This is a cooperative program with Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the Partnership for Global Education (PGE).
Australia, a country that's home to great biological and geologic diversity, becomes the classroom on this term abroad, with a focus on marine and terrestrial ecology of eastern Australia. This is a Partnership for Global Education Program run jointly with Hobart and William-Smith College and organized in coordination with the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland (UQ), the country's largest university. It is located in Brisbane, a city of 1.4 million with a small-town feel.
Integrating field and lecture components, the program includes extended excursions that highlight a variety of ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef and the subtropical rainforest of Lamington National Park.
The final part of the program consists of a multi-site excursion in New Zealand. This island nation to the southeast of Australia, population 4.4 million, hosts spectacular endemic flora and fauna, thanks to its geographic isolation in the Pacific Ocean.
Course of Study
All students participating in the program will be required to take four courses:
The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia
This course examines the heritage of the terrestrial flora and fauna of Australia, and assumes a basic familiarity with the biology and ecology of terrestrial systems. The origins and uniqueness of Australia's flora and fauna will be discussed in light of continental drift, as well as past and present Australian environments. The course combines lectures and field-based work with essays and research reports to develop knowledge of Australia's unique terrestrial environments and to provide the skills with which to investigate them. Field activities include excursions to Stradbroke Island (a large sand island bearing mainly wallum vegetation) and the rainforest at Lamington National Park. A visit to an arid inland site gives students further opportunity to examine and explore aspects of terrestrial ecology shaped by the harsh environment.
The Marine Ecology of Australia
Students in this course are expected to have some familiarity with biological and ecological principles, sampling techniques and experimental design and statistics. The course draws together background knowledge of Australian marine systems and maritime resources with a variety of concepts and exercises in marine biology. The program takes participants from the rich diversity of the estuarine and coastal systems around Moreton Bay to Lady Elliot Island or Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. It combines classroom lectures and field-based learning with essays and research reports to provide an understanding of tropical marine biology and ecology.
Australian Culture, Society and Contemporary Issues
This overview of Australia draws upon the expertise of lecturers from a number of departments and programs (especially the Australian Studies Program and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Program) at the University of Queensland, as well as practitioners from a variety of fields. Among the topics that may be covered are: Aboriginal society and culture; European impact on the environment; sustainable agriculture and development; the Australian political system; the economy of Australia; health care and education; and nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. Discussions, journals, papers, and student presentations will provide a chance for reflection on the similarities and differences between the cultures of Australia and the United States.
Sustainability Down Under
This course will take the place of Geology of Australia and New Zealand. In this course, students will consider Australian and New Zealand beliefs, practices, and policies about sustainability and conservation. Students will be asked to develop a working definition of sustainability for these two countries and to document ways in which practices in these countries differ from those in the U.S. In developing this definition of sustainability, we will learn about attitudes and policies related to energy, land, and water use. We will also discuss public attitudes about recycling and waste handling, global climate change, and transportation options. Topics and issues discussed in the course will provide an additional focus for the field excursions as students will be able to compare and contrast what they experience in urban Brisbane with these other rural regions/destinations.
A key feature of the program is a rigorous schedule of multi-day excursions to conduct field work at four sites in Australia: North Stradbroke Island, a sand island in Moreton Bay about two hours from Brisbane; Lamington National Park, a subtropical rainforest three hours from Brisbane; Heron Island Research Station, Southern Great Barrier Reef; and the Saddler Springs–Mt. Moffat section of Carnarvon National Park, a drier, cattle ranching area of Queensland. During the New Zealand component of the program, the group will travel around the North Island.
Students will be placed in homestays while in Brisbane and will stay in a variety of accommodation types while in the field, including hotels, research centers, and hostels.
(For specific dates, contact the International Programs Office, Old Chapel, Third Floor.)
- January: Application deadline is the third Friday of winter term.
- February: Non-refundable deposit due at Cashier's Office in McKean House and receipt brought to the International Programs Office
- Spring term: Orientation meetings
- Mid-August: Pre-departure program begins
- Late August: Program begins in Australia
- Mid-December: Program ends
Photo Credit: Shabana Hoosein '11