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Australian Environment, Wildlife and Conservation Summer Program
Evolving over millions of years of geographic isolation, Australia has an array of geographical and natural features that can’t be found anywhere else. Travel across Australia during a unique three-week summer study abroad program that takes students to some of the most naturally stunning and ecologically important destinations in the country. Over the past 23 years, the program has become one of the country’s longest continuously running summer study abroad programs offering an unparalleled opportunity for students to receive a first-hand introduction to Australia’s environment and wildlife through the eyes of local experts contextualized within the global ecological crisis. Discover the country’s most incredible sites, including Gondwana, the Blue Mountains, Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest, while gaining hands-on experience in practical application of biological science and environmental management.
Learn from leading expert Australian faculty as well as environmentally-minded guest speakers in this well-established program that's run for more than two decades
Traverse the country staying in some of Australia’s top destinations including Byron Bay, Sydney and Cairns by the Great Barrier Reef
Visit five of Australia’s World Heritage Listed sites - the Great Barrier Reef, Gondwana Rainforest, Wet Tropics of Queensland, Greater Blue Mountains and Sydney Opera House
Develop an appreciation of Aboriginal cultural links to the Australian landscape and frameworks for Aboriginal involvement in protected area management
Hike your way through the stunning landscape of the Blue Mountains - Australia’s most visited national park where you'll be greeted with an Indigenous Welcome Ceremony - as well as Mossman Gorge following Aboriginal guides
Get up close and personal with animals at the Native Mammal Breeding Centre in the Blue Mountains
Make the most of traveling not only with TEAN support staff, but also university faculty from both the U.S. and Australia for continued guidance and expert instruction throughout the program
About the course
Australian Environment, Wildlife and Conservation
From its rainforests to coastlines, coral reefs to arid interior landscapes, Australia offers a diverse range of physical, as well as cultural, landscapes and ecosystems to explore. This traveling summer program gives students the opportunity to experience and engage in field research in some of the country’s most unique and significant environments including the Gondwana and Blue Mountains World Heritage Areas, the Great Barrier Reef and more. Led by instructors who are experts in the field of conservation management, participants benefit from experiencing the continent under their careful and enthusiastic guidance. The course is an introductory-level science course and assumes no (or very little) previous university-level biological science experience, however students studying biology will certainly have the opportunity to expand on their knowledge by participating in the program.
Read this blog post by the program’s Faculty, Dr. Rosalie Chapple, for further insight into the course.
Dr Rosalie Chapple
The fastest walker in the Southern Hemisphere, Dr. Rosalie Chapple is a lecturer within the Institute of Environmental Studies (Faculty of Science, UNSW) and has been involved in wildlife and biodiversity conservation for more than twenty-five years. Her current research interests reflect her lifelong passion for animals including conservation of quolls and dingoes, and management of introduced fauna such as wild horses. Her excitement for wildlife and nature are apparent as you witness her in her part-time home and favorite stomping grounds, the Blue Mountains, where she also cofounded the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute. During your program, you’ll enjoy bush walks with Rosalie where you’ll be able to quietly observe nature at its finest and perhaps engage in a little yoga or meditation in conjunction with fantastic experiential learning.
Mr. Brad Nesbitt has worked in conservation and natural resource management for more than 25 years with extensive experience in national park and wildlife management, ecological research and survey, and cross-cultural land management with indigenous communities. The owner of two dingoes (dingoes that work with him on some research and control programs!), Brad has a great interest in retaining native top order predators in ecological systems. He currently resides in Coffs Harbour and works as a natural and cultural resource management consultant with the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service on invasive animal control including wild horse control, European fox control, dingo and threatened shorebird conservation and management. Take some time to get to know Brad and learn more about his adventures in off-road motorbike riding. When he’s not riding 8500km around Australia on an epic ride, you may find him taking a gander at blacksmithing, bushwalking or out scuba diving.
Dr. Rosalie Chapel and Brad Nesbitt join TEAN from the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute.
Transcript & Credits
Upon completion of the course you will be issued with an Elmhurst College academic transcript. The course is worth 3 U.S. credits. The course consists of 69 hours of class contact time over three weeks comprising field trips, lectures and presentations.
