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Travel Resources
Australia ​​​​​
Marine Biology & Human/Terrestrial Ecology, University of Queensland

- Fall

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of participation in this program are addressed here, including academic and course information, homestay arrangements, orientation, finances, safety, and more.
Remember to visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for document requirements, deadlines, and additional information.

Read also the UQ Information Handbook 2016 which was emailed to you by the University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences and is posted on the UCEAP Pre-departure Checklist.

While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Specialists advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).

Contact Information

Program Advisor​
Michelle Harvancik
Phone: (805) 893-5926; E-mail: 
Operations Specialist
Jeanie O’Connell
Phone: (805) 893-5926; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Andrea Nuernberger
Phone: (805) 893-2810; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Gildas Hallé
Phone: (805) 893-2761; E-mail:
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583

UCEAP Online

Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Australia page.

Study Center & On-Site Support Abroad

UCEAP programs in Australia are administered from the Study Center in Melbourne* by Program Officer Kay Harmes and through on-site support in Queensland from the faculty and staff of the University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences. Both offices routinely monitor local and international conditions and provide support, counseling, and safety advisories.

Contact Information 

In Queensland -

For Pacific Island Environmental and Community Health/Australia and Solomon Islands:
Justine Kennedy, Project Officer
International Programs
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072
T: +61 (7) 3365 8857 (or 2125)  F: +61 (7)33651655 
Emergency phone: +61 401 671 286 
For Marine Biology and Terrestrial Ecology:
Jemma Schneider
Senior Administrative Officer, International Programs
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Queensland
Queensland 4072, Australia
Office phone
1) calling from the U.S.: 011 61 7 3365 2125 
    calling within Australia: 07 3365 2125
2) calling from the U.S.: 011 61 7 3346 7331 
    calling within Australia: 07 3346 7331
3) Emergency: +61 401 671 28

*In Melbourne -

Ms. Kay Harmes, Program Officer
University of California
Education Abroad Program
Suite 1314, Level 3
530 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
calling from the U.S.: 011 61 3 9621 2718
calling within Australia: 03 9621 2718
After-hours emergency cell phone
calling from the U.S.: 011 61 4 0831 7296
calling within Australia: 04 0831 7296
faxing from the U.S.: 011 61 3 9621 2728
faxing within Australia: 03 9621 2728

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code:..........011 (dial this first to call from the U.S.)
Add Australia country code:......61
Add city code: example, Melbourne is 3, Brisbane is 7. etc.
Cell phone code: .......................4

Approximate Time Difference

Add 17 hours April through October; add 19 hours November through March
Academic Information
Program Overview

University of Queensland

Founded in 1910 as one of the early metropolitan universities in Australia, the University of Queensland is an attractive campus in a bend of the Brisbane River in St. Lucia, fewer than five miles from Brisbane’s central business district. The university comprises faculties of Arts; Business, Economics, and Law; Engineering, Architecture, and Information Technology; Health Sciences; Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Veterinary Science; Science; and Social and Behavioral Sciences. It enrolls more than 45,000 undergraduate students from about 134 countries. This global student body enriches the cultural diversity of campus life and presents opportunities for international networking.
The University of Queensland is known for high-quality coursework; excellent museums (an anthropology museum, an antiquities museum, and an art museum with the largest university collection of Australian art anywhere); and its marine research stations at the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island, and Moreton Bay. It recently was selected by the Rotary Foundation to host one of six new global centers for peace and conflict resolution.

University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences

The University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences helps to coordinate the University of Queensland’s research and teaching focusing on the ocean, coast, estuaries, and reefs, as well as rain forest, outback, and urban environments.
Queensland is home to diverse marine systems, including coral reefs, rocky shores, beaches, salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses. The region’s rich variety of life includes a multitude of invertebrates and fishes, marine turtles, dolphins, dugong, and whales. The teaching and research programs cover the full range of organisms and environments.
The Faculty of Science coordinates activities at Heron Island Research Station, the largest research station on the Great Barrier Reef; Moreton Bay Research Station, a modern facility on North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay; a suite of vessels of various capacities; and an aquaculture facility located a few kilometers from Queensland’s main campus. The Center for Marine Science (CMS), operating within the School of Biological Sciences, integrates marine teaching and research for the disciplines of Anatomical Sciences, Anthropology, Agriculture, Botany, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Earth Sciences, Economics, Geographical Sciences and Planning, Law, Microbiology and Parasitology, Management Studies, Physics, Tourism, and Zoology and Entomology.
Biologists affiliated with the School of Biological Sciences study the nerves, sensory systems, circulatory systems, physiology, reproduction, behavior, and parasites and pathogens of marine vertebrates and invertebrates from the tropics to the Antarctic. Ecologists at the center investigate the pelagic, littoral, and benthic plant and animal communities of Australia’s reefs, coasts, estuaries, rivers, and lakes with particular focus on identifying key ecological processes, environmental impact, and the sustainability of marine and aquatic resources. Specialists in aquaculture assess the economics of culture systems, the detection and treatment of pathogens and parasites, and the optimal rearing conditions for crustaceans, mollusks, fish, and reptiles; they also investigate the properties of potential culture organisms. Economists and management specialists investigate fisheries, econometrics, and the use of coastal lands for tourism, aquaculture, natural systems management, environmental law, conservation, marine rehabilitation, and marine parks. Research on maritime and international law of the sea targets oceans policy, governance conventions, maritime boundaries, crime, and conflict resolution. CMS engineers and physicists deal with fluid dynamics, wave mechanics, coastal and estuarine environmental processes, waste treatment, water quality, biotechnology, the discovery of natural products for commerce, the geology and chemistry of reefs and the seabed, climatology, oceanography, physical geography, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and environmental planning.
The University of Queensland has made a considerable investment in its high-quality marine teaching and research functions, and its marine research facilities meet world-class standards. A wide range of advanced research programs are led by the university’s dynamic academic staff.

