Queensland is the second largest state in Australia and is located on the eastern coast. This part of the country is home to incredible ecological and geographic diversity, including the arid, sparsely populated bush (outback) to the west, the hills and mountains of the Great Dividing Range, subtropical and tropical rainforests, and the Great Barrier Reef to the east.
Brisbane, the capital, is Australia’s third largest city with a population of about 1.4 million yet maintains a “small town” feel. With its tropical climate, numerous gardens and parks, and accessible location, it offers many attractions for visitors.
About the Program
The Queensland program is based at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia’s largest university, and is organized in coordination with The School of Biological Sciences. Integrating field and lecture components, the program focuses on the marine and terrestrial ecology of eastern Australia and includes extended excursions that highlight the variety of ecosystems found in this region.
All students participating in the program will be required to take four courses:
The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia (1 credit)
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 (1 credit)
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 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 (1 credit)
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.
Food, Culture, and the Land in Australia (1 credit)
This interdisciplinary course will bring biology and environmental studies into conversation with the history and culture of Australia through one of any human society’s most defining aspects: food. Australia offers an especially instructive laboratory to explore the effects of human culinary choices on the land. Before the arrival of European settlers aborigines subsisted on what the land offered naturally. What did they eat and drink? What rituals, ceremonies, and arts were associated with their dining practices? Settlers brought with them new tastes, alien plants and animals, and new methods that have had a dramatic impact on the land and culture. We will explore this impact and, using literature, films, and artworks that focus on the role of food in contemporary Australian society, students will connect their environmental and biological studies with the world that they temporarily inhabit as visitors during their term abroad.
Visits and research projects related to farms, vineyards, local markets, supermarkets, community gardens, and restaurants will help students understand not only how the food that Australians eat today moves from field and farm to table, but also the cultural influences and choices that determine that path.
The Queensland program will be particularly appropriate for students intending to major or minor in the natural sciences, especially biology and environmental studies.
This program is open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5 It is expected that students will have successfully completed an introductory lab-based course in Biology. Students must also have successfully completed EITHER one intermediate Biology course OR one introductory lab-based course in another natural science (or receive permission from the faculty directors). Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. Students must also be cleared for participation by their physician for this physically-demanding program.
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.
A key feature of the program is a rigorous schedule of multi-day excursions to conduct field work at four sites in Australia: 1) North Stradbroke Island is a sand island in Moreton Bay about 2 hours from Brisbane
http://www.uq.edu.au/moreton-bay-research-station; 2) Lamington National Park is a subtropical rainforest three hours from Brisbane http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lamington/; 3) Heron Island Research Station is situated on the southern Great Barrier Reef http://www.uq.edu.au/heron-island-research-station/ and 4) Girraween National Park, in the Tablelands area on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, is a drier region with massive granite outcrops, balancing boulders, diverse flora and fauna, and Aborginal origins http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/girraween/index.html. Other site visits in and around Brisbane will be arranged.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room and board fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, health insurance, housing, meals, and program-related activities and excursions. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, and independent travel).
We estimate airfare for this program at $1900-$2000 from the East Coast and books at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1500. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be selected to be considered for admission to this program.
This program is offered every Fall semester.
All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and will be in October (for Fall programs) and March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
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