Elmhurst College, located in suburban Chicago, is accredited by the Department of Education of the State of Illinois, and by: The Higher Learning Commission, A Member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Moving from the popular beaches of Byron Bay to the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef and everything in between, TEAN’s Australian Environment, Wildlife and Conservation program is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
The program commences in laidback Byron Bay where water, sand and sun collide. Here you’ll become familiar with your course material, instructors and fellow students while enjoying an included kayak trip with dolphins, a visit to Mt. Nardi in the Nightcap National Park, and optional activities like snorkeling or horseback riding.
Sydney – Blue Mountains
From Byron Bay, the program journeys to Sydney. Along with classes, students will embark on three different field trips including an excursion to the Blue Mountains, Australia’s most visited World Heritage-listed national park.
Cairns – Great Barrier Reef
After Sydney, the course will move to the tropical far north in Australia’s adventure capital of Cairns. Stay in the Daintree Rainforest, the only place in the world where reef meets rainforest, spend time studying in the field, and discover the Great Barrier Reef. Along with several guided excursions, you’ll also have two full free days to explore Cairns on your own (white water rafting, anyone?). Though it will be hard to say goodbye, the program concludes in Cairns with exams and a fun farewell dinner.
- 2.5 GPA
- Currently enrolled at an approved degree-granting institution of higher education.
Students will be housed in a variety of accommodation styles when travelling, including shared budget-style accommodation and apartments.
International air travel and flights within Australia is organized through Qantas via our partner, STA Travel. Upon application participants will be provided complete airfare and booking details.
Throughout the program, students are joined by local TEAN staff along with U.S.-based TEAN staff who oversee the course and provide 24/7 support. Feel free to come to them with any questions or concerns you may have and make sure to ask them about what to do or where to go during your travels – they have plenty of insider recommendations!
Dates, Fees & Inclusions
TEAN has a rolling admissions process. We recommend submitting your application anytime from January for Summer applications. Earlier applications will be accepted. Late applications may be considered. Contact TEAN if the application deadline has passed.
|Early Application Deadline||Feb 1|
|Application Deadline||Apr 1|
|Depart USA||Jun 22|
|Arrive in Australia||Jun 24|
|Byron Bay||Jun 24||Jun 30|
|Sydney||Jul 1||Jul 2|
|Blue Mountains||Jul 3||Jul 5|
|Daintree Rainforest||Jul 7||Jul 10|
|Cairns||Jul 11||Jul 14|
|Program Ends||Jul 15|
Early Bird Special
Must apply online, submit your transcripts and pay the $500 program deposit before February 1, 2018
- Tuition (3-credits on an Elmhurst College transcript)
- All accommodation
- Airport transfers and all course-related ground transport
- Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
- TEAN Orientation upon arrival
- Cultural events and excursions throughout the program, which have previously included sea kayaking in Byron Bay, and a walking tour of Sydney among others
- 28 meals – all breakfasts (21), 3 lunches and 5 dinners
- Numerous field trips that complement the lectures including multiple hikes through wilderness areas and Indigenous protected areas, visiting a native mammal sanctuary and a day on the Great Barrier Reef
- Staff and resources available 24/7 to provide assistance and recommendations during emergencies
- Pre-departure planning sessions and assistance from U.S.-based TEAN staff including pre-departure guidance for students
What’s Not Included
- Airfares (Budget approx $1,850 – 2,200)
- Meals not mentioned above (Budget approx USD$250 – USD$400)
In addition to the current financial aid you receive, you may want to consider applying for one of the TEAN summer scholarship. There will be a $1,000 scholarship available to the top applicant of the Australian Environment, Wildlife and Conservation program. Additionally, there will be one $2,000 scholarship awarded to the top applicant across the following three programs – Australian Environment, Wildlife and Conservation, Sport and Exercise Psychology and Contemporary Issues in Community and Public Health. Refer to our Scholarships information for details.
"The field work in this course allowed for analysis of the natural landscapes and habitats in Australia."
“My time in Australia helped me to better understand the world, Australian environments, and myself."