Program Description

UCEAP’s Marine Biology and Human and Terrestrial Ecology Program consists of lectures, laboratory studies, and extensive field study at the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef, the Moreton Bay Research Station, Carnarvon Gorge in Australia’s Outback, Lamington National Park rainforests, and Girraween National Park. The program is designed for juniors and seniors with backgrounds in marine biology, ecology, environmental science, oceanography, conservation biology, marine engineering, and related fields.

Assessment and Evaluation

A mix of continuous assessment, reports, and exams are used. An assessment of your participation in field and class activities will be included. For each course, you will complete up to two each of written reports on field-based projects, essays, and 90-minute written tests. The requirements vary by course. The essays are based on a topic of your interest which is finalized following discussion with the course coordinator. The essays may be in-depth examinations of specific topics or integrative approaches to general topics. Resources of the university’s Biological Sciences Library will be available to provide access to relevant literature.

Teaching Staff

The program is taught by academic and research staff of the University of Queensland and its affiliates. All staff have prior experience and a record of excellence in research and undergraduate teaching in their fields.


You will have full library access during the program. There are no recommended textbooks that need to be purchased.


Well before departure, the School of Biological Sciences will forward you information about the online registration form. You must register as they instruct and provide your flight itinerary, medical or dietary requirements, homestay preferences and relevant general information. This information is used to assist with program planning, logistics, and to help determine the best homestay family placement for you.
Academic Culture
Course Information
You will enroll in two courses spanning 12 weeks of instruction and totaling 21 quarter/14 semester UC units. The prominence of each course will alternate throughout the program.

Courses include:

  • Marine Biology (13 quarter/8.7 semester UC units)
  • Human and Terrestrial Ecology (8 quarter/5.3 UC units)

Course Syllabi Samples

The following are course descriptions and lecture topics from past years. Some items may be changed for the current year.

Marine Biology

Course Synopsis (18 days field, 5 research workshops) The Marine Biology course has two fundamental aims; firstly, to give students a comprehensive overview of marine biology in the context of the unique marine life that inhabits the seas surrounding Australia; and secondly, to provide students with a solid grounding in "real world" science through immersion in original research projects in marine biology. The synthesis of Australian marine biology is presented in the context of topics such as the evolution of fish diversity and the ecology of distinctive marine habitats such as seagrass beds, mangroves, rocky and sandy shores, and coral reefs.
A core aspect of the course is the examination of current issues in marine conservation such as algal blooms, the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture, and the nexus between climate change, coral bleaching, and the future of coral reefs. The original research component of the marine biology course emphasises how quantitative science is done and reported in peer-reviewed journals. Students undertake original marine biology research projects during extended field trips to the University of Queensland's marine biology research stations at North Stradbroke Island in Moreton bay, and Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. 
Lecture Topics: Subject to change based upon faculty availability.


  • Australia’s Marine Environment 1: Introduces the geography of the world's oceans, major current patterns, Australia's coastline, nomenclature of marine habitats
  • Australia's marine environments 2: Topics include sediment transport, tide curves and the effects of latitude on biodiversity and productivity
  • Marine plants 1: Photosynthesis, algae, phytoplankton, algal blooms
  • Marine plants 2: Angiosperms (seagrass, saltmarsh, mangroves)
  • Marine Invertebrates I: The protists, sponges and cnidarians
  • Marine Invertebrates II: The worms - Platyhelminthes, Nemertea, Annelida, Sipunculida. The Arthropods - crustaceans.
  • Marine Invertebrates III: More fascinating groups of invertebrates. The Molluscs, the echinoderms and few of the chordates.
  • Fishes I: The teleost fishes: Evolution, form and function
  • Fishes II: A Tail of Two Fishes: Great White Shark vs your Goldfish
  • Fishes III: Australian Fish Diversity in Peril
  • Fishes VII: Nurse Shark and Manta Ray Ecology and Management
  • Freshwater systems: Rivers
  • Freshwater systems: Lakes
  • Turtles in Trouble: Conservation of green sea turtles
  • Marine Parasitology I
  • Marine Parasitology II
  • Sea birds
  • Marine reptiles
  • Marine mammals
  • Australian Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography
  • Sandy Shores: Life in a Mosaic
  • Rocky Intertidal Shores
  • Estuaries and tropical food webs
  • Moreton Bay Estuary to reef, physical environment
  • Moreton Bay - Resources and significance
  • Seagrass services and challenges
  • Moreton Bays Native Invader
  • Life in the Open Oceans
  • Biology of Corals
  • Biogeography of Coral Reefs
  • Darwin's Paradox and symbiosis in reef systems
  • Climate change and coral reefs
  • Threats to coral reefs
  • Coral Reef Resilience
  • Marine Protected areas
  • Benthic microalgae and algal matrices in reef ecology
  • Space wars in Coral Reefs
  • Venoms and Poisons of Reef Organisms
  • Colour, vision and species recognition in Marine systems
  • Grazers in Reef Systems I
  • Grazers in Reef Systems II
  • Predatory Fishes in reef systems
  • Sex in Reef Fish
  • Pacific Ocean Deep Sea Diversity
  • Sustainable aquaculture - how fatal are the 5 fatal flaws?
  • Sustainable aquaculture - mass escape
  • Sustainable aquaculture - chemical soup or chemical free?
  • Sustainable aquaculture - fishing for fish to feed fish - how much for how much?


