SIT Study Abroad Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology
Examine the ecology and culture of Australia’s two most diverse environments, the Wet Tropics Bioregion and the Great Barrier Reef, and study the ecological patterns, processes, and human influences affecting these bioregions.
- Live for 10 days on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Experience the sights and sounds of the rainforest.
- “Go bush” with Aboriginal elders during a seven-day camping trip in remote bushland.
- Conduct marine, terrestrial, and anthropological fieldwork in a cross-cultural context and learn to read the landscape.
- Observe flora and fauna, and hear lectures in outdoor “classrooms.”
- Spend two weeks with a Cairns family while you attend lectures and learn basic field techniques.
- Study coral reef conservation and management, conduct scientific surveys, and observe marine life on snorkeling excursions among the coral reefs.
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website
for details on program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
Key Topics of Study
- Diverse habitats and environments within the Wet Tropics Bioregion
- Coral reef conservation and management
- Aboriginal perspectives on the environment
- Rainforest ecology and conservation
- Politics of conservation in Australia
- Biophysical relationships between terrestrial and marine ecosystems
Independent Study Project
You will spend the last five weeks of the program conducting original, independent research on a subject of your choice at a location appropriate to your topic. For many students, the independent study project (ISP) is the highlight of their academic experience in Australia. It allows you to take the information you acquire from thematic coursework and field study and use it to design, implement, analyze, and write a scientifically valid research report. Through your own initiative, you will network and collaborate with Australian experts. Many students have made lasting professional connections during their ISP.
Sample ISP topics have included:
- Approaches to controlling crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef
- Reforestation corridors as habitat for native wildlife
- Changes to fish behavior under elevated carbon dioxide levels
- Conservation issues affecting koalas, Tasmanian devils, and tree kangaroos
Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.
SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:
- All educational costs, including educational excursions
- All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
- Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
- Health and accident insurance
- SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
- All scholarships and grants are need-based.
- Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
- The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program.
- Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.
Contact SIT Study Abroad
Natural and Cultural Ecology
Northern Queensland is a world vastly different from the rest of the island continent. The region is home to Australia's tropical lowland rainforest - geologically the oldest in the world - as well as tableland plateaus and the incredible coral and marine life of the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef. Northern Queensland's ecological richness and diversity are due in part to its isolation from the rest of the world for all but the last two centuries. The global significance of this region has been recognized by UNESCO, which listed Queensland's rainforests and reefs as World Heritage sites.
Through this interdisciplinary program, you investigate the ecological patterns and processes of the terrestrial and marine environments of tropical northern Queensland. Lectures, workshops, and field-based activities help you weave together an in-depth understanding of the natural ecology of the region with an appreciation of the historical and contemporary social pressures and natural resource exploitation issues affecting human communities in the region.