We Love Australia
Byron Bay Tip
Byron Bay is super laid back, with a motto of “Cheer up, slow down, chill out” you won’t have trouble relaxing here. Apex Park off Bay St. is my favorite spot for an afternoon picnic or early evening snack. If you’re lucky you’ll catch some local musicians playing guitar or symphony of birds overheard singing in the trees. Don’t be afraid to get up and dance – you surely won’t be alone! The beach below is the best spot in town to catch the sunset, and also see the coolest sand art drawing.
Where have you traveled through Asia Pacific?
I have traveled to Australia multiple times on work trips with TEAN. Outside of Australia I’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit Thailand and Singapore. We have a TEAN employee travel incentive program that encourages our team to spend holiday time in the countries where we work.
What has been a favorite memory from your travels?
During a free day while traveling with one of our summer programs in Australia, I swam in the Pacific ocean with sea turtles and tiger sharks. It was the first time I had scuba dived and it was so incredibly beautiful under the water. Our new Australian Orientation Excursion in Cairns includes an introductory dive on the Great Barrier Reef, so I hope all of our students get to share in the kind of experience I had.
What is your favorite travel or study abroad quote and why?
It’s some variation on “Everything you learned while you were abroad doesn’t stay where you studied. You will always have it with you and must apply it to your life back home.” I heard it during an Lessons From Abroad conference re-entry session and it truly was a turning point in getting over my post-program reverse culture shock.
What is your advice for a student who is on the fence about studying abroad?
Get off the fence and get onto a plane! Jokes aside, my advice would be to absolutely do it, against all odds. Traveling in general, but specifically studying abroad, shakes up your world in a way that only leaving your home country can. Your entire foundation of who you think you are and what the world is like is tilted, and you’re able to rebuild it all within completely new parameters. Studying abroad is still the most productive and transformative thing I’ve done.
What one song belongs on your ‘study abroad soundtrack’ and why?
If I have to give a shout out to only one; I’ll say Ribs by Lorde (who is from Auckland, New Zealand by the way). The song is hauntingly nostalgic and contemplative around youth and hanging onto precious memories, particularly from childhood. It’s a nod towards the days of being innocent. Studying abroad is akin to that same sentiment because it is a chance to be innocent, and new again, in your adult life. The experiences you have while studying abroad are invaluable and in the shock of it ending all you want is to get them all back to relive on repeat. The lesson is that you’ll never lose them; like childhood memories, they’ll always be with you.
You must try Gelato Messina. They have a solid lineup of regular flavors, and then about five different specials that will rotate each week. Your life will never be the same after trying this gelato.
Where have you traveled and lived in Asia Pacific?
I lived and worked in Sydney for a year. I also had an internship in Sydney in college. I have also traveled to China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and New Zealand.
Can you share some of the highlights or lessons from your time living abroad?
The biggest lesson I have learned from my time abroad is adaptability. Living in another country can really bring you out of your comfort zone and force you into situations where you have to go with the flow. I learned to embrace the differences of the different cultures I was experiencing rather than wishing I could have the same things/experiences I was used to back home in the U.S. I loved navigating my way around new places, getting lost and discovering the best places that I just stumbled upon because I was up for whatever came my way.
What are your recommendations for top places to check out in Sydney?
There are so many great suburbs that offer a little something different for everyone. I LOVE Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills, specifically their sausage rolls and lemon tart, but everything is amazing. I also recommend enjoying some of the northern beaches as they are much less crowded and gorgeous. People should also do the Manly to Spit Bridge walk as it is stunning!
What do you think makes Singapore an amazing place to study abroad?
Singapore is one of those hidden gems in Southeast Asia. I feel like it is a very misunderstood country as people think everything is just glass highrise buildings and everything is really expensive. There are actually some really great neighborhoods with lots of different cultures represented. Owning a car and buying an apartment are expensive, but for day to day life for a study abroad student, it’s a very affordable study abroad destination.
What is your advice for a student who is on the fence about studying abroad?
I would always tell students who were on the fence about studying abroad that they will never look back and say, I really wish I didn’t spend five months in Australia or wherever they are thinking about going. Studying abroad is such a life-changing experience and even if the first few weeks are tough, you learn so much about yourself and how well you can navigate the unknown.