Semester — Spring 2019
Application deadline: July 25, 2018
Semester — Fall 2019
Application deadline: December 5, 2018
Join teenagers from all over the world on the adventure of a lifetime. By living with a host family and attending a local high school, you’ll be completely immersed in Australian culture and have the opportunity to really get to know the friendly, outgoing people and beautiful landscape. Australia is famous for its stunning beaches and welcoming culture – make them a part of your everyday reality when you spend a semester in the land down under!
Australia’s indigenous population is an important part of society and has a profound impact on culture and visual art. Australians tend to be pretty casual and relaxed but they also value hard work, politeness, and punctuality. You might find that Australians communicate in a more direct and open style than what you’re used to. Beef has historically been an important part of the Australian diet but culinary attitudes are changing and you shouldn’t have much trouble following a vegetarian diet.
Your program will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet your fellow AFS students from the US. You’ll attend an overnight orientation, where you’ll learn some important information for your first few days in Australia and get a chance to talk to a cultural expert who recently spent time there. Then you’re off! You’ll travel together to Australia where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
On your way to meet your host family you’ll get a chance to take in some of the sights and sounds of Australia. You might get a glimpse of some of the country’s stunning beaches, vast outback, fertile farmland, and dramatic mountains. Australians love to spend time outside and you can also expect to see people hanging out, playing cricket or having a barbecues in the park.
AFSers have lived all across Australia, including major cities, rural farms, and everywhere in between. Australia is a very diverse country and every family is different, but in general you can expect your host parents to treat you like another son or daughter. You’ll most likely be asked to help out around the house, just like you would at home.
Families usually get together for dinner and it’s pretty common to get take-out for a quick meal. On the weekends you can expect that your host family will take any opportunity to spend time outside, including hiking, hanging out in public parks, camping, fishing, and boating. There are also lots of outdoor music festivals to go to!See where past AFSers have lived
Most Australians regardless of age tend to be friendly and outgoing. At school you’ll have the chance to make lots of new friends and in your spare time you’ll have no shortage of fun and exciting activities to choose from. Teenagers in Australia often spend a lot of their time playing sports, such as soccer, rugby, and cricket. Netball, which is similar to basketball, is very popular among girls.
A lot of Australian food is similar to food from the United Kingdom, such as meat pies and fish and chips. But there is also a heavy Asian influence and recently there has been a renewed interest in “bushfoods,” or foods traditionally eaten by the aboriginal community. Other popular dishes include steak, lamb chops, sausages, seafood, and pasta.
Education is taken seriously in Australia and its schools are rated highly on an international level. You can expect to attend either a private or public school. The school day runs from 8:45 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. You’ll likely be able to choose your electives but some classes are required, such as English and physical education. As in most places around the world, school uniforms are required.
"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 feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.