Field Trips: An eight-day field trip to the Moreton Bay Research Station on North Stradbroke Island gives students a practical introduction to sub-tropical marine biology, with an emphasis on the diversity of habitats found in Moreton Bay such as seagrass beds, mangroves, low and high energy rocky shores, low and high energy beaches, and high latitude coral reef environments. While at MBRS, students undertake fieldwork to address an original research testable hypothesis concerning some aspect of marine biology and ecology in Moreton Bay.
A nine-day field trip to the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef gives students a comprehensive overview of coral reef ecology, with an emphasis on diversity, interactions and symbioses in reef systems. While at Heron Island, students undertake fieldwork to address an original research testable hypothesis concerning some aspect of coral reef ecology. 


Human and Terrestrial Ecology

Course Synopsis (14 days field, 20 lectures). The terrestrial ecology course encourages you to explore the question - "what makes the natural environments of Australia so distinctive and different from those of the rest of the world?" The course provides a complete overview of Australian terrestrial ecology, beginning with the physical factors that define the landscape such as geology, climate, and fire. Australia's biological heritage is explored in terms of the ancient Gondwanan rainforests, and how physical challenges such as low nutrient soils, low and variable rainfall and frequent fire have shaped the evolution of plants that now define quintessentially Australian habitats such as Eucalyptus bushland and the Australian outback. The continent’s unique animal life is surveyed in lectures dedicated to the invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, mammals and birds. The course concludes with a detailed examination of the conservation of Australian biodiversity. It is intended that students will complete the course with a new appreciation of the factors that cause similarities and differences among terrestrial ecosystems in different parts of the globe.
Lecture Topics: (Subject to change based upon faculty availability). 
  • Terra Australis - Welcome to Australia.
  • Sugar from sunlight - An introduction to how plants work.
  • Ozymandias - Australian geology and its ecological significance.
  • Waiting for the rain - Australian climate and its ecological significance.
  • Botany Bay - An overview of the Australian vegetation.
  • The phoenix continent - Fire and the Australian vegetation.
  • The spirit of endurance - The sclerophyll leaf: Eucalypt forest and heathland.
  • The rainforest inheritance - The significance of rainforests in Australia.
  • The ultimate tree - The prehistory of Australian vegetation.
  • The Never Never - Vegetation of the dry Australian inland.
  • The future eaters - The "Big Picture" in Australian ecology?
  • Two sides to every story - Critically evaluating "The Future Eaters".
  • The ecology of bunyips - An overview of Australian zoology.
  • The daisy world problem - The diversity of terrestrial invertebrates in Australia.
  • How Tiddalick was made to laugh - Introduction to Australia's reptiles and amphibians.
  • Blinky Bill’s victory - An introduction to Australia's mammals.
  • The land of parrots - An introduction to Australia's birds.
  • Wonderful things - Australian biodiversity: Its exploitation and conservation.
  • Time and the cycads - A case study in the postgraduate research experience.
  • The Deep Field - An introduction to stargazing and astronomy. 
Grades are usually available at the end of January or the beginning of February. Early release of grades is not possible.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
​There is no option to extend participation to a following term, as this program is only offered in the fall.
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
“The people are immensely likable— cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging.” ― Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet are excellent resources. You can keep up with current events in advance of your arrival by reading Australian newspapers online as well.
You will not find very dramatic differences between Australian culture and U.S. culture, but here are some guidelines to help you adjust:
  • Australians are very proud of their own country, its identity, and its cultural institutions, and they will welcome your interest in and knowledge of them. Knowing the basics of Australian geography, history and politics is an important contribution to engaging with Australians and making friends
  • Australian university students (and foreign students from other countries) enjoy vigorous debate, sometimes about US foreign policy and culture. As a UC student, you need to engage in such debates respectfully and thoughtfully.
  • UQ offers some quick tips to jump start your adjustment to Australian culture at


Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

Official UCEAP Start Date

See the program calendar under the calendar tab on your UCEAP Participants' Page. You can also refer to the detailed program schedule featured in the UQ Information Handbook 2016. You must make your own flight and travel arrangements to arrive in Brisbane for the mandatory orientation program. If departing from the West Coast, be sure to allow two calendar days for the flight. Late arrivals to the program are not approved, so plan your travel well and arrange to arrive no later than the Official Start Date featured on your MBTE program calendar.
The start date of your program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges incurred if you make an adjustment to your travel arrangements.
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
As mentioned in the section above, you will need to book and pay for a flight to Brisbane; there are no pre-arranged group flights associated with the program. Check the calendar tab above the UCEAP Pre-departure Checklist for the program's mandatory Start Date. Arrival on the Start Date and attendance at all orientation sessions are requirements for UCEAP participation. 
Shortly before the program begins, you will receive details from the UQ School of Biological Sciences regarding the transfer service taking you from the airport to your first destination.

