Two Worlds United
Programs in Australia for High School Students
|Not long ago,
mention of Australia conjured visions of a vast geological and zoological
These attractions still play a large part in the island continent's
appeal. Countless millennia of isolation from the rest of the world have
created an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. Nature diverged in a big
way Down Under, and this is mirrored by the growth of the country and its
increasingly multicultural population.
Today, students are likely to be drawn by the sophistication of
Australia's leading cities as much as the outback visions popularized by
the Crocodile Dundee movies. Australians, with their sly, dry
humor, tend to perpetuate their national myths—not for nothing do they
call their country "Oz."
According to popular legend, these mythical "real Australians"
wore strange hats pinned up on one side and had wonderfully twangy
accents. They herded millions of sheep across vast deserts, with an
independent and often outrageously down-to-earth approach to life.
Australia today is a country that inspires such clichés yet transcends
almost all of them.
Today's Australians are an urban people, almost all of whom live either on
or within a few hours' drive of the coast. Since the end of WWII,
Australia has been a magnet for immigrants from around the world. It is a
land of opportunity and a new frontier.
The archetypal Australian—a slow-talking iconoclast of Celtic or English
descent—still constitutes the greater part of the population. But these
days Australian society is thoroughly saturated by the influence of its
Italian, Greek, Maltese, Lebanese, Chinese, and other settlers.
Yet some of the old attitudes and prejudices remain: the self-reliant
spirit is still there, as is a widespread disregard for authority and an
ability to shed social inhibitions at short notice.
What students find are 18 million people living on one of the most
fascinating continents of the world. It's entirely possible to visit
Australia and never see a koala or a kangaroo—it takes a little work,
but it can be done—and if you meet somebody on the Sydney streets
wearing an Australian hat, he's probably from Cleveland. But once you've
driven through the outback, or watched the sun rise over the Coral Sea, or
shopped in one of the elegant department stores in Sydney or Melbourne,
you won't go home disappointed.
Tel: 1 (805) 581-9191
Fax: 1 (805) 581-6079