the other cities. I like the downtown and the parkland around the CBD. There is plenty to do in terms of touristy things. I like going up in the Adelaide Hills and going to the different towns up there.

I still have a lot to see in South Australia so I look forward to my next trip. Often when I travel down under I rent an apartment in a city for a month or so and I think Adelaide is next on the list.
I would refute the fact that Adelaide is "much better" Personally much prefer Melbourne to Adelaide. More diversity of cultures. Wonderful restauants. It's personal preference. But yes Adelaide is a nice place and much nicer than a lot of Aussies say.
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Old 09-19-2008, 05:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by billsaintkilda View Post
I would refute the fact that Adelaide is "much better" Personally much prefer Melbourne to Adelaide. More diversity of cultures. Wonderful restauants. It's personal preference. But yes Adelaide is a nice place and much nicer than a lot of Aussies say.
Everyone has their preferences and I refrain from saying this city is better.. I like to use the word 'prefer'

If money is an issue, you will find Melbourne and Sydney more expensive than Adelaide (for rents, etc).. although since the AUD has dropped from almost par to the US (.98) to (.82) Aus is so much cheaper now.

Adelaide, just like most of Australia is quite diverse. Lot of Asians, Indians, Sudanese, etc. But come on.. isn't one of the objective of studying in Oz to meet Aussies? For me its main advantages were: 1) lower cost of living, 2) nice beaches - the beaches of the gulf st. vincent do not have rough surf, 3) excellent food and wine and 4) the festivals. I met tons of both Aussies and non-Aussies.Just make it a point to meet Aussies and not get stuck in the hang out only with internationals crowd. Also, I loved the time I spent in Kangaroo Island and the Outback. And when you are ready to explore Melbourne is a quick and inexpensive flight, as are other parts of Oz (though flights to Uluru are expensive). I was also glad that it had direct flight connections to Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur as I travelled throughout SE Asia during breaks.

P.S. 1 - I got my degree from Uni Adelaide, great school
P.S. 2- If people ask if you are Canadian, just say yes... best not to get into a Bush conversation

Last edited by minibrings; 09-19-2008 at 05:29 AM..
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Old 09-19-2008, 07:16 AM
 
Location: London
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Originally Posted by minibrings View Post
best not to get into a Bush conversation

That's pretty good advice for anywhere in the world right now.
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Old 09-19-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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LOL. Did you like the part where if told him that if people asked if he were Canadian to say yes?

If I were living in Oz PERMANENTLY... it would have to be Melbourne. I love the trams, coffee culture. I'd learn to row on the river. I'd pick up a hot chocolate and churro from that South American chocolate stand in Flinders Railway then spend hours at the AGV...

I love MEL.. and I thought I would like SYD better... but hands down MEL has SYD beat for culture... in MY opinion only..

And I've easy access to my friends in ADL and can spend weekends in the Barossa or McClaren Vale!
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:25 PM
 
Location: London
200 posts, read 973,277 times
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Originally Posted by minibrings View Post
LOL. Did you like the part where if told him that if people asked if he were Canadian to say yes?

If I were living in Oz PERMANENTLY... it would have to be Melbourne. I love the trams, coffee culture. I'd learn to row on the river. I'd pick up a hot chocolate and churro from that South American chocolate stand in Flinders Railway then spend hours at the AGV...

I love MEL.. and I thought I would like SYD better... but hands down MEL has SYD beat for culture... in MY opinion only..

And I've easy access to my friends in ADL and can spend weekends in the Barossa or McClaren Vale!
Yeah I kinda feel sorry for Americans travelling at the moment. Although I think it's a lot worse for them in Europe than Oz. But hey what I tell Americans is you may have elected a bozo twice but we elected that bozo's biggest butt licker 3 times. So who the hell are we to judge?

You're right if you're a poor student Adelaide is pretty appealing. And the wineries are great. My dear ole Gran is Adelaide and I make sure I see her when I go back to Oz each Christmas and the McClarenvale always gets a visit.

BTW I think the Australian tourist bureau should hire you as an international ambassador. Keep up the good work.
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by billsaintkilda View Post


BTW I think the Australian tourist bureau should hire you as an international ambassador. Keep up the good work.
Thanks mate. Australia is in my heart. I now have added vegemite as a permanent member of my pantry. I drive 20 kilometers to buy Tim Tams here in Toronto. I have yet to buy any wine but Aussie. And I find that at times Aussie words or expressions just come out (brekkie, she'll be right, no worries). My time at Uni there.. were the best years of my life.

PS Poor John Howard (aka bloody mongrel). His district wouldn't even re-elect him. I was in St Kilda visiting friends during the elections, and his defeat gave me hope that things will change in the US come November 4.
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