October 2006 issue

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New South Wales

New South Wales is the home of Sydney, the vibrant city often mistaken as the country's capital, but there is a lot more to discover in this Australian state that has something to suit everyone.

Situated on the east coast of Australia, New South Wales is a region full of beauty and diversity. Scenically, it has exceptionally attractive coastal areas, from Sydney’s famous city beaches to secluded bays and coves; there are towering mountains and the red outback, lush farmlands and World Heritage national parks.

Such diverse areas make the state ideal for a whole range of outdoor activities, as Mark Cooper, Senior Language Instructor at the English Language Centre at the University of New England in Armidale points out. He relates that New South Wales has “tiny towns and large cities with activities ranging from snow-skiing to white-water rafting, from bush walking to bridge climbing, from gold-panning to deep-sea fishing, and from ballooning to surfing”.

Despite its wide range of attractions, New South Wales is most famous for being home to Sydney, and this is initially what attracts most language travellers, says Rob Brown, Head of Strategic Marketing at Australian College of English (ACE) in Sydney. “For so many students, New South Wales is all about Sydney,” he says.

Amanda Henry, Marketing Director of International House (IH) Sydney, elaborates, “Sydney is famous for its fantastic beaches, surf, casual lifestyle and friendly people.” IH Sydney is situated in the famous tourist area of Manly and handily located close to the beach so “students can even go for a surf or swim in their lunch break”, she says. Other well known beaches in Sydney include Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach, which attract young travellers from all over the world and experienced and novice surfers.

Another central Sydney school is La Trobe University’s English language institution, situated in the middle of the city’s modern business district. As a consequence of its position, Andrew Bayley at Australian Campus Network – which conducts courses for La Trobe University Sydney – says that the city itself is the school’s “local campus”. He explains, “We are in walking distance of all public transport, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the state library of New South Wales and also close to Sydney’s famous beaches.”

Sydney’s Opera House is one of the world’s most famous landmarks and students are often surprised to find that attending performances at the Opera House is within their budget. The bars and restaurants that line Sydney’s harbour make the entire pedestrian area here a haven for tourists and locals and from the Circular Quay area, Sydney Ferries operate a number of local services to other points on the city shoreline, such as Manly Beach or Watson’s Bay, home of the famous Doyle’s on the Beach seafood restaurant. Sailing under the Harbour Bridge is a memorable experience, although adventure-seekers may prefer to undertake the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.

The city is also well known for its international cuisine, states Bayley. This means that students from all over the world can easily obtain their own national dishes, as there are “many affordable and accessible international food [outlets] right at their doorsteps in the city”. As well as eating, Henry mentions that students love the parties, nightclubs and bars in the city, while Brown says that Sydney’s markets, especially Paddy’s and Balmain markets, attract many of their students too.

Although Sydney is certainly a magnet for many international students, once they are there, says Brown, “they soon find that there’s a lot more to New South Wales than its state capital”. And you don’t have to travel far out of the city to experience some of the state’s stunning scenery. One of the most popular attractions in New South Wales is the Blue Mountains, just 90 minutes from Sydney, which are so-called because of the bluish tinge the mountain range takes on when viewed at a distance, which is caused by the release of volatile oils from eucalyptus forests.

The Royal National Park, a beautiful coastal national park less than one hour south of Sydney, and the Hunter Valley wine region, a couple of hours north of Sydney, are also popular with students says Gavin Dowling, Principal of the English Language School in Sydney (Elsis).

Most schools include some of these and many more activities in their programme of excursions. At ACE, says Brown, “Favourite activities include South Coast weekend tours to Batemans Bay – where our students go bushwalking and surfing – and dolphin-spotting cruises to Jervis Bay. Our weekend ‘surfing surfaris’ to Seal Rocks are also hugely popular, particularly in summer.” For students who want to experience a first, the school organises an annual ski pilgrimage to Jindabyne, which is popular, “particularly as many of our Latin American students have never before seen snow”, relates Brown.

For those looking for a different, more “alternative” take on life in New South Wales, they should head north to Byron Bay. “I think our students generally are a little more ‘adventurous’ than the average student,” asserts Michael O’Grady, Director at Byron Bay English Language School. “By choosing a location like Byron Bay, they are automatically steering away from the standard well known Australian cities and looking for a new experience. These types of people mix well with similar students from other countries and the locals as well.” Northern New South Wales is becoming increasingly popular among both Australians and international visitors. O’Grady says this is because it “offers an alternative lifestyle to the now crowded cities.” He continues, “Fresh air, clean beaches and an abundance of nature are the prime reason many choose to live here.” Byron Bay is a haven for surfers and attracts many English language students who want to combine English language lessons with surfing. There is plenty going on in Byron Bay itself too. Students are attracted to anywhere where there is people, music and fun, says O’Grady. “Daytime, that’s mostly the beach and parks. At night, there’s plenty of places in Byron Bay – Beach Hotel and probably more popular is the Railway Friendly Bar, with live music 364 days of the year.”

For an inland experience of New South Wales, Armidale is an attractive city, situated almost equidistant between Sydney and Brisbane, about 170 kilometres from the coast. “Armidale has a relaxed but sophisticated lifestyle,” says Cooper at the local university. “The town centre has lots of character with historical buildings and impressive cathedrals, a vibrant theatre, music and café culture and renowned writers and craftspeople.”

Armidale is also well placed for those who like to take advantage of outdoor activities as it is within easy reach of some of the state’s breathtaking national parks, such as Mungo National Park (see inset). Among their students, says Cooper, “Activities like horse riding, rock climbing, trout fishing, cycling and bush walking are all popular. There is also the opportunity to explore great spots in the national parks – towering ancient gorges, walks along the ridge of waterfalls, rich rainforests and amazing rock formations.”

Agent viewpoint

“Usually the students know more about New South Wales because of Sydney. They don’t know a lot about the state itself or what its features are but they have heard something about Sydney. In some cases, they have friends in Sydney so they prefer to go there instead of going elsewhere. We’ve sent students to Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. Sydney still is the most popular choice. Students enjoy the beaches in Sydney - Manly, Bondi, Narabeen – and the Blue Mountains.”Dinah Carvalho, Kangaroo Tours, Brazil

“Sydney is the most popular destination in New South Wales. There are two main reasons why students choose to study there: the first is that it is easy to find jobs – almost 90 per cent of South Americans need to work [while they study]. Also the weather, almost all the countries in South America are warm, so Latin people prefer Sydney over Melbourne [for example]. Another reason is that it is a lively city; Latins like to party and Sydney offers a great nightlife. Students also enjoy the beaches - Bondi Beach is very popular around the world - the night parties, and the local events like Sydney Festival.”
Mauricio Vallejo, Viva Australia, Colombia

“I have lived and worked in Sydney for seven years. I really like the city and can explain about it very well to our students. The most popular towns and cities are Sydney and Byron Bay. Sydney is most popular as the student has the choice of many schools and jobs. Byron Bay has beautiful beaches, good surfing areas and friendly people. Almost all our students are surfers. They want to learn surf and English.”
Tetsuya Yamato, Oceanz, Japan

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.





Education New
       Zealand Trust
English Australia

English Australia

Malta Tourism

InterGlobal Ltd.


Byron Bay English
       Language School
CHEC English
       Language Centre
ELSIS English
       Language School
      in Sydney
English Australia
GEOS Sydney
Global Village
       Sydney (Universal
       English College)
Monash University
Sydney Institute of
University of
University of
       Western Australia

Archer Education
Vancouver English

Mandarin House

Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, England,
       Ireland, Malta,
       New Zealand,
       Scotland, South
       Africa, Spain, USA)
Bell International
       (Malta, UK)
LAL Language and
       Leisure (England,
       Malta, South Africa,
Malvern House
       Language School
Oxford Intensive
       School of English
       (OISE) (Australia,
       England, France,
       Germany, Spain,
Queen Ethelburga's
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)

EICAR- Paris
       International Film
SILC - Séjours
       Linguistiques &
       Culturels (England,
       France, Spain)

Prolog- International
       House Berlin

Emerald Cultural
High Schools
       International (HSI)
       (England, Australia,
       Canada, Ireland,

ISI Language School

EC - English
       Language Centres
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa)
Malta Tourism
NSTS (Head Office)

Education New
       Zealand Trust

Language Link,
Liden & Denz
       Language Centre
Moscow Linguistic

inlingua Singapore


EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       (Australia, Canada,
       China, Ecuador,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy,  Malta, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Scotland, South
       Africa, Spain, USA)
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Italy,
       Japan, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Spain, Switzerland,

American Language
       Center (ALCC)
Hun School of
       Princeton, The
Kaplan Educational
       Centers (Canada,
       England, USA)
Program for
       American Language
       Studies (PALS)
University of
       California Riverside
University of West
Zoni Language