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The Summer Global Prep program in Australia was updated as a response to the recent bushfires that have ravaged many parts of the country. AFS-USA aims to rally support for wildfire restoration and the renewal of natural habitats, as well as introduce students to the knowledge and skills needed to champion sustainable development and climate action, for Australia and the entire planet. As a safety note, students will not be anywhere near active fires.

The Summer Global Prep program in Australia is a two-week journey that includes workshops on sustainable design at Griffith University, visits to ethical/economic food production cooperatives, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal Cultural Studies Centre, and festival events on North Stradbroke Island celebrating the role aboriginal culture and people play in environmental sustainability practices. The program will conclude with a Global Citizenship workshop (also known as Effect+).

Students will learn from indigenous communities, university educators, and other environmental stewards, gaining theoretical knowledge of what it means to be sustainable and practical experience from nature walks, workshops, and tree planting service. Beyond learning to renew the natural beauty and ecological stability of regions in Australia in the wake of the recent bushfire crisis, students will zoom in on the local impacts and zoom out to see the global scale and interconnected causes of climate change.

Eligibility Requirements

Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13- and 14-year olds aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14-year-old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.

On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare

Sample Program Itinerary to Australia

The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.

Brisbane River, Brisbane, Australia

I. Arriving in Brisbane, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and Interactive Exhibitions

Your journey to Brisbane will begin at LAX, where you’ll meet your Group Leader and the rest of your Global Prep participants. Then, you’ll travel together to Brisbane where you’ll be welcomed at the airport by AFS Staff or Volunteers. Brisbane is the known as the “river city” and makes full use of its natural environment. It is the perfect location for students to learn about urban sustainability first-hand.

Sustainability workshop in Australia

You will then receive an introduction to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability, and a city tour. Students will get to quickly explore the whole city through partaking in a “Sustainable Amazing Race” game, hosted and supervised by AFS Volunteers. Instruction will include lessons about sustainable living, which describes a zero-waste lifestyle that tries to limit an individual’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and design at Griffith University, a leading university for international students. Some design features students will get to explore include rammed earth walls, natural ventilation, solar energy generation, and water conservation.


On your fifth day, you’ll visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You’ll engage with a large variety of Australian wildlife and witness the direct impact of climate change on native wildlife populations. There, you’ll also learn more about climate change and global competency. The following day, you’ll return to Griffith University for a discussion on renewable energies.

Students will have the opportunity to engage in interactive exhibitions such as SparkLab and Maker Space on their sixth day, where they can work on constructing a specific product using the materials and guidelines provided by the museum. Science Bar, another exhibition, gives students the chance to watch live science experiments, make predictions, and analyze outcomes.

Quandmoka festival, Australia

II. Learning about Indigenous Cultures, Noosa National Park, and Sustainability

Your seventh day in Australia will include attending the Quandamooka Festival on North Stradbroke Island. The festival offers a wide variety of events including whale watching, cultural tours, Kunjiel (corroborees), music, eco boat tours, art exhibitions, fibre art and weaving workshops, bush tucker dining, arts, and cultural talks. The Quandamooka Festival is a great opportunity to learn more from the Quandamooka Peoples perspective, the “traditional custodians of Minjerribah, Peel Island and the waters to the west of the island.”

Bushwalking, Australia

The following day, you’ll embark on a bushwalk (also known as a hike or off-road walk in the countryside) to Noosa National Park, a wildlife sanctuary home to eucalyptus forest, woodlands, wetlands, rainforest, and more! There, you can participate in a range of activities such as guided walk with a ranger, breakfast with the birds and learn about the local wildlife through going on an Eco Hunt.

On your tenth day in Australia, you’ll visit Fibo Group, an organization that works with sustainable agriculture, farming, and creating eco-friendly waste.

Mt Coot Tha -first tropical dome

III. Tree Planting, Aboriginal Education, and Effect + Workshop

Conservation Volunteers Australia is currently actively engaged in bushfire relief work. You’ll be involved in one of the core missions of CVA (“Green Links”) which focuses on revegetation and rehabilitation of different habitats and ecosystems. AFS students will take part in a one-day tree planting volunteer project with CVA (though not necessarily in bushfire affected areas).

AFS Participants in Sustainability Workshop, Australia

On your second to last day, you’ll go to the Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre, enhancing cultural knowledge, understanding, and respect for Indigenous people and their practices. The philosophy of the centre is based on a holistic view of creation, recognizing that humanity is part of the environment and not separate to it. AFS participants would join a local school group on the day and enjoy learning about aboriginal and sustainability topics in a relaxed and friendly environment-a uniquely Indigenous learning style.

Finally, you’ll attend an Effect + workshop, where you’ll work closely with students from a local school. The contents and activities are designed to empower young community leaders with skills needed to affect positive change. Your group and the local students will reflect on issues facing the world and how to work together to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s a great opportunity to explore your role as a global citizen and changemaker!

Group in Australia

Your Accommodations

During your time in Australia, you’ll stay primarily at a chaperoned youth hostel. You will also have the chance to stay a couple nights at Habitat Noosa, Everglades Ecocamp  and one night at a youth hostel at North Stradbroke Island, following the Quandamooka festival!

Group Leaders

This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.

What's Included

  • Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
  • Accommodations, meals, and transportation
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
  • Visa Support
  • Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.

That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.

It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Australia.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits

Apply for Global Prep in Australia!