Offering surreal surf destinations, exhilarating adventures and breathtaking views, it is no surprise that the Land Down Under has become a hotspot for semester abroad students. International exchange students are swapping one English speaking country for another and are choosing to indulge in vegemite sandwiches from the carefree nation which brings us endless options for new experiences. Australia and its surrounding neighbors of the South Pacific region are at the top of the list for thrill-seeking students.
Just like with any other major life decision, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of different study abroad locations. To help you plan your semester abroad, we’ve done some of the research for you to help you decide which South Pacific destination will best suit your needs and interests!
Sydney is a city that is buzzing with nightlife, offers endless restaurants for an unbeatable dining experience, and has streets lined with markets and boutiques so you can shop until you drop. It will take months to explore all that the city has to offer with infamous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor. You’ll never have a dull moment with non-stop events every week including Sydney Mardi Gras and the Big Day Out! For more on how to spend your time in Sydney, check out A Weekend in Sydney, Australia: My #happyplace.
The price of everyday goods and services such as food, clothing and transportation is much higher than many other parts of the world, meaning you’ll have to budget your money accordingly. With so many great features, it is inevitable that such a popular city will be crowded with tourists throughout the year. Air pollution is a growing concern, as the city is one of the largest in Australia.
Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington is a city that is compact, vibrant and easy to walk around, making it a pleasure to explore the restaurants, bars and trendy cafes. If you love theater, music, dance, art, galleries and especially culture, Wellington is the destination for you! Bring out the inner daredevil with endless adrenaline activities such as abseiling, skydiving, quad biking, rock climbing, bungee jumping and zorbing. Are you an avid backpacker? Check out backpacking route #6 of Backpacking? Here Are Our Picks for the Top 6 Routes for a 7 day trip that covers Auckland to Wellington!
Although the city center has a lot to offer, there are not as many activities outside of the center. Another obstacle for students is that it is difficult to travel elsewhere due to distance from other countries. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your bank account due to the high cost of everyday goods.
Fiji has a beautiful tropical climate, pristine white sand beaches and cobalt blue waters that will leave you mesmerized every day on your walk to class (Fiji was even ranked #8 on our list of Top Instagram Moments in 20 Countries). These islands offer the unique cultural experience of interacting with native Fijian village people and learning about their lifestyle. Students can island-hop to the hundreds of islands that make up the nation. If you’re brave enough, you might even choose to scuba dive with sharks!
Since Fiji is so secluded, there is a high cost or even absence of common Western goods. Christianity is practiced very traditionally and conservatively and attitudes towards homosexuality are nowhere near as progressive as they are in parts of the US. Poverty (seen in squatter settlements around Suva) and theft are a significant problem for the city.
Gold Coast, Australia
Students can learn how to surf at the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach, or just kick back, relax, and enjoy the sun! If you’re interested in the movie industry, you can attend the infamous Tropfest, which is the world’s largest short film festival, among many other events held in the area. If you need a break from the city life, you can head inland to experience beautiful waterfalls and rainforests teeming with wildlife. To read more about why studying here might be right for you, check out the Top 6 Reasons to Study on the Gold Coast.
As expected with such a beautiful location, the Gold Coast is crowded with tourists. As with other cities in Australia, there is a high cost of living and lack of the goods and services that are offered in the US. With all of the time you’ll be spending on the beach, you’ll want to be extremely careful about protecting yourself from the sun. Make sure to frequently apply sunscreen with a high SPF and seek shade!
Auckland, New Zealand
In Auckland, you get the best of both worlds with city life, as well as gorgeous natural landscapes with lush valleys, snow-capped mountains and volcanoes. If you venture outside of the city limits, you can experience the native Maori culture. Auckland is renowned for having some of the world’s best adrenaline activities, including leaping from the famous Sky Tower. For more activities for adrenaline junkies, check out The Adrenaline Junkie’s Guide to the South Pacific to leave your heart racing!
The city of Auckland is very spread out, so it makes if difficult to explore the city just by walking around. There is no “heart” to the city and it can be overwhelming for students who aren’t used to such an urban setting.
No matter where you decide to study abroad, you will have the time of your life! StudentUniverse can help get you there with exclusive discounts for students on flights to the South Pacific, and help keep you entertained with endless activities to choose from.