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A land that exudes contrasts, Australia is sometimes called the ‘Island continent’ as it is considered both the world’s smallest continent and largest island. It is also known for housing some of the world’s most fascinating and dangerous creatures, its unique geographical history in helping it to become one of the world’s megadiverse nations, and possessing very high rates of endemic flora and fauna and the most reptile species on the planet.
Unlike its flora and fauna, almost 30% of Australia’s current population was born overseas. While most immigrants come from nearby New Zealand, the highest jumps in region of origin have recently been from Asia and the Middle East. It is also the 3rd most popular destination for international students.
It seems the island nation has successfully tapped into this wealth of multiculturalism to its economic benefit too: in 2017, it broke the global record for economic growth, going 26 years without a recession, after being the only advanced economy to avoid one during the so-called Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Websites for flat hunting abound but newspapers are still a viable option too, publishing real estate features on at least one weekday, Saturdays and Sundays. Rentals can go through both private landlords and agencies. Whether a real estate agent is required may depend on your situation or location, but they are often recommended to make the process easier as it can be quite cumbersome to look through the myriad options available in Australia’s big cities and effectively discard those that don’t meet your needs.
Because Australia’s population is so urban-centric, many people live in apartments or condominiums in cities, but a common dream is to have a house with a yard and space for a good barbecue with friends and family, a cherished Australian tradition.
Public and private education is offered throughout Australia, and international schools are primarily located in and around its major cities. International school curricula vary greatly, ranging from Australian to International Baccalaureate to those of other countries including Japan, U. S., Germany and France. Full and partial scholarships and other forms of financial aid are often available.
Primary school goes from around ages 6 to 13. In Australia, secondary schools are either called high schools or secondary colleges, and go ages 13 to 15-17 depending on the location.
You should contact the school of your choice directly regarding enrolment, recognised qualifications and the possibility of fees for international students, language needs or special needs.
Australia is extremely multicultural with influences from native civilizations, British colonisation, and immigration from Asia. English is Australia’s national language, but with 28% of the population born overseas, many others are also spoken, over 300, in fact.
The Australian people have been described as optimistic and casual, and most live in coastal cities, while desert takes up most of the land mass’s centre. You can surf, explore the outback and experience the unique indigenous cultures or enjoy a barbecue in a park.
Australia has a national 37-hour work week, although overtime is somewhat common. Shop hours vary according to state regulations, shop owner discretion and bank holidays. There are seven at the national level, including common Christian holidays, but also Australia Day, which celebrates the nation’s founding, and Anzac Day, which commemorates all Australian and New Zealand armed forces who lost their lives in battle.
Australian cuisine features native seafood and flora, barbecues, mutton/lamb, and Chinese food, among many others. Wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage, and the drinking age is 18, with identification required to purchase it. In restaurants, tipping is optional.
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