Clean, Safe, Cosmopolitan Students from all over the world come to Australia to take advantage of our top-notch education and enjoy our friendly hospitality and cultural diversity. Australia has low crime rates and strict gun control laws providing a safe environment in which to learn and travel. With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Australia offers modern transport systems, convenient telecommunications, cosmopolitan shopping complexes and excellent medical services. Visitors from many parts of the world are attracted by Australia's spectacular natural environment and the warmth of the Australian people. Australia is rich in the arts and is keen to preserve and display its diverse culture. Australians are also environmentally conscious and keen to preserve the country's natural beauty and scenery. Our Clean Up Australia campaign is being adopted worldwide. Health Care Australia has a very good health care system. All Australians pay a Medicare levy (additional tax) to fund the public health system and ensure everyone gets access to public system doctors, hospitals and other health care services. People who pay extra into a private health insurance fund receive certain privileges when they use private health care services. International students studying in Australia are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their student visa. Food Australia has a fantastic variety of food. Our top quality meat, fish, fruits and vegetables are exported globally. There is a large range of fruit and vegetables available at Australian produce markets. You should have no difficulty in finding the foods that you are used to at home. You can sample almost every type of cuisine available throughout the world in our many restaurants. There are elegant restaurants or typical Aussie pubs. Ethnic restaurants offer international cuisines. Good food at reasonable prices can be found at bistros or cafes. And for those who like takeaway, most of the major global fast food chains are well represented. Electricity The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts AC, 50 cycles. The Australian 3 pin plug is very safe. Adaptors are usually required for most foreign appliances. A transformer may be required if you bring an appliance from overseas that operates on a different voltage. Transport With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Australia offers modern transport systems. Australia has an extensive public transport network that includes trains, buses, tramways, ferries, two major national airlines and a number of regional airlines. Metropolitan areas are divided into zones and your ticket type and cost is contingent on which zone you are going to travel in and for how long. Tickets can be bought at train stations, on buses and trams and at news agencies. Tourist students may drive in Australia on a valid overseas drivers licence but if the document is not in the English language the visitor must carry a translation with the licence. An international driving licence is not sufficient. Metered taxicabs operate in all major cities and towns. You will find taxi ranks at transport terminals, main hotels or shopping centers or you can call taxis in the street. A light and sign on the roof indicates cab vacancy. There is a minimum charge on hiring and then a charge per kilometer travelled. Taxi drivers do not have to be tipped. Shopping Australia's major centers and capital cities have world-class shopping facilities General shopping hours 9.00 am - 5.30 pm Throughout the week Late night shopping until 9.00 pm Thursday or Friday Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week Telephones Australia has a modern telephone system. Many private households now also have internet access. Public telephones are available at all Post Offices, shopping entrees. Public pay phones accept a variety of coins and Phone cards. Phone cards are pre-paid for use in public pay phones and can be bought at a large number of retail outlets in denominations of $A5, $A10, $A20 and $A50. Credit phones take most major credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Master card and Diners International and can be found at international and domestic airports, central city locations and hotels. Mobile phones are very popular and can be purchased from a number of retailers. Australian Weather Australia is diverse in its geography and climate. Being in the southern hemisphere Australia's seasons are reversed. Summer starts in December and winter in June. Nearly a third of Australia is in the tropics where the average temperatures are in the mid 20 degrees Celsius. The southern areas are in a temperate zone. Australian Geography Australia is a land of contrasts: sweeping golden beaches, coral reefs rich with marine life, tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, vast grazing lands and sparse deserts. One of the oldest continents, Australia is as wide as the distance from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei and as long as the distance from Singapore to Manila. It is the only country to occupy an entire continent. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia has many animals and plants, which are unique on the planet. More Information The Australian Government has an extensive network of Education and Training Counsellors, Australian Education Centers (AEC's) and education advisers globally providing reliable and impartial advice on study opportunities in Australia. The latest information on the Australian education and training system costs of study and living, application and enrolment procedures and the Australian way of life is also available from INTEREDWISE and reference sites set up in local institutions and libraries around the world.