December 2009 issue

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Queensland’s adventure

Home to the Great Barrier Reef, world class surf beaches, vast rainforests and the wild Australian outback, Queensland offers students an adventure playground in which to live and learn the English language. Gillian Evans reports.

Dubbed the Sunshine State, Queensland has it all: a wonderful year-round climate, great beaches, stunning scenery, lively cities, and a welcoming and laid-back population. All this, according to Joanna Gao at Pacific Language School in Surfers Paradise, makes Queensland the ultimate study and holiday destination.

For language travel students there is also plenty of choice of schools. “Queensland is branded as the ‘smart state’ and the Gold Coast certainly lives up to this reputation, boasting the most universities per head of population than any other place in Australia,” claims Sara Snart, Marketing Officer at Geos Queensland College of English Gold Coast. “There are also numerous private training colleges and vocational education institutions to choose from.”

Another advantage of studying in Queensland is the cost of living, which according to Elaine Eager, College Director of Gold Coast Language Schools (GLS) in Southport, is less than in many other Australian states. And when it comes to free-time activities, students are spoilt for choice. As Dolly del Rosario at Cairns Language Centre, Eurocentres Cairns and Cairns Business College, asserts, “The beautiful surroundings provide a wide choice of adventure activities and sports.”

Most language schools have an exciting activities list, and advise students of the many nearby activities available to them. David Hurford of Port Douglas ELC, says, “There is a wide range of after-school activities on offer in the area, such as tropical safari, Daintree river cruise, wildlife habitat, crocodile farm, hot air balloon, white-water rafting, water sports at Four Mile Beach, and many more.” Conscious of the tight budget many students are on, he adds, “Some activities are free, such as sunset sailing to Low Isles organised by the local Yacht Club every Wednesday afternoon.”
GLS in Southport has a tour desk in the college where students benefit from wholesale prices on tours and attractions all over Australia. In addition, Eager says, “GLS offers a lot of different weekend and evening activities, which give every student the possibility to try something new, from hip hop dancing to chalk art, indigenous painting to coffee making. We try and incorporate unique experiences into the students’ activity timetables.”

These unique experiences can sometimes be found right on the student’s doorstep. Hurford recounts a story about one of their students who was sitting on the host family’s patio, which overlooked a lake, and saw a crocodile languishing in the sun. According to the host family, this crocodile, which they affectionately called Larry, was a frequent visitor to that particular spot on the lake.

Situated in far north Queensland, Port Douglas itself is a small town ideally positioned for a true adventure holiday experience. “Our students appreciate the intimate atmosphere of the local events and opportunity to experience life in the outback and its great outdoors,” relates Hurford. “Among those who go to far north Queensland are the most adventurous people looking for places off the beaten track.”

Just 70 kilometres south of Port Douglas is Cairns, known as the “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef”. According to Sheryl Jackson at Kaplan Aspect New Zealand & Australia, students who study in Cairns have the chance to “explore a true tropical paradise”. Aside from the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, Cairns is also a good place from which to explore the famous Australian Outback. “Often referred to as the Gulf Savannah, students have the chance to experience the dusty red earth and soaring temperatures that Australia is renowned for,” recounts Jackson. “With only a few settlements throughout the landscape, although the sheer expanse can be daunting to a city-dweller, the splendour of the mountains, wildlife, plains and wide-open skies are a photographer’s dream.”

Cinta Grimaitre, Marketing Manager at ACE in Cairns, says there is also plenty to do in the city itself, from beach barbecues to a trip to the Starry Night Theatre in the Flecker Botanic Gardens, which hosts a monthly open air cinema. “All along the Esplanade and throughout the city centre, Cairns’ tropical climate makes for a vibrant atmosphere after dark,” continues Grimaitre. “The Wool Shed Saloon Bar in Cairns is a popular backpackers bar and its famous AUS$10 meal deal is very popular with the students.”

Just south of Cairns is Townsville, ideally situated for visiting the tropical islands off the coast. It is also, according to Phil Oakley, Manager – International Business at the Barrier Reef Institute of Tafe in Townsville, the sporting capital of Australia. “With only 170,000 people, we have five teams in a variety of national sporting codes,” he says.

