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Australia Program

Overview

Each year during the spring semester, students have the opportunity to study in Byron Bay, Australia, and Bali, Indonesia, where they can explore the dynamic relationships between people and their environments from multiple disciplinary perspectives and by engaging with different ways of knowing. Through seminars, excursions, field trips, an Aboriginal bush camp and independent travel, students learn about decolonization, Indigenous peoples and philosophies, natural and cultural history, ethics, ecological diversity, environmental protection and sustainability, social and ecological entrepreneurship, and the crucial relationship between social justice and environmental justice. During organized field trips, students visit national parks, hike in rainforests, snorkel in marine parks, swim under waterfalls and camp with Indigenous people on their lands. Overall, the interdisciplinary program is characterized by a finely tuned balance between exciting experiential learning and rigorous academics.

Location

The Australia Program is based in Byron Bay, a small South Pacific beachside community located approximately 100 miles south of Brisbane, the nearest international airport, and 500 miles north of Sydney, on the east coast of Australia. Cavenbah (Byron Bay’s Aboriginal name) is located on the lands of the Arakwal people, part of the Bundjalung nation, and has been a place to meet, exchange and learn for thousands of years. Its beautiful beaches give way to a hinterland of green rolling hills and rainforests, with the remnant of an ancient shield volcano mountain, Wollumbin (Mt. Warning), as a landmark peak for the area. Byron Bay is well-­‐known for its year-­‐round beach and surf culture, casual alternative lifestyle and focus on healthy living. It has attracted an increasing number of international visitors in the past two decades because of its many world-­‐class festivals, including the Byron Bay Film Festival, the East Coast Blues and Roots Music Festival, the Boomerang Festival and the Byron Bay Writers Festival. Outside of these festivals, too, Byron Bay has a thriving cultural, music and nightlife scene. Using public transport, walking and riding bicycles are the easiest way to get around town. In addition to Byron and its region, more than two weeks of the semester will be spent on the tropical island of Bali, Indonesia, predominantly in Ubud and rural areas in the north of the island. This unique and culturally rich island will provide a distinct perspective and point of comparison for the key global issues students are learning about.