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Co-operative Education

In terms of communication in the work environment, Australians are often direct and informal. Rank in itself has little importance, and is mainly put toward decision making.

With a population of 20 million, Australia is the world’s smallest continent and the sixth largest land mass on earth. In a word, Australia is gargantuan!  Most of the continent is a flat and arid. Cinnamon-red earth, striking geological features, amazing creatures, and brilliant blue skies fill the west of the country while the interior’s harsh desert conditions have caused Australia to become inhabited only on its coastal regions. Most people live within 20 kilometers from the ocean! This is a land where history mixes with a modern culture full of youthful pizzazz and unique wildlife fills the background. Australia’s values deeply embed material self-improvement through hard work and hard play, with an easy-going vitality. This is well complimented by a sunny climate which increases local exuberance, beach-going and unlimited eco-play for outdoor enthusiasts.

Interesting Facts

  • When it is daytime in here it is nightime in Australia.

  • When it is winter in here it is Summer in Australia.

  • Australia is not connected by land to any other country and so it had developed its own wildlife. The kangaroo, the koala, the emu and the kookaburra are among the creatures found only in Australia.

  • Half the continent is given over to sheep rearing. In 1987, it was calculated that there were about 150 million sheep in Australia, about 10 sheep for every person living in the country. No wonder that Australia is the world's largest exporter of lamb and wool.

  • The world's fastest growing tree is the Australian Eucalyptus. It can grow up to 10 metres in one year.

Working in Australia

  • English is the language of business in Australia, but jobseekers should be aware that Australian English can be rather idiomatic. For instance, to "table" something in Australia means to bring it forward for discussion, literally to put it on the table.

  • The workday is usually from 9am to 5pm. People usually socialize after work in a local bar, or head home, to the gym or to the beach.

  • In terms of communication in the work environment, Australians are often direct and informal. Rank in itself has little importance, and is mainly put toward decision making.

  • It’s good to bring things forth to the table. For example, in presenting something it’s good to identify the facts, benefits, challenges, etc. Selling, assuming acceptance or showing off may be challenged.

Comments from SFU Co-op Students in Australia

“For my second work term, I pursued my special interest in Neuroscience and worked as a research assistant in the Neurobiology Lab at the University of Wollongong. I received extensive training in many areas of the Laboratory and Neuroscience field. I also obtained hands-on experience in various aspects of research by actively participating in numerous ongoing experiments in the CTN. I experienced research at its many different stages, and learnt first hand about the Scientific Community.”

“I’ve never experienced such a steep learning curve in so many aspects of my personal and educational life before. This experience has definitely opened my eyes to the possibility of a future career in research.”

- Brittney Merryweather, Research Assistant at the University of Wollongong, Australia

“I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to work overseas, and living in beautiful semi-tropical Brisbane has been nothing but a pleasure so far.”

“The research I¹m assisting with aims to increase the understanding of the role of the motor cortex and the spinal cord in the control of voluntary movements, and to characterize the nature of spatial constraints on the execution of simultaneous actions.”

- Kirsten Willms,Perception and Motor Systems Lab, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

“I had the opportunity of a lifetime, the opportunity to work in Australia for 5 months. The position involved one month as manager of a small rural pool in county Victoria. My job involved general cleaning, hiring staff, ordering supplies and daily/weekly/monthly administration.”

“This coop placement was much more than a job. It was a great opportunity to experience a different culture and push myself to overcome challenges involved with being a long way from home.”

- Sarah Brown,Leisure Management & Marketing, Australia

Beyond the Blog

  • Check out Going Global for all your burning questions about working internationally

  • To be included on the International Co-op mailing lists, please fill out this Expression of Interest

  • Master your worldly knowledge by reading the rest of the International Spotlight series: The UK, France, China, India and Germany!


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OLC Editor

SFU Staff
All Faculties
Co-operative Education

The OLC Lead Editor manages content submissions, provides feedback on content submissions and assists with the development of content with contributors.

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Feb 14, 2011

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