The Australia Study Group

Fall 2004

Director: Ellen Percy Kraly

 The University of Wollongong, located on the coast of New South Wales, approximately 50 miles south of Sydney, is the study site for the Australia Study Group.  This study-abroad program is designed for students who have demonstrated a strong affinity for broad-based, interdisciplinary exploration of environmental studies.  The academic offerings and extensive resources of the University of Wollongong, as well as the living and studying opportunities with Australian students, allow study-group participants a unique means to broaden and deepen their understanding of the historical, cultural and biological diversity of Australia.

  The overall goal of this study group experience is to acquaint students with the historical, geographic and environmental processes that have shaped the modern state of Australia.  This experience will immerse students in a foreign culture, exposing them to contrasting ways of thinking about and configuring the world, which will deepen their understanding of their own beliefs and identity.



Although students from any department or program are eligible to participate in the Australia Study Group, preference will be given to individuals with a concentration or minor in Environmental Studies or Geography.  Typically, completion of ENST 200 or ENST 201 and/or two courses in geography, or two courses that comprise the Environmental Studies programs in Biology, Economics, Geography, or Geology is expected.  Preference will also be granted to those students who have completed their distribution requirements in the humanities, the natural sciences and mathematics, and the social sciences at Colgate.  Additionally, the University of Wollongong requires a GPA of 3.0 for matriculation in their international student Study Abroad Program.



All participants are required to enroll in and complete four courses during the fall term at the University of Wollongong.  Students elect two courses and must enroll in the two required courses described below.


GEOS 233  Discovering Downunder: Geography of Australia (Professor Leslie Head and members of the Geosciences faculty):  This course provides an overview of the physical and human environments of contemporary Australia.  Within individual topics (including landforms, climate, vegetation, indigenous Australia, population, industry and agriculture, cities, suburbs and rural settlement, and interactions with Australia’s neighbors), spatial and temporal scale, interactions between people and the environment, and key research questions are emphasized.  Through lectures, workshops, fieldwork, and research students explore the interactions of the physical and social processes that have shaped contemporary Australia.


ENST 309  Australian Environmental Issues (Professor Ellen Percy Kraly) This course explores human-environmental change in Australia with particular focus on population geographic processes.  Through class discussion, critical reading and research and field trips, this course considers the degree to which modern Australia is able to balance the seemingly contradictory goals of economic growth, demographic shifts and the protection of environmental resources.  Significant dimensions of population change in Australia include settlement patterns and population redistribution, metropolitan growth and suburbanization, international migration to and from Australia, tourism and recreational land use, and population composition and ageing.  An eight day field trip during the mid-session break is a key component of this course.  We will visit a variety of sites that exemplify Australia’s rich and diverse environmental and cultural heritage.


Two Course Electives:

The remaining two courses are electives that will be chosen by the student in consultation with the program director and the student's academic advisor at Colgate University.  As was done previously, students will be urged whenever practical to select electives that resonate with one or both of the required courses (GEOS 233 and ENST 309).  This procedure underscores the environmental emphasis of the Australia Study Group, including its fundamental interdisciplinary nature.


Australian History Seminar (Professor John McQuilton) There is a three day history seminar held during the second half of orientation week.  Students are required to read an outline of Australian History produced by Professor McQuilton before they arrive in Australia.  The first day includes a general discussion of this outline.  Day two explores in-depth the theme of Australians and War.  In day three, there is a day-long trip to Canberra where the group will visit the Australian War Memorial and tour Parliament House.



Although the specific sites have not yet been identified, students will be living in several residence halls on East Campus or in the International House of the University of Wollongong.  These, of course, are possibilities only; final accommodation prospects for Colgate students will be known sometime later this fall term.  As in the past, it is expected, although not guaranteed, that students may request single or shared rooms with living accommodations arranged with Colgate study group members and/or other students at the University.  Meals are available in the dining facilities within each hall; also, limited cooking facilities are available in bedroom suites for the preparation of snacks and light fare.  Each resident maintains computers (Macintosh) which are networked to the University's computer center.  Colgate students have full access to the social, athletic, recreational, computer, and library facilities of the University of Wollongong.



Costs above Colgate's tuition, room, and board are estimated to be between $2500 and $3200, depending on the departure location for each participant, as well as the choice of residence accommodations and personal spending habits.  Financial-aid students at Colgate can expect an enabling adjustment, provided that this is their first study group experience.



The deadline for applications to the 2004 Australia Study Group is November 10, 2003.  Student notification of selections will be completed by December 20, 2003.  Written confirmation of participation is expected by no later than January 10, 2004.  The application process to the University of Wollongong will commence in earnest in February and course selections in late March and early April.  Later during the spring term, the study group director will work closely with students to prepare visa applications and to complete required medical examinations and clearances.


The Study Group will depart for Australia around July 8, 2004.  The academic calendar for the spring session at the University of Wollongong runs for fourteen weeks (classes start on July 19, 2004) with a scheduled one week-long intercession recess during which there is for all study group students a required eight day touring trip as part of ENST 309.  Final examinations are scheduled for October 30-November 12, 2003.



You may gather additional information from the University of Wollongong's web site for international students at  Also, you may contact Ellen Percy Kraly in 19 Persson Hall, Department of Geography (phone: 315-228-7534; email: