I studied at Bond University on the Gold Coast, Australia and loved it! I traveled to many different places on the country’s east coast and think anyone considering traveling abroad in Australia should go for it – here’s why.

1. Watching Awesome Sunsets

It’s 5:00 pm. You have been on the beach since noon and finally the air has cooled down a bit. In fact, there is a light breeze and the once-blue sky has darkened considerably. The areas that the clouds have dispersed from are now replaced by brilliant shades of late-afternoon sunshine. Over the next half hour, the sky transforms into a ceiling of wonderful sherbet-colored beauty and you can’t take your eyes off of it. This never gets old. (Take my word for it!)

Sunset in Australia
Byron Bay had the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen (it was also my favorite place that we visited in general).

2. Learning (maybe even playing) new sports

Australia and sports go together like country concerts and jorts! Australian rules football, rugby, cricket, tennis and soccer are the most popular sports in Australia. The most surprising sport? Surf lifesaving. Surf lifesaving competitions include events such as swimming, board-riding, running on the sand and boat racing. Once you see the size of the surf you will be glad that the lifeguards are out there training hard!

Watching sports in Australia
Some friends and I went to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to watch Brisbane Roar FC play against Melbourne City FC…what a game!

3. Seeing Spectacular Views

One of best places to visit while studying abroad on the east coast of Australia is the Great Ocean Road. It is over 240 kilometres long (about 150 miles!) and it was actually built as a WWI memorial. It is so amazing that it doesn’t look real…seriously, go see it for yourself.

Spectacular views in Australia
The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia

4. Hiking and Outdoor Adventures

No matter where you study abroad in Australia, there will always be incredible places to hike. Search online for some of the best routes near your university.

Hiking in Australia
Alexandria Bay, Noosa National Park

5. Hanging Out with Kangaroos (the Wildlife in General, Really)

Over the course of the semester, I saw all sorts of different types of wildlife. First, it was kangaroos, koalas, dingoes and crocodiles at the Kuranda Koala Gardens near Cairns, then it was bats and colorful birds in Cairns, then magpies and iguanas in the Gold Coast, then whales and dolphins in Byron Bay, more kangas, koalas and Tasmanian devils in Tasmania, and then I ended the trip with some giraffes in Sydney. There are tons of beautiful animals to see everywhere in Australia, so definitely keep your eyes open when you are out and about.

Kangaroos in Australia
I took this picture at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania

6. Making new friends

Studying abroad in Australia will give you the opportunity to make some of the most amazing friends you could ever imagine. Australia is a perfect cocktail of weather, scenery, activities, nightlife and beach that tends to really bring people together. Embrace all of the new people that you meet and go see what Australia has to offer with them!

Friends on the Bond campus
First day of school at Bond University!

7. Chilling at the Beach

The fact that this is #7 on my list is just testament to how much Oz has to offer. Australia is definitely home to some of the best beaches in the world…

Bondi Beach Australia
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia PC: April Harrington, Villanova University

8. Checking Out the Art

Australia is home to many different forms of art (Melbourne in particular has a thriving street art scene – check out Hosier Lane). Both indigenous and contemporary art styles are prevalent and there is a lot to see if you are at all interested in art.

Art in Australia
This was a boat built out of driftwood in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart, Australia

9. Studying at Top Colleges and Universities

International student enrollments in Australia have nearly doubled over the past 20 years with influxes of students coming from Asia and the Americas to study abroad. Australia is well known for both teaching and research institutions and has universities specializing in nearly every field imaginable. While many of the schools have a different academic calendar to the U.S., Bond University follows a semester schedule similar to that of American colleges and universities, which makes it easier to fit studying abroad into your school schedule (go Bull Sharks!).

It was a beautiful first day of classes at Bond University, meanwhile back in the states the East Coast was knee-deep in snow. PC: Anthony Campanella, Cornell University

10. Watching the Sun Come Back Up Again!

If you ever get stuck writing a paper into the early hours of the morning, I recommend taking a walk outside to watch the sun rise. Bring some friends if you can but if you go by yourself you probably still won’t be alone; Australians seem to like getting their walking and running (and yoga too) done nice and early in the morning.

Sunrise in Australia
I took this picture at Kurrawa Beach, the closest beach to where we were staying in Broadbeach.

Justin Dauley (Bryant University) studied abroad in Australia at Bond University.