When most people think of Australia, the first thing that comes to mind is something nature-related. Australia evokes images of animals like kangaroos, dingos, crocodiles, and koalas, and activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking through the outback, and playing boomerang. From the rain forests to the desert-like outback to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia presents nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts with a lot to explore. On the more scientific end of the spectrum, Australia's biodiversity beckons to students in fields like zoology, marine biology, ecology, and conservation.
Another "gem" of Australia's nature also lures students to the nation's shores. A place called Coober Pedy in the southern part of the country is known as the opal capital of the world. Opals are a rare and precious gemstone, and they go for hefty prices in the international market. Australia produces 99% of the world's black opals and 95% of the precious opals. Australia also "glitters" with another natural wonder: gold. In fact, Kalgoorlie in Western Australia proves to be the country's largest producer of the sunny substance. Students of geology, gemology, and jewelry making alike will find plenty to study in the rocks and caverns of Australia.
A great climate, natural splendors, and alternative sports aren't the only thing Australia has to offer. Anthropology, linguistics, and history students flock to Australia to research the country's unique aboriginal cultures, languages, and practices. As the original native inhabitants of the island, Aborigines now number 300,000 and represent 1.7% of the population. Ongoing efforts are being made to bring the government's attention to the rights and concerns of these tribal groups. Students interested in law, human rights, or bilingual education may also be interested in learning about policy regarding aborigines in Australia. Other forms of Australia's culture can be enjoyed in discovering aboriginal art, visiting Sydney's world famous performing arts center known as the opera house, and exploring country-wide museums.
Australia is the world's sixth largest country and follows a Western capitalistic tradition, making its economic strength comparable to that of dominant Western European nations. In the business world, Australia supports Pacific Rim business as the main connecting market to the major Asian economies. Students interested in working for Pacific Rim companies will gain valuable knowledge about these increasingly important markets. On the agricultural business scale, Australia produces 70% of the world's wool and remains the world's largest exporter of beef. The Australian Stock Exchange allows students interested in brokerage and trading the opportunity to understand the critical global role Australia possesses in the business world.