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Program Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.

Travel Precautions

Your UCEAP Insurance Plan offers coverage on lost or destroyed property; however, you should assess the Personal Property Benefit provided in the policy and verify that it is adequate for your needs.
When traveling always keep your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money with you. Never put valuables in your checked luggage. Leave extra credit cards at home and carry only what is necessary. Luggage and weight restrictions vary by airline.
Identify each item of luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. To avoid theft, never leave luggage unattended. Do not ask others to carry any items abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines may not allow you to take them and customs abroad may charge you a high duty. This is particularly a concern with electronic goods.
Travel light and pack your belongings in suitcases and backpacks that are small enough to lift and carry.
Travel Documents


You must obtain a tourist visa for this program. The UCEAP Systemwide Office posts instructions for the application process to the Predeparture Checklist located on the UCEAP Participants page.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Students who are granted DACA are strongly encouraged to consult an immigration attorney to evaluate the risks of potentially being unable to re-enter the United States and any impact that participation in UCEAP might have on any deferred action application. If you are undocumented and have not been granted DACA, we strongly encourage you not to leave the country.
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.

Must Have

  • Pants, sweaters, jacket for cold and rainy weather (the temperature can drop below 50ºF)
  • Light clothes for summer months (humid weather, temperatures 70ºF to 105ºF with occasional heavy rainfall)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen—SPF 30 or higher
  • Sunglasses (polarized glasses are highly recommended)
  • Smaller bag or backpack for daytrips (e.g., day bush walks)
  • Sleeping bag (for some field trips)
  • Towel
  • Prescribed medication (enough for the whole trip) and a copy of the prescription to show to customs
  • Spending cash or ATM card (ATMs are widely available)
  • A few extra passport-sized photos

Field Trip Requirements

  • Headlamp
  • Waterproof coat/jacket
  • Long shirts, pants, and socks for forest work
  • Comfortable, enclosed shoes or boots for hiking
  • Mosquito repellent (can also be purchased in Australia)
  • Water bottle
  • Swimsuit
  • Rash guard or old T-shirt for water activities 
  • Reef shoes or old running shoes to wear during fieldwork on the reef
  • Field notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, inexpensive calculator, and ruler
  • If you wear glasses or contact lenses you may need a custom-made diving mask (consult your optometrist
    ophthalmologist); otherwise, standard dive masks are provided along with fins and a wetsuit


  • Bring snorkeling gear if you wish; this can also be provided on the island (most dive or snorkeling equipment can be rented as part of your dive package when you dive with a commercial operator)
  • Open-heel fins (when you go to the marine research stations, only closed-heel snorkeling fins are available from the station. These cause blisters and bleeding after a few days. Open-heel fins are much better for snorkeling, diving or body boarding, but you will need to bring your own)
  • Mobile (cell) phone
  • Laptop
  • Digital camera (with charger)
  • MP3 player or iPod
  • Electrical converter and plug adapters; Australia runs on 240 volts (these can also be purchased in Australia)
  • A few small, lightweight, typically American gifts for your host family

Do not Pack

  • Small electrical appliances such as hair dryers and electric toothbrushes (these cannot be used in Australia)
  • Meat, vegetable, or nut products; Australia has very strict quarantine laws

NOTE: The cost of clothing in Australia is considerably greater than in the U.S. In fact, the cost of living is generally higher overall, so it is best to take a full set of clothes with you. However, keep in mind that you must keep your luggage within the airline's stated weight restrictions.


Australia’s climate ranges from tropical to cool temperate. Seasons are reversed: summer begins in December and winter begins in June.
This program begins at the end of the Australian winter, just after the spring equinox (a time of rapid climatic change and variable weather patterns). Although uncommon in Brisbane, it is possible that temperatures might approach freezing some nights. Otherwise, the weather in Brisbane at this time is very much like that of coastal California—cool evenings and warm, dry days. As the program moves toward late spring and early summer, the climate shifts; a rise in humidity and temperature is accompanied by evening thunderstorms. The climate at Heron Island, which you will visit at the end of the program, will certainly be warm and humid. Pack serious sun protection; you will be coming from milder conditions in California to Australia’s fierce sun. Rainfall in the area is unpredictable; it’s best to be prepared for rainy weather.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protections for your property, as in spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP's travel insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage.  UCEAP strongly recommends you to examine the details of the UCEAP travel insurance benefits and to purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, MP3 players, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss. 
You may decide to purchase additional coverage, especially for high-value electronics (e.g., computer, tablets, camera, etc.). If you decide to do so, purchase supplemental coverage before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. You can safeguard your belongings from damage or theft by locking your room and securing money, travelers checks, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Return Transportation
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date.
The estimated airfare amount in the UCEAP Program Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.


  • Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
  • Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.

Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:

If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions.
Handling Money Abroad
You can change $50 to $100 into Australian currency at a U.S. bank before you leave (this can take weeks), or you can plan to access an ATM at the airport when you land. International airports offer money exchange services, but ATMs are the most convenient and economical way to obtain Australian dollars.
Australian currency is made of colorful plastic; bills of different denominations are different sizes. There are no pennies; amounts are rounded up or down automatically to the nearest 5 cents.

Financial Aid Students

You should be knowledgeable about your program fees and understand how your financial aid will be applied toward these fees. Disbursements are issued only after you accept and approve the financial aid package and pay the required fees.


You can open a savings or checking account in Australia. Banks located on campus are ANZ and Commonwealth Bank. They are usually open from 9 or 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and until 5 p.m. on Fridays. Banks are closed on weekends and bank holidays.
Australian checking accounts are more costly than those in the U.S. and are based largely around online bill paying. Paper checks are not widely used. To open an Australian bank account, you will need to comply with a prescribed point system of valid identification, the so-called “100 points”. This means you will need to present the bank with a complete set of ID documents including passport, driver's license, and credit cards.

Credit Cards

Many stores and restaurants honor major credit cards, particularly Visa and MasterCard, but small stores and restaurants will only accept cash. Australians often use a PIN on credit cards, rather than signing. U.S. credit and debit cards usually charge a 1–3 percent exchange fee for international purchases, so check with your bank for details and terms of use.

ATM Card

UCEAP returnees report that the most convenient way to obtain cash is through an ATM. Check on the fees imposed by your bank for using the card internationally and on the fees imposed by the Australian ATM. If you use an ATM not operated by your bank, ATM fees of AUD$2 will usually be charged for each transaction.
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
When on the campus, you will have 24/7 access to computers in the library and in learning centers at UQ. Wireless Internet is available at hot spots around campus as well as at your lecture venue. If you choose to bring your own laptop, do not forget the power supply, a USB stick, and plug adapter.
As you will be assigned a homestay, it is important to be aware that not all Australian households have Internet access and many that do have connections do not have broadband. In Australia, Internet service providers charge by download quotas so it is unlikely you will be in a home where you have unlimited broadband or wireless access. Many households only have one phone line and, if they use dial-up Internet, your access will be limited; be prepared to negotiate your access. You may be required to pay a monthly contribution. You may prefer to purchase a pre-pay wireless broadband card that can plug into your USB slot. These are very common in Australia.
Take with you (or know how to access) the e-mail addresses of your UC academic advisors, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office while abroad.
Note that you will not always have Internet access on field trips; there will be times when you will be out of contact. Give your family a heads up so they will not be alarmed when they don’t hear from you during these periods.
Most students get cell phones, and there are many different carriers in Australia. It may be cheapest to buy a SIM card in Australia rather than getting set up for global roaming. Check that your phone is not locked, preventing it from accepting a different SIM card.
Mail & Shipments
Mail service within Australia is comparable to other world postal operations, and airmail service to the U.S. is good. Airmail letters to the U.S. arrive in about one to two weeks, while air parcels can take longer. There is no Saturday mail service in Australia.
You can have mail sent to you in care of:
c/o International Programs Office
The School of Biological Sciences
Goddard Building (8)
The University of Queensland
St. Lucia  Queensland 4072
Housing & Meals
You will be assigned to a homestay with an Australian family in Brisbane. The School of Biological Sciences will send you instructions for completing an online homestay questionnaire, which will be used to help place you with an Australian family. Complete the homestay questionnaire carefully to help ensure that you are placed in the most appropriate situation for your lifestyle and preferences.
You may not make alternate housing arrangements; all program participants are accommodated in a homestay.
Australia is a multicultural society, and homestay placements are generally with families of varied cultural backgrounds. Homestays are arranged with local Australian families and, just as with any family, issues sometimes arise that need to be addressed. From the beginning of the stay, communicate openly and honestly with your host family about issues that concern you. Be receptive to the host family’s concerns as well. If you encounter a problem in the homestay that you cannot resolve alone, the local program staff is easily accessible and ready to assist in order to ensure a positive experience for all involved (see Your UCEAP Network in this guide).
Transportation from your homestay to lectures as well as to the group departure point for field trips is at your own expense. Lectures start at 9 a.m. most days, but you should plan to arrive on campus at least 15 minutes prior to the lecture or other activity. If you use public transportation, a "Go Card" (bus pass) will save you money. The staff at UQ will provide you with one to start and you can add funds to it as you go along. Be aware that the commute to campus from your homestay may take up 45 minutes or more. The staff at the Centre will try to assign homestays as close to campus as they can, but Brisbane is a big city and you should be prepared for longer bus rides to and from your homestay when you have classes at UQ.
Homestays provide all meals, including packed lunches. Discuss your needs with your host family upon arrival.
During marine field activities, you will be housed in field stations with full amenities. Terrestrial field activites usually have more limited amenities: tent accommodation and limited showers are the norm; sleeping bags are required.
Except during periods of independent travel, housing is included in the UCEAP fees (see the UCEAP Student Budget located under the Money Matters tab on the UCEAP Participants page).


