Australia is located in the South Pacific—earning the nickname “Down Under". Most of the population lives along the eastern and southeastern coastline. Because of its proximity to so many language groups in the islands of the Pacific region, Australia is an important location for support services for Bible translation.
See the cost sheets. All entries are approximate costs as things like food and transport will depend on individual preferences and with travel where and how you are traveling. Living expenses in Australia tend to be higher than in the U.S.
You can pay for in-country expenses via cash, debit card, or credit card. ATM’s are available at malls, shopping centers, banks, etc.
A valid US passport is required. Make sure that your passport expiration date is at least six months after you return from your trip!
A visa is required for entrance to Australia. Visa requirements vary depending on the amount of time you will spend in Australia.
Evacuation Insurance is required. The recommended companies are listed on the Evacuation Insurance page under the "Travel" section.
Tickets, Airports, and Flights
The preferred airport to fly into is Melbourne Airport, but you can get domestic connections to Melbourne from all the cities in Australia.
Any airport fees are included in the ticket costs so you will not need to worry about those separately.
What to Bring
If there are particular items you like to have that would help you feel at home you can bring them. Any favorite toiletry products that you use, vitamins, etc. you are welcome to bring but generally everything is available here even if it is a different brand and/or price.
If bringing electrical equipment make sure you have a power adapter with you as the voltage in Australia is 240 watts. http://www.adaptelec.com/wa16-travel-plug-adapter-for-australia-china-argentina-type-i-as-3112-p-4.html. See additional information below.
Feel free to bring any medicines or medical things you regularly use, etc.
You may want an umbrella.
Life in Country
Clothing needs depend on the season. In Melbourne you will always want to have a light jacket. Generally what you would wear in your home country will be acceptable. Bring a warm coat or jacket and sturdy shoes for winter. In the summer, you’ll want sunglasses, sunscreen and light clothing. Clothes that you can layer are a good idea.
There are also lots of second-hand clothing stores around as well as the major stores like Big W, K-Mart, etc.
*Internet and phone are available.
*People drive on the left side of the road.
*It is not customary to tip at a restaurant.
*When at a store, be friendly to the checkout and store assistants.
*The currency is Australian dollars and cents.
*Voltage is 240 watts so you will need to have a suitable adapter for any electrical equipment you bring. Some appliances or equipment may need a converter/transformer. See “Is this what I need?” at this link: http://www.adaptelec.com/wa16-travel-plug-adapter-for-australia-china-argentina-type-i-as-3112-p-4.html.
Be flexible. Come with a positive attitude, sense of humor, a willingness to learn and realize that there are differences. Don’t boast about your degrees, achievements, etc.
General Overview of Australia
Location and Geography
Australia is in the southern hemisphere. The Australian continent is located between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, south of Asia. It is south of Papua New Guinea, northwest of New Zealand and north of Antarctica. It is surrounded by numerous oceans and seas.
The People of Australia
Australia's indigenous inhabitants, a hunting-gathering people are collectively referred to today as Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islanders. Their technical culture was somewhat static--depending on wood, bone, and stone tools and weapons—but their spiritual and social life was highly complex. Most spoke several languages, and confederacies sometimes linked widely-scattered tribal groups. Indigenous population density ranged from one person per square mile along the coasts to one person per 35 square miles in the arid interior. When Captain James Cook claimed Australia for Great Britain in 1770, the native population may have numbered 300,000 in as many as 500 tribes speaking many different languages. In 2006 the indigenous population was approximately 517,200, representing about 2.5% of the population.
Since the end of World War II, the government and the public have made efforts to be more responsive to aboriginal rights and needs, most recently with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's historic apology to the indigenous people in February 2008 which included a pledge “to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
Immigration has been vital to Australia's development since the beginning of European settlement in 1788. For generations, most settlers came from the British Isles, and the people of Australia are still predominantly of British or Irish origin, with a culture and outlook similar to those of Americans. Non-British/Irish immigration has increased significantly since World War II through an extensive, planned immigration program. Since 1945, 7 million migrants have settled in Australia, including 700,000 refugee and humanitarian entrants. About 80% have remained; 24%--almost one in four--of Australians are foreign-born. Britain, Ireland, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, and the former Yugoslavia were the largest sources of post-war immigration. In June 2009, New Zealand was the largest source country for permanent migrants to Australia, with Britain, India, China, and the Philippines making up the rest of the top five. Australia's humanitarian and refugee program of about 13,000 per year is in addition to other immigration programs. In recent years, refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia have comprised the largest element in Australia's refugee program. Although Australia has fewer than three people per square kilometer, it is one of the world's most urbanized countries. Less than 2.5% of the population lives in remote or very remote areas.