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Why all international students should experience the Australian outback

AUSTRALIA is so much more than what you see every day at university or in the city — it’s a country rich in natural treasures and indigenous cultures. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Lucas Sheng and Sylvia Gao explore the reasons why international students should get into the Australian outback. 

Have you ever seen stars shine bright and vibrantly in the night sky? What about the unique landscapes that make up Australia? Or the Aboriginal culture of this country?

While international students predominately live within the city and suburbs, to truly be in Australia is to experience all the natural landscapes and native cultures that it has to offer. In September 2015, an exciting trip to Central Australia was organised by Trinity College where staff and students with a penchant for adventure spent 12 days out in Alice Springs.

Throughout their journey, they got a taste of Aboriginal culture, experienced Australia’s splendid natural surrounds and had fun interacting with the country’s unique animals.

Louise Manitzky, a maths teacher at Trinity College Foundation Studies, was just one of the few staff members who attended the trip. Ms Manitzky had never experienced the Australian outback until this trip and was amazed by how beautiful Australia was.

One of the most impressive things she saw during the trip was Kings Canyon, which she described as “absolutely spectacular”.

Additionally she was impressed by Uluru — one of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks.

“You don’t realise just how big it is until you see it in person,” Ms Manitzky said.

Though Ms Manitzky is a local, her new perspective on the Australian outback may give international students a reason to see and experience what many Australians haven’t — especially when they can afford to make an adventure out of their long semester breaks away from school.

Camping outdoors

One of the best reasons to go camping and explore the Australian outback is to simply experience being away from the city. The wilderness is where you’ll truly see the night sky in all its glory and that can only be achieved by getting thousands of kilometers away from the light pollution of the city.

Ms Manitzky was particularly overwhelmed by the sight of what looked like a million stars in the sky.

“There’s nothing quite like looking up at the night sky in the outback,” she said.

Not to mention when you’re out away from the city, there’s all that fresh air to breathe in!

Wild animals

Sure, you can see animals at the zoo but it’s even better to see them living freely in their natural habitat. On the trip that Ms Manitzky went on, she and her fellow staff members and students at Trinity College saw wild kangaroos, different types of lizards and various species of birds. For the students who normally live in the city, this was a highlight of their trip.

In addition, they were able to interact with baby kangaroos, or joeys, at Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs. Here they got the chance to feed and nurse joeys, something that other internationals could do as well if they braved the Australian outback.

Aboriginal culture 

Australia’s indigenous population have a lot to offer and at Alice Springs, the Aboriginal locals were friendly and engaged students in conversation, even answering questions about themselves and their culture.

While international students might not know much about Aboriginals or Australia’s own history, trips like these offer students a good opportunity to understand a little more about them by being introduced to their lifestyle.

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Travelling away from the city offers new perspectives and chances to see the country that you’re studying in from a completely different light. So often students are shacked up in their home or busy at school that it’s easy to forget that Australia is so much more than what you see at your university or your local cafe.

With plenty of rich natural and cultural experiences to gain, why not consider getting out of your comfort zone next time and explore the bountiful plains of Australia?

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via meld@meldmagazine.com.au.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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