Restaurants and cafés in Brisbane are plentiful and widely varied in cuisine, ambience, and price range. Many are closed on Mondays. Reservations (bookings) are essential on weekends at the more popular establishments. Vegetarian meals are readily available. Guides to dining out, which are updated frequently, are available at newsstands or bookshops. The Cheap Eats guide series is a good reference; the Urbanspoon app is also useful.
Inexpensive food is usually available in “milk bars” or takeaways. Sandwiches are available at many small shops during lunch. There are also covered markets several days a week where you can purchase produce, meats, and specialty foods. To really make your money go further, however, remember to make the most of the meals provided by your homestay! It's very important to speak up if you feel you are not getting enough food or not getting the right kind of nourishment from your homestay family; let them know of your needs. If you have a conversation with them about this and are still not satisified with the outcome, please tell one of the representatives in the UQ School of Biological Sciences office. 


Tipping is not customary in Australia. Australians tip only for exceptionally good service, not as a rule. In a good restaurant, a customer might tip 10 percent of the bill. Taxi drivers may be tipped, but it is not expected. Tipping barbers or hairdressers is entirely up to the customer. Rounding up to the next dollar is often an adequate tip.
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
You can travel within Australia by air, bus, or rail. Air services are excellent and among the best and safest in the world. Low-cost bus services are available throughout the country. Buses are clean, safe, and punctual, and they are used by Australians for national travel. Trains are fast, clean, and comfortable, but still take considerably longer than flying to your destination. By the time you add meals and other costs to a two-day train trip from Sydney to Cairns, it might be cheaper overall to fly. 
It's wise to book all forms of travel in advance, especially around holidays. School holidays occur periodically throughout the academic year, increasing the demand for transportation and accommodations.
Do not hitchhike. Hitchhiking is dangerous, unpredictable, and illegal in Australia. Never accept a ride from strangers. Instead, use reliable transportation to get to your destination.
Extracurricular Activities
Students with Disabilities
While in Australia, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States.
Students with a disability must take responsibility for their learning and to play an active role in managing needs. The host university will expect you to read and reply to correspondence from your host university, initiate and maintain contact with key teaching and faculty staff to communicate your academic support needs, know how to obtain support. The Australian host university may request more information than what is provided through the UC campus disability letter.  For example, in supporting students with learning disabilities, they may request for test results designed to assess and diagnose LD for an adult in an academic setting.  This process takes place between the student and the host university disability specialist. There is very little support the Australian host university can provide without disclosure.
Many of the downtown areas of Australian cities were built in the 1800s. These cities often have narrow sidewalks crowded with pedestrians and tourists. Generally, most public transit means,  streets, and buildings are accessible. Modern accessibility improvements include ramps, tactile indicators, and audible street crossing indicators. Parks, gardens, stadiums and other public venues often share accessibility information on their websites.
For more information:
Travel Sign-out Form

Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?

You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.

Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.

The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Working Abroad
LGBTIQ Students
For more information,
​There are no laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited.
There are various kinds of international youth travel associations and youth hostel associations in Australia. For information, see the YHA Australia website.
UCEAP Insurance

Know Before you Go

While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy.  Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term. Your UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is does not meet ACA requirements for domestic coverage as required by U.S. law.  Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823.  It is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.  You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance.  Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country).  It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims

ACI at

Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
Excellent public and private medical facilities are available in major cities. Regional health services with good standards are available in rural areas.
University medical services and other suburban medical centers, hospitals, doctors, etc., are readily accessible. The standard costs for a consultation at the campus clinic is AUD$40. If you visit a 24-hour medical center expect to pay around AUD$80 for a consultation. If you visit a doctor or are treated by health care professionals at a clinic, KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS. You will need to submit them with your insurance claim form to be reimbursed.
Australia also has a high level of professional emergency medical services. Ambulance service staffed by certified emergency medical technicians is the standard throughout most of the country. By calling 000, any person can obtain emergency medical assistance throughout most of Australia.
Physical Health
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention. Contact Dr. Ian Tibbetts or Ross Strong at the UQ School of Biological Science, or Kay Harmes at the UCEAP Study Center in Melbourne immediately (see Your UCEAP Network in this guide for contact information). They can help you in a number of ways—from recommending a clinic to helping you with the UCEAP insurance claim process.
Arriving in a new country is a very busy time and there are a lot of changes to go through. There are differences in food, weather and customs to cope with. In this type of situation, with all its stresses, you may find yourself paying less attention than usual to your health.
Existing health problems can also be made worse by the effects of adjusting to unfamiliar food, a different climate and the emotional strains of being away from home. It can be easy to concentrate on your studies and forget about taking care of yourself. Travel health is about prevention and common sense: Being aware of health issues that may arise and taking the appropriate measures to prevent illnesses and injuries when you are travelling not only for your own well-being, but for the people and communities you encounter during your trip.

