When I decided to study abroad, I was faced with more than 190 different choices. However, when my plane landed in Australia, I knew that I had made the right choice. This country possesses attributes that are unique in our world, and make it the perfect place for an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here are my top 3 reasons for studying abroad in Australia.

The Culture

In Australia, everyone is your friend. They accept people as-is with open arms. Even before I had set foot off of the plane, I had a business card from a Sydney man and an offer to spend the night at a home in Melbourne. Australia. Similar to the United States, Australia is a nation of immigrants and mixed cultures. No matter who you are or where you come from, you have a place here. Strangers here will talk with you for hours if you let them, and will end up becoming your best friend.

Hanging out with friends in Sydney | Hannah Schube, DePaul University
Hanging out with friends in Sydney | Hannah Schube, DePaul University

Variety of Adventures

When looking at places to study, I wanted it all. I wanted to surf in the morning, explore a forest in the afternoon and spend the night in a bustling downtown market. As I found, it is not only possible here; it is easy. The continent is a vast, varied and vibrant place. It ranges from tropical rain forests and pristine beaches to snow-capped mountains and expansive deserts. Of course there is skydiving, mountaineering and scuba diving here, but there are also uniquely Australian adventures. I have explored million year-old forests and stayed on an island made completely out of sand. It’s amazing to do all of that within one country.

Learning to Surf – a great adventure to have on your bucket list while in Australia

The Wildlife

They might look like living teddy bears, but don’t confuse these adorable creatures for bears. Koalas are marsupials, and uniquely Australian. Australia has quite a few animals not found anywhere else in the world. Aside from Koalas, there are Kangaroos, Wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, hundreds of colorful bird species and exotic sea life. When surfing at certain beaches, it isn’t uncommon to see a pod of dolphins playing near the shore, or a whale breaching the surface in the distance. I see Australia as the world’s best open space animal reserve.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane | Ashley Ellsworth, California Polytechnic State University

If this hasn’t been enough to convince you, I will add one more thing – the bacon is huge. That alone was enough to get me interested. So make the most out of your time abroad, and come to a place unlike anywhere else in the world.

James Jolly is a TEAN Alum and student at Drake University. He studied abroad with TEAN in Newcastle, Australia.