Kona, Hilo, Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Kea, Green and Black sand beaches, Queenstown, Fiordland, Mount Cook/Aoraki, Kaikoura, Wellington, Tongariro, Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, Outback, Tropical Rainforest, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Nadi, University of Fiji, Yasawa Islands, Botaira Resort, Soso village
Avoid winter in the U.S. and enjoy the South Pacific summer in Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, and New Zealand. Our Spring Semester program is an integrated mega course in Humans and the Environment that provides credits in anthropology, ecology, human geography, and international affairs (with optional courses in natural resources and physical education). We apply an experiential education approach where you are in the field exploring what you have learned in the classroom through the cases of the Big Island of Hawaii, the South and North islands of New Zealand, the Fijian islands, and Sydney and Queensland in Australia. By participating in this program you can also save money by not paying rent for the Spring Semester and having a longer summer to work/study until Fall Semester begins. Click here to watch a three minute video of the Australia and New Zealand portions of the program.
We begin in Hawaii, one of the world’s must-see places and the most remote island chain on Earth that is long synonymous with exoticism and paradise; and discover the reason for this beauty and remoteness and the source of the lush diversity and colorful beaches… active volcanoes. This part of the program explores the spirituality, biogeography, culture, and geology of Hawaii with particular emphasis on sustainable development and anthropology. The program begins in the culturally rich town of Hilo (or the vibrant coastal town of Kona) for introductory classes and field trips, before traveling to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to hike the crater and watch night-time coastal lava flow – one of the very few places in the world to see such a spectacle. We then travel along the coast to understand formation of the black, green, and golden beaches scattered throughout the big island (including Hapuna Beach, considered one of the world’s best beaches), snorkel Kealakekua Bay (site of Captain Cook’s demise), and visit Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park (the historic and cultural place of refuge for Hawaiians). On our return to Hilo (or Kona) we visit Mauna Kea (the world’s largest mountain at close to 30,000 feet from sea level), arriving at the crater summit to view a sunset from a spectacular vista, and spend the evening star gazing from arguably one of the best places on the planet. Throughout the program we will explore the sustainability of alternative energy sources including wind, ocean thermal, and wave action, in addition to understanding the global context of volcanism and coastal geology (e.g., as triggers for tsunamis and effects on global sea level rise).
New Zealand: North and South Islands
From Hawaii we travel to the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere, Queenstown, on the South Island of New Zealand. This part of the program focuses on environmental issues ands explores in-depth the Kiwi image of 100% Pure, Clean, and Green. New Zealand is renowned for mountains that rise 14,000 feet out of the sea, the largest fiords in the world, rainforests, kiwi birds, massive glaciers carving their way to the ocean, active volcanoes, geysers and hot springs, glowworm caves, and vast expanses of South Pacific beaches and reefs. It is also the most recently colonised country in the world, with evidence of the indigenous Maori arriving less than 1000 years ago. Our field program includes swimming with dolphins, hiking Tongariro National Park (considered the world’s best one-day walk) and the valleys of Mount Cook, a boat cruise in Doubtful Sound, a feast at a Maori hangi, and visiting high country landscapes and settings of the Lord of the Rings . The New Zealand program concludes in the capital city of Wellington on the North Island with a Spring Break during which time students can explore other popular destinations throughout the South Pacific such as the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Samoa, and Western or South Australia. (Typically, students make plans for their Spring Break while in Hawaii or New Zealand.)
After Spring Break, we meet up again in Sydney, considered one of the world’s best cities to live and play. This part of the program focuses on the human geography and colonisation of Terra Nullius , the great unknown continent. After several days in Sydney we head to Brisbane in the Sunshine State of Queensland, home to the Outback and Aboriginal communities, lush tropical rainforest, golden beaches, and the marine diversity of the stunning Great Barrier Reef. After a few days in the modern, sophisticated city of Brisbane we then head out of town for extended travel on field trips: We fly to, and stay on, an eco-resort on Lady Elliot Island, an isolated cay on the Great Barrier Reef, visit Noosa Biosphere Reserve on the Sunshine Coast, explore the natural and cultural histories of Carnarvon Gorge on the edge of the Outback, and have a farm stay in one of the remote Scenic Rim communities. One of the unique features of the program is the activities we have along the way: cruise the Sydney Harbor and visit the Opera House, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, experience Aboriginal bush life, encounter kangaroos in the Outback, and hike tropical rainforests, all of which are included in the cost of the program.
For the final 8 days of the program we are in Fiji. Fiji is an exotic, tropical and fascinating country with unique cultural traditions and diverse environments (including highland jungle, coastline, islands, reefs, and remote villages) and we explore the various ways in which culture has impacted these environments. The first few days are spent in the multi-cultural city of Nadi with lectures and local field trips in collaboration with the universities of Fiji and the South Pacific. We then travel by boat to the remote offshore islands in the Yasawa chain to learn first-hand about traditional Fijian village small island life, traditions, subsistence and maritime knowledge, and also explore coral reefs and wildlife. During our time in Fiji there will also be opportunities for other activities such as hiking and snorkeling, as well as a homestay in a traditional Fijian village.
New Zealand has a temperate climate, Queensland a semi-tropical one, and Hawaii and Fiji are tropical. January through April is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and the best time to visit climatically, with typical daytime temperatures mostly in the 70s and 80s.
The program is open to all students from UGA and from other institutions (all students, including non-UGA and transient students, pay in-state tuition), and no prior knowledge is assumed. For UGA students HOPE and Miller apply. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and or/download the sample itinerary for more information. Click here to inquire and/or apply now.
The program is open to all students from UGA and from other institutions and no prior knowledge is assumed. Email email@example.com and or/download the sample itinerary for more information. Click here to inquire and/or apply now.