Know Before you Go

Inform yourself before you travel.  Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care.  Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
Prescription Medications
Prescription Medications

Travelling with medicines or medical devices into Australia

If you require prescription medicine, it is important to travel with adequates amounts so you remain in good health while you are away. Talk to your prescribing doctor in the U.S. well before departure and have a plan.
There are rules about bringing medicines and medical equipment (needles, syringes, etc.) into Australia. Some medicines require permission (personal import license) to be granted by the relevant Australian Government agency before you can legally bring them into Australia. Some medications and/or medical equipment may be brought in through the Australian Traveler's Exemption, as follows:
  • Carry all medicines and/or medical devices in your carry-on luggage to prevent loss (not in checked-in baggage)
  • If it is a prescription medicine, you must have a letter from your treating physician indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and prescription regime. 
  • If your medication contains a prohibited substance, you must have a prescription, and a letter from your treating physician indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and prescription regime.
  • Keep all medicines in their original container displaying your name and dosage requirements.
  • The quantity brought in must not exceed 3 months supply at the maximum dose recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Declare this medication (and show the prescription label with your name/dosage on it and a letter from your prescribing doctor on letterhead) to the Australian Customs Service when you arrive.
For more information contact the following BEFORE departure AND have a plan to have sufficient medication that will last through the end of your program. Australian Customs authorities have the power to detain any medication which they suspect is being illegally exported.
  1. Contact the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration
A pharmacist in Australia will not accept a prescription from an overseas doctor.  If your prescription is lost, you will need to see a local doctor and be re diagnosed to get a similar prescription that a local pharmacy will fill.  Having a letter from your treating physician indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and prescription medication regimen will help the local doctor when considering proper medication regime.
Pharmacies, called chemists in Australia, are reliable and accessible; 24­-hour service is available in most major cities. Chemists are more limited in less populated areas. A written prescription is required for all prescribed medication.
Mental Health
Your mental health is important to us all. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home. Read the Mobility International tips, Ups and Downs of International Travel.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., it is extremely important to discuss your study abroad plans and program details with your doctor. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician well in advance about getting the supply you need for going abroad.  For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at  For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process.
 If you feel that you cannot commit the time, access online, interactive self-help resources designed to support students in Australia, The Desk.  The Desk provides students with information and skills to help you relax, feel energized, and connected during your time in Australia.   
Health Risks

Sun Damage

Australia is exposed to higher levels of utraviolet radiation than almost anywhere in the world. It has a very high skin cancer rate. The sun will feel much more intense than in California. ​It is important, to look and listen for UV Index levels in local weather forecasts. Sun Protection Times vary during the year and across Australia depending on the season. Watch and listen to the Sun Protection Times even on cloudy or partly cloudy days and use a combination of sun protection measures (sun screen-SPF30+, sunglasses, sun protective clothing, etc.). Check the UV index and UV Alerts on the weather page of most Australian daily newspapers.

Be Sun Smart!

  • Use a combination of sun protection measures (e.g., sunscreen-SPF30+, hat, long sleeves) to keep you safe from UV radiation. 
  • Pack sunscreen (SPF 30+, broad spectrum and water resistant protection), a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Pack or purchase a rash guard for protection at the beach (even the lifeguards wear long sleeves in Australia).
  • Remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
For more information, review the Sun Smart campaign by Cancer Council Australia.
Food Allergies
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions while abroad.
Some precautions to take include, include:
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor isx-to-eight weeks before departure to discuss a treatmemnt plan while abroad.
  • Carry the medications you need to prevent an adverse reaction like antihistamines or epinephrine injectors with refills. Pack it in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Your medication must be in its original packaging, with your name.
  • Have a letter from your physician to present to airport security that states your need to have the epinephrine auto injector with you at all times.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance.
  • Tell others about your food allergy.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section
Air Quality
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
Australia is a politically stable country. Serious security problems are not common. There is a general threat from terrorism in Australia. Attacks cannot be ruled out and may be indiscriminate.
Observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions as you would in any other country or at home. There are steps you can take to manage or minimize risk. Stop and think. Be aware of your surroundings. Inform yourself of risks you can encounter while traveling.

Play an active role in protecting your own personal health, safety, and well-being!

​Staying safe in another country is similar to staying safe in a large U.S. city. Understand the potential threats, know which neighborhoods to avoid, and remain vigilant (pay attention to your surroundings; do not walk around while talking on the phone or while listening to music).
If you will be traveling, think about how you are getting to your destination and/or any travel inside a country.  Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.  Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. 
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
  • Assess your surroundings.
  • Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones. 
  • Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter while traveling. 
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking.
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety.  This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other.  Choose your buddy wisely.  The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Putting yourself, fellow students, or the reputation of the program at risk is cause for dismissal from UCEAP.
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Read the UCEAP the Guide to Study Abroad, Safety Chapter  for more information on how to prepare to have a safe experience and access the U.S. Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Crime & Prevention
Most parts of Australia have a low crime rate. Metropolitan areas experience a higher incidence of violent and petty crime. Street crime is relatively rare, but pickpockets and thieves frequent certain districts in each major city.
  • Avoid poorly lit and crime-prone areas, especially at night.
  • Be alert for thieves in some inner-city areas and at deserted public transport depots. Use caution at transport hubs after nightfall. Consider using taxis rather than public transportation at night. There have been some reports of latenight violence, especially at suburban train stations.
  • Use common sense and take personal security precautions the way you would in any major Western country.
  • Along with personal safety behaviors, consider having a good-quality, loud, rescue whistle easily accessible for enhanced security. The loud sound of a self-defense whistle or a personal alarm can cause temporary disorientation and signal for help, giving you the necessary time to get away.
  • Avoid deserted areas late at night.
  • Guard your personal belongings; do not leave property unattended. Be particularly careful with personal possessions and travel documents in major cities and popular tourist destinations.

