Oceania encompasses many countries, cultures, and a lot of water. Students interested in aqua blue seas and an ocean-influenced way of life will find Oceania spellbinding. A deep connection with the sea can be experienced in many of the island nations. From the Samoan Islands to Fiji to Australia and New Zealand, there are lots of destinations for students to discover.

High school students in Oceania have the chance to live with a host family, experience nature, and wildlife firsthand and bask in some of the world’s most beautiful scenery.

Oceania is great for students who are interested in oceanography, sea life, environmental conservation, experiencing unique cultures, and eating delicious food.

For those interested in doing a high school abroad program in Australia, New Zealand, or elsewhere Oceania, you can choose from:

  • A study / travel program over spring, winter, or summer break
  • A volunteer abroad program
Youth Travel Tours

Travel tours for teens are perfect for high school students needing or wanting to spend a more condensed amount time abroad. These tours are highly structured and allow you to see many sites in a short period of time. They provide students the opportunity to simultaneously study and learn about a new culture while focusing on themes like adventure, environmental conservation or community service. Guides incorporate educational lessons throughout the tours with topics like history, language and economics.

Volunteer Program

Volunteering in Oceania is an excellent way to see the region and make a difference. You’ll feel great, learn new skills, make new friends and bolster your college applications! Oceania’s vast ecology provides plenty of opportunities for conservation on land and of course in the sea. Sea Turtle Conservation is incredibly popular! You can protect egg nests as well as tag and count sea turtles.

Visas

Your citizenship and which Oceanic country you’re visiting will determine what visa requirements you’ll need to meet. If you’re from the United States, the UK, or Canada and are planning to stay less than 30 days, you can obtain a tourist visa upon entry to most Oceanic countries. Students wishing to stay longer than 30 days will most likely need to look into a student visa.

Be sure to begin research several months advance, as countries like Australia and New Zealand have specific student visa requirements. Youth travel programs will generally advise and help participants with their visa applications if necessary.

Housing

More likely than not, your Oceanic study abroad program will include a homestay, where students receive the benefit of immersing themselves in local cultures. Experiencing different customs and traditions leads to a broader view of the world and a greater appreciation for the things you love about your own culture.

Teens taking a youth travel tour, however are more likely to share a hotel / hostel room with fellow program participants.

Costs

Getting to some of the smaller island nations of Oceania is more difficult with infrequent services. This can push transportation costs upward, sometimes reaching into the several thousands. Yet once there, the cost of living is cheaper than most European and North American countries. Since Australia and New Zealand have major international airports, the cost to fly there is less, but cost of living is on par or slightly higher than countries like the United States and Canada.

The cost of transportation, nights out, food and added expenses will vary depending on your study abroad destination. Countries with a lower cost of living, like the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands and Fiji, might allow students to budget as little as $15 USD daily while New Zealand and Australia can cost up to $40 USD a day.

Housing, meal plans, length of stay, and included amenities affect program costs. It can range from $4,000 for a two-week trip in the Solomon Islands to $11,000 for a semester program in Fiji to $18,000 for a yearlong program in Australia.

Packing Tips

Oceania is mostly (but not completely) a tropical destination, meaning you’ll need to pack for both sun and rain. Be sure to research your particular country for the time of year you’ll be there, as each destination has its own set of seasonal quirks.

If you're in New Zealand, prepare for colder climates, and if you're exploring the Australian outback, prepare for a dryer heat.

On a whole though, the island nations like Fiji, Samoa and Tuvalu experience monsoon season from November through April.

  • Breathable and UPF (sun resistant) clothing
  • A solid raincoat and umbrella (which can be bought upon arrival)
  • Solid walking sandals or shoes for outdoor adventures
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent
  • A hat

Staying Healthy in Oceania

It's recommended travelers receive hepatitis, yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus and polio vaccinations before traveling to the Oceanic island countries. Mosquitos in Oceania can carry diseases like Dengue Fever, Chikungunya Fever, Zika, and Malaria.

High school students are encouraged to take precautions like covering the skin in high-risk areas, using bug repellant and taking preventative medication if possible. Be especially vigilant of mosquito born diseases in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

In the Oceanic island countries, you should only drink bottled water. Make sure your food is properly and entirely cooked. Salads may be washed in unclean water, which can be hazardous for a foreigner’s stomach. Traveler’s diarrhea is common, so stay well hydrated and visit a health professional if symptoms don’t subside after a week.

However, if you'll only be in Australia and / or New Zealand, you can throw that out the window. Health guidelines for Australia and New Zealand are minimal, food and tap water are safe to consume, and you can expect your health considerations to be pretty similar to back home.

Safety Considerations

Individuals studying in Oceania should not have problems if they abide by general safety guidelines. Do research on the safety of each country you plan to visit beforehand so you know the potential risks associated with each destination.

As with anywhere in the world, being aware of your surroundings is an important means of maintaining safety. Keep your residence locked, be vigilant of pickpocketing and petty theft in crowded areas, avoid local demonstrations and grab a friend if you’re walking somewhere at night. Always follow local government laws and stay away from illegal drugs and underage consumption.

Contributed by Alecia Weaver

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