Australia for Students: Travel Tips and Advice (guest post)

As a student in the 21st century, you have a chance to use your wits and the flexible academic infrastructure to make this the most adventurous period in your life. Don’t believe me? Well, I decided to turn my life into an adventure by applying for studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

After a year of an incredibly hectic life filled with side-splitting mistakes and delightful moments, I felt compelled to share some travel tips and advice with all students who choose to apply for studies at any of the amazing universities on the Australian continent.

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Why Australia?

It simply has everything you need. It is a place of economic stability, developed industrial infrastructure, high-quality life standard, warm climate and incredible, breathtaking landscapes. From alien dreamscape of pink Lake Hillier to out-of-this-world Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia and Whitehaven Beach, in a few semesters, you’ll spend on the continent as a foreign student, take the time to visit at least some of them.

As a freshly arrived student, you will plunge into a vibrant cityscape filled with countless opportunities and fun activities (and that’s before you “get off the boat”). The nightlife is dynamic and you can get anywhere you want really fast. It’s a country that cultivates the culture of young people; therefore, if you are a student, it’s a perfect place for you.

There are a few basic things you should know as a newcomer before you arrive, but it’s mostly a country that has thrived on western culture, so adapting won’t be too big of a problem.

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Be sure to embark on a road trip as soon as possible

Australia is a continent of many natural wonders. It’s a place with unique flora and fauna as well as some of the most impressive topography you’ll ever witness. If you enroll in one of the colleges, grab a first chance you get to travel around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. After all, what’s a student life without some road tripping?

A 928 kilometer-long coastline highway between Brisbane and Sydney is a rite of passage for all freshly arrived road trip enthusiasts. It’s definitely one of the most traveled Australian road trips also known as Legendary Pacific Coast. You’ll come across everything along this corridor – beautiful beaches, picturesque hills, quaint towns, sprawling wineries, etc. It will take you a little over ten hours to arrive to Sydney, one of the most popular cities in the world, so if you embark on this trip early enough, you can spend most of the afternoon and early evening enjoying the sights.

If you can spare enough time out of your busy academic schedule, convince your friends to visit the aforementioned Whitehaven Beach. Its gentle mixture of crystal clear water and shining white sand will leave you gob smacked. Hanging Rock and Uluru in Northern Territories are also legitimate choices. Uluru is especially interesting – a huge sandstone rock formation taller than the Eiffel Tower lies in the middle of the desert, 280 miles away from Alice Springs, the closest hint of civilization.

You’ll be glad to know that the road trip culture is very well developed in Australia, so you won’t have to search hard to find a group of people who probably don’t even know each other, but getting to know them on a road trip is a part of the adventure (more on that later). The only thing you should be worried about on your transcontinental adventure is how to travel on a budget.

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Campus life

The most amazing thing about all of this is – there’s absolutely no need to be anxious. All the people on the campus (and citywide) are actually very pleasant. The most daunting thing for all new arrivals is probably the language. Even though they speak English, Australians have their own slang that includes words like mozzie (mosquito), stoked (excited), or barbie (barbecue), but getting the hang of it is not all that difficult. Most of the words are pretty logical once you think about their roots, so you’ll be able to speak like a true Aussie in no time.

Now that we are on the topic of campus, all the universities around the country are very well organized when it comes to student accommodation, and no matter what city you end up being in, you’ll hardly be anything less than comfortable. Just check out the impeccably designed Iglu Student Accommodation in Brisbane, the peak of an off-campus lifestyle and you’ll understand what I mean.

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People are a part of the adventure too

Australian universities are some of the most diverse environments in the world both culturally and ethnically. Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s one example – Brisbane accepts a whopping number of 50,000 students from different corners of the Earth every year. So that’s good news for you – you’ll never feel like an outsider.

This sort of environment also means that you will have many opportunities to meet people that come from strikingly different backgrounds when compared to your own. It’s a true social adventure through which, if you are brave enough, you can forge unforgettable and long-lasting friendships. In the end, who knows, maybe one of those bonds will open up another door for you, an opportunity that might just lead into a different adventure altogether.

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In spite of the rising tensions around the globe, I adamantly stand behind the statement that there has never been a better time to experiment and go out into the world. As a student, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to educate yourself in one of many universities around the world, and Australia certainly offers the most diverse mix of academic endeavors and adventures. It was an inspiring journey, and I’ll definitely remember it for the rest of my life.

About the author

Marie Nieves is a student and a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


Guest blogger: Brittany Hayward. Adventures in Perth, Australia

Sitting on a cramped bus, in the middle of the Western Australian desert made me re-think downing over 3L of “daily-recommended” water.
Being miles from anywhere led roommates Jose, Vicky and I to the truest of Aussie landscapes; the big and barren WA. Home to white beaches, optional foot attire and the world’s most isolated city.
After an exhausting 4-hour flight we hit the Sheralee Hostel in Perth. Practically an ancient ruin, the place challenged the boundaries of cleanliness. Our evening stay was accompanied by a dead cockroach, a bloody kitchen brawl of Irishman, and a Chinese man determined to catch the mouse inhabiting our room.
Waking up to our neighbors alarm an hour earlier then needed, we were ready to catch our tour leaving for the far north. Leaving the dust mites and grime behind us we boarded the 20 person bus jammed pack with tourists mostly from Europe.
Led by “Bachelor Bob” (coined due to the lack of wedding ring), Bob both guided and drove
the diverse crew up the coast. Stopping at places like the Pinnacle Desert, white sandy beaches and the Wildlife Park where Jose taught a multicoloured finch how to dance. Apparently Spaniards have a way with the wildlife.
Kilometre after another, we continued on towards Kalgone National Park. When entering I obeyed the instructions by keeping hydrated for the remainder of time hiking. The views of the rocky red terrain were one of a kind and my camera couldn’t get enough. By the end of the day we made it to Monkey Mia, but before our glorious arrival we made a much need “pee-pee” break at the Billabong Roadhouse.
Word of the wise: keep water consumption to a minimum when stopping at 3-hour increments.
We capped the day with a sunset over the Indian Ocean, and a bobbing turtle
wishing us goodnight. Getting an early start to the day we watched bottlenose dolphins swim up to shallow beach, followed by a morning of sailing at Shark Bay.
Growing closer with our fellow travelers we headed to lookouts at Shell Beach, Hamelin pools and Eagles Bluff. Our final overnight stay was a farm reserve, miles from civilization and cell phone reception. Luckily the stench of our barn accommodation didn’t bother us too much.
With only a day ahead of us we concluded the tour with sandboarding, peeing in the outback and bowing down to HRH Prince Leonard of Hutt River Principality. Hutt River is an independent state succeeding Australian rules and laws. It’s hard to imagine, but getting a stamp in our passports was definitely the biggest highlight!
The drive back to Perth was long and tiring, but left lingering views of open paddocks, grazing kangaroos and running emus. After this trip, I can confidently wash my pee down the toilet, tolerate the extent of greasiness, speak beginner Spanish, and answer all of life’s questions with She’s the Man quotes. Western Australia is forgotten and desolate, but full of hidden gems.
The 4-day tour was a blur, but I’ve got a lifetime of knowledge.
Follow Brittany’s blog and let her interesting stories and gorgeous photos take you on a wonderful journey around the world!