About Australia

Australia (officially the Commonwealth of Australia) is an Oceanian country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east and New Zealand to the south-east.

For at least 40,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians who spoke languages grouped into roughly 250 language groups.

Climate, flora & fauna

By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid. Australia is the flattest continent, has the oldest and least fertile soils, and is the driest inhabited continent. Only the south-east and south-west corners of the continent have a temperate climate. Most of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline. The landscapes of the northern part of the country, with a tropical climate, consist of rainforest, woodland, grassland, mangrove swamps and desert. The climate is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the El Niño southern oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia.

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it covers a diverse range of habitats, from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognised as a “megadiverse” country. Most Australian woody plant species are evergreen and many are adapted to fire and drought, including many eucalyptus and acacias. Well-known Australian fauna include monotremes (the platypus and echidna) ; a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, wombat; the saltwater and freshwater crocodiles; and birds such as the emu and kookaburra. Australia is home to the largest number of venomous snakes in the world.


Since 1788, the primary basis of Australian culture has been Anglo-Celtic, although distinctive Australian features had been evolving from the environment and indigenous culture. Over the past 50 years, Australian culture has been strongly influenced by American popular culture (particularly television and cinema), large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking countries, and Australia’s Asian neighbours. The vigour and originality of the arts in Australia – literature, cinema, opera, music, painting, theatre, dance, and crafts — have achieved international recognition.

Official name: Commonwealth of Australia
Area total: 7.741.220 km
Population (estimate) 20 500 000
Capital city: Canberra
Government: Parliamentary democracy (federal constitutional monarchy)
Currency: 1 Australian Dollar (AUD) = 100 cents


Sydney is the most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of over 4.2 million people (2006 estimate). Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast. It is Australia’s largest financial centre and a major international tourist destination. Sydney is one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world notable for its beaches and twin landmarks: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

Sydney has an oceanic climate with warm summers and mild winters, with rainfall spread throughout the year. Sydney beaches are known for its clear water ideal for swimming and water sports. Sydney has also played host to numerous sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.


Students can use public transport in all cities in Australia. We recommend to our students to buy a weekly ticket for a bus, a train and a ferry. This saves a lot of money and student can use the ticket during 7 days period.


There is a variety of accommodation available to suit different budgets and needs, including private accommodation or a homestay with an Australian family. Shared accommodation with other students is a popular option, and student noticeboards and newspapers often advertise rooms, apartments and houses for rent. If you decide for Share accommodation then you will be living with some other students who rent and share a unit or a house. Depending on your preferences you can have your own room or you can live with some other people. Home stay gives the option of staying with an Australian family, who takes care of you, but it is also a bit more expensive. Other options are accommodation in hostel, backpackers or hotels. Prices in these vary from cheap to expensive.

Working in Australia

International student are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week while studying and full-time during the school holidays. Please visit www.immi.gov.au for more information. Once you find a job and start working in Australia you will have to apply for a Tax File Number. Application forms are available from the Australian Taxation Office website www.ato.gov.au. To look for part time or casual jobs visit www.seek.com.au or www.mycareer.com.au. If you wish to find out the average rates of pay for working in Sydney , refer to www.dir.nsw.gov.au.