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The Experience

Enjoy new foods, world-class beaches, and maybe even the outback as you attend high school Down Under.

A thriving arts and music scene. More than 10,000 beaches for surfing or volleyball. Meat pies, Vegemite, and coconut raspberry slice. There’s so much that makes up the Australian student experience. What’s not to like? During the school week, you’ll attend classes (in English) for eight hours a day with your Australian peers — and still have plenty of time for intercultural activities with friends and home-cooked meals with your host family.

Sun, sand and surf are a stone’s throw from home.
Bond with local classmates, in school and out.


Upon arriving in Australia with your fellow participants, you will be met by staff in Sydney, where you will begin your three-day orientation. During orientation, you will participate in a series of workshops focusing on a variety of themes — culture, academics, social norms, and current events — all designed to prepare you for your experience in Australia. You’ll also see some of the best that Sydney has to offer!

Participate in a variety of activities in Sydney, and see some of its most famous sites, like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You will also head to the beach to complete a swim safety course designed to give you critical information on how to spend time in the water safely. In addition, you’ll have an opportunity to get to know other students from the United States and around the world before departing for your host community!

“As an American, I obviously didn’t come over here to practice a second language, as exchange students usually tend to do. However, I’ve had such a blast immersing myself in the Aussie culture: learning the slang, trying new foods, and doing activities I’d never done, from snorkeling and surfing on New Year’s Day to sleeping under the stars in the Outback. ... I have had so much fun experiencing the concept of school houses (MacKillop represent!), playing soccer after school, and sharing all my own stories about America.”

- Carmen B., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

The Destination

From the rugged Outback to sandy beaches, Australia offers a variety of rich environments for learning (and fun!).

What’s it like to go to high school on a different continent? Picture this:

Watching the sun set over the Great Dividing Range from the porch of your host family’s house. Discovering a talent for Australian football during a scrimmage with your classmates, or learning about Australia’s literary giants during English class.

From Sydney to Perth, Australia beckons. Regardless of your placement abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the country’s vibrant history, both in class and through your own explorations. You’ll gain a true understanding of what it means to be an Australian through your relationships with new friends and your host family, and gain important life skills needed to be successful in college and beyond.

rugged coastline
Rugged coastline and pristine beaches surround the island continent.
girls taking selfie in cave at beach
Dig deep and explore the Land Down Under.
developed island with city in background
Discover all that Oz has to offer.

The Take-Aways

Local Transcript

You will receive an official record of classes and grades from your local school in Australia. Credit transfer will vary from school to school, country to country, so please consult with your U.S. school guidance counselor.

Global Citizenship

After immersing yourself in unfamiliar practices and customs, you’ll become better equipped to interact with people from other cultures — in school, on the job, or in your personal life. In today’s interconnected global economy, intercultural skills have never been more important.

94% of participants said their intercultural understanding and knowledge improved as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program, while 93% said their experience made them more aware of global issues.

group of students and adults at table
Make international friends for life.

“Spending my junior year of high school as a foreign exchange student in Australia was the best decision I ever made! I made so many amazing new friends in my 10 months going to school and experiencing the daily life of an Australian teenager. My host family is now considered my family. My host sister even came to visit me for two months this summer! The things I learned, the experiences I had, and the friendships I made while Down Under will stay with me the rest of my life!”

– Emily T., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna, currently at Texas A&M University

Independence & Resilience

Come home better prepared to make transitions, take control of new situations, and appreciate challenging experiences for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow.

90% of participants said their level of independence increased as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program.

“I learned things that aren’t taught in schools: what is really important to me, what I want out of life, and how to be more open-minded and confident.”

– Sophie R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

College Readiness

Studying abroad gives you the kinds of life skills that can’t be learned in a classroom — and shows college admissions reps that you’re already one step ahead in terms of initiative, maturity, and independence.

79% of participants said their experience with CIEE helped shape their college applications.

“Everyone is shocked to hear that I studied abroad when I was 15 years old. I’m shocked myself — yet, quite frankly, I’m shocked that it isn’t more common to study abroad in high school. CIEE gave me an opportunity that most people have never heard of. The program transformed me into the person I am today, with impeccable people skills and the ability to adapt to any environment. I owe a huge thanks to the CIEE program. I am proud to be a CIEE alumnus!”
- Alex A., CIEE High School Abroad Alumnus

Passion & Direction

Upon return, you’ll likely have a better sense of what you want to study in college or even pursue as a career.

86% of participants felt their experience with CIEE impacted their educational or career pursuits and goals, while 96% of participants said they regularly use the knowledge and skills they acquired while abroad with CIEE.

Sample Activities & Excursions

Enjoy legendary beaches, explore the Outback, meet your first kangaroo — it’s all there for you in Australia.

Although Australia is the world’s smallest continent, it is roughly the same size as the continental United States. From sandy coastal beaches to multicultural cities to the wilds of the Outback, there’s a lot of terrain to cover and lots to see and do. You’ll have a whole year or semester to discover the country with new CIEE friends, and with your host family. Barbecues, beach picnics, and local festivities are frequently on the social calendar, and group trips to historic landmarks and cultural attractions round out the experience. Don’t forget that the seasons in Australia are opposite of those in the United States!

Australian outback
Take in the stark beauty of the Outback desert.
girl holding koala
Get up close and personal with a native marsupial.

Learn to surf, take up an after-school sport, or just hang out and join a beach volleyball game. Be sure to catch some footy at an authentic Aussie rules football (Australian Football League, or AFL) match!

Every year, we offer discounts on optional packaged excursions (costs and other details are available upon arrival in Sydney). Some exciting upcoming opportunities include:

  • Ayer’s Rock
    Take a 12-day trip to exhilarating locations, such as famous tourist site and natural wonder Ayers Rock, the Northern Territory’s capital city of Darwin, an unforgettable reptile center, and several other fun and educational destinations.
  • The Outback
    A nine-day journey through the Outback, from Adelaide to Alice Springs, features rolling wine country, stark desert, and sacred Aboriginal land. You’ll camp under the stars and experience the unique diversity of Australian landscapes up close and personal!
  • Kangaroo Island
    During this five-day wildlife adventure on South Australia’s pristine Kangaroo Island, you could encounter sea lions, koalas, penguin colonies, and many more species in their natural habitats within the island’s stunning nature reserves.

Meet the Staff

Nina Wineburgh

Enrollment Coordinator

Nina’s passion for international education stems from her own experience living with a host family and attending a local high school in a small town outside of Avignon, France during her sophomore year of high school.

Upon her return to the U.S. with refreshed perspectives and yearning for cross-cultural exploration, Nina continued to pursue her interest in the French language and immersive experiences.

As a French & Francophone studies major in college, she spent a semester studying and living in Nantes, France, and a semester in Rabat, Morocco, on a CIEE-led program. She is thrilled to help facilitate short and long term study abroad programs for high school students with the hope that their experiences are as transformative and inspiring as hers was.

Rachel Babich

Enrollment Coordinator

Rachel has been committed to supporting study abroad since high school, when she traveled through Europe on a cultural exchange program. Returning home with a greater understanding of her world, she sought out opportunities to see new cultures. Through studying in the South of France, living and working in Paris, and traveling to over 25 countries, Rachel has seen firsthand the power of immersive study.

Since then, she has been helping American and international students experience the transformative opportunities study abroad can bring. She is excited to help high school students and their families have a great experience studying with CIEE!

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