Sandwiched between the popular tourist destinations of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, Brisbane is perfect for those wishing to explore the wonderful coastal areas of southern Queensland. But the city also has its own attractions, including historic architecture, a thriving cultural scene and a relaxed lifestyle. According to Grimaitre, students enjoy the South Bank’s sandy beach and lagoons and Brisbane’s weekend markets. Gao at Pacific Language School adds that in Moreton Bay, you can fish, feed wild dolphins and toboggan down the world’s tallest sand dunes.

What’s more, even state capital Brisbane does not have to be expensive. Mark Bailey at Embassy Queensland says, “The central city area has a huge array of restaurants ranging from cheap noodle bars or sushi shops through to spectacular riverside fine dining.”

South of Brisbane is the Gold Coast, widely regarded as the tourism capital of Australia and famous for its surfing beaches. But there is much more to Gold Coast than its 50 kilometre-coastline, as Snart points out. “Nestled to the west of the city centre is ‘the green behind the Gold’,” she says. “This pristine area of the Gold Coast is scattered with rainforests, waterfalls, lookouts and walking trails. It’s a magnificent area, popular with locals and tourists alike, wanting a break from the busy coastal strip.” Gold Coast city is made up of several smaller suburbs, which fringe the Gold Coast, from Coolangatta in the south, to Southport and Runaway Bay to the north. But Surfers Paradise is the most famous suburb.

“There are several unusual attractions that are unique to the Gold Coast,” asserts Snart. “The Minus 5 Bar in Surfers Paradise is one of the most unusual attractions tourists would expect to see here on the Gold Coast. The bar is made entirely of ice including the walls, floors, chairs, sculptures and even the glasses. It’s a stark contrast from the year-round warm temperatures the Gold Coast is famous for, and a popular escape from the summer heat for visitors!”

Agent viewpoint

“Our numbers even out between Brisbane, Noosa and Cairns. Our students usually choose Brisbane if they want to be in a cosmopolitan city while Noosa attracts those who surf or want to learn how. Cairns is mainly choosen for its tropical climate. A must-see for every student is the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island. Students are surprised by the wonderful beaches, the friendliness of the Queenslanders and how easy it is to travel around.”
Nizar Saade, Linguista Sprachaufenthalte, Switzerland
“We promote Gold Coast Language School for students who wish to study for a period less than three months... [They] travel on a visitors’ visa and enjoy the beaches the most, and are surprised by the scenic beauty of the place. People are friendly and they like the food as Halal food is easily available.“
Elizabeth Ipe, Australian Agency for Education & Training, Oman

“Brisbane and Gold Coast are the most popular destinations for our students. I like to send them to small schools, where they can ‘taste’ the real Australian lifestyle. The climate and job opportunities in Brisbane, and the beach and surf on the Gold Coast, are the main draws. Students love to check the surf contest in February, go to parties, Byron Bay for New Year’s Eve, visit the Great Barrier Reef or just relax in Noosa beach. They have no idea how beautiful this area is until they get there.” 
Mauricio Pucci, Information Planet, Australia

“Most of our students study in Gold Coast and Brisbane. They are most surprised by the huge land area, sometimes very slow Internet, quiet streets at night and lots of stars in the night sky.”
Helina Park, Parker and Steel Education, Korea

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
MEI Ireland  
IALC International  

Alphe Conferences  
IALC International  


Alphe Conferences  
College Bound
Student Marketing  

Malta Tourism
      and Training
      Trade Queensland  

Twin Group  
      (Ireland, England,

English Australia  
Embassy CES  
      and Training
      Trade Queensland  

College Platon  
Elmwood School  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
Richmond School
      District #38  

IH Xi'an
Mandarin House

ABC Languages  
      (England, Ireland,
      USA, Cyprus,
Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
IALC International  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand,South Africa,
      UK, USA)
LAL Language
      and Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
Study Group  
       (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group (
      Ireland, England,
Queen Ethelburga's
SUL Language
University of Essex -

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

MEI Ireland  

Kai Japanese
      Language School  

      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism

Dominion English

Holme Park  

Malaga Si  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,

Inlingua Language
NYC Language
University of
      Nebraska - Lincoln  
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)  

Celtic School  

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