Police Response

Australian police organizations are well trained and professional. They have well-equipped emergency response teams that can mobilize and respond to any incident with short notice.

Criminal Penalties

While you are abroad, U.S. laws do not apply and your citizenship will not protect you if you break local laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from the U.S. It is important to know what is legal and what is not wherever you are going.
Australian authorities will take action against anyone who imports or is found to be trafficking illegal substances. Prosecution can lead to a lengthy jail sentence and non-Australian nationals are usually deported at the end of their sentence. Deportation may lead to a ban on returning to Australia for several years. Laws, and the penalties for breaking them, can differ from state to state.
Civil Unrest
Although strikes and protests are relatively common in various Australian cities, they rarely turn violent. Environmental and anti-globalization groups are fairly large and influential in Australia. They periodically organize protests in major cities, but these events do not typically cause many problems other than traffic disruptions.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Basic safety on Australian roads is considered to be excellent. Speeding laws are enforced via a system of cameras and officers. Holiday weekends typically see a rise in roadside fatalities, as most Australians drive long distances to popular beach destinations.
Despite the national safety record mentioned above, one of the top causes of death in Australia is when crossing roads. You cannot be cautious enough when crossing, especially because you're not accustomed to the direction of traffic. See more on pedestrian safety below.
Public transportation in Australia is comparable to most Western industrialized countries. As a precaution, always remain alert if you are unfamiliar with the local crime situation. In larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, buses and commuter trains and their stations can be havens for thieves and pickpockets. Keep loose items such as cameras, maps, and purses within a larger and securable carrying bag in front of you. Taxis are safe but occasionally difficult to find during high-demand time periods.
Many deaths have occurred in the Northern Territory where vehicles driven at high rates of speed have skidded and overturned after hitting loose gravel on the shoulder of the road. Do not drive in Australia.

Pedestrian Safety

As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situation. Increase your safety in the road environment by making yourself visible and using safe routes and road crossings where possible.  If there is not a crossing, always cross the road by the shortest and safest route, make sure you can be seen and allow plenty of time to cross. Some main roads have raised medians to help you cross the road in two stages. Only cross at pedestrian lights when the light is green. If you are crossing with a green light and the light changes to flashing red, you must cross to the other side of the road, or the nearest traffic island designated for pedestrians, as quickly and safely as possible.
Traffic operates on the left side of the road, and all vehicles use right-hand drive. Use caution when crossing streets. When crossing roads on foot, make sure you look carefully in all directions.
If you are wearing headphones or talking on your cell phone while crossing the street, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and take extra care to avoid dangerous situations. Crossing a busy street while blasting music into your headphones doesn’t exactly enhance your awareness.
For more information, refer to the Association for Safe International Road Travel.
Beach Safety
Rip currents are the number one hazard on Australian beaches, responsible for at least 21 drownings on average per year. Rip currents often lead to drowning when swimmers attempt to fight the current, swim directly back to the shoreline, become exhausted, and start to panic.
When enjoying Australia’s beaches safely, take the following simple precautions:
  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags, which indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty.
  • Do not swim at unsupervised locations.
  • Read the safety signs; they indicate current and typical hazards for that location.
  • Ask a lifeguard for advice—they are there to provide safety advice and make your experience safe and enjoyable.
  • Always swim with a friend, never alone.
  • Learn how to spot rip currents and avoid them.
  • Never swim after consuming alcohol or drugs; they impair your ability and judgement and put your life at risk.
One of the top causes of death in Australia is drowning. Abide by strict water safety guidelines and pay special attention to the safety section of your on-site orientation.

Australian Wildlife & Marine Life

Australian fauna can be dangerous. From jellyfish off the Great Barrier Reef to crocodiles, sharks, poisonous insects, and snakes, the continent and its waters host wildlife that merit awe and respect in equal doses. Review the Wet Tropics Management Authority visitor information guide for facts on Australian wildlife and marine life. While swimming, take important safety precautions, swim only between the flags where a lifeguard is present, and never swim alone.
Natural Disasters
Australia is prone to seasonal natural disasters including tropical cyclones, flash flooding, dust storms (Outback areas), and bushfires (forest fires common in the summer months from November to February). Tropical cyclone season occurs mainly in Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia. It normally runs from November to April. Refer to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website for updates on weather conditions.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy voluntary departure on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Fire Safety
Know all exits. Practice escape plans. Read the Fire Association Protection Australia fact sheet on 10 Steps to Home Fire Safety. Inform yourself by reading the Fire Safety section in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
  • Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
In case of fire - Dial 000.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the U.S.

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.

If you are abroad:

  • Contact local emergency services first (in Australia call 000) and then contact the Study Center.
  • Carry the local emergency contact information at all times. If you have a health or safety emergency call Kay Harmes at 0408 317 296 after first dialing 000.
  • You should also call your host university international office emergency number. Security at your host university is available 24/7. Because the UCEAP Study Center is in Melbourne, your host university can often provide immediate, local assistance.
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.