During the summer of 2008 I went on a language trip to Australia. I had decided the year before that instead of money as a present for my confirmation I wanted a trip to Australia. My mom, dad and my stepmom got together and planned out the whole thing.
The whole thing about the language trip is to learn to speak and write better english. Usually a trip like that includes you going to school in the country of your choice, but this trip was special. STS education offers a program called STS experience and is a program where instead of going to school, you learn english by using it in your daily life. The trip is for people between the age of 15 and 18, and you stay in the country for 31 days.
It is very structured and the teachers meet you at the airport the day you are leaving and travel with you. I had to meet at Gardermoen airport in Norway at 8 in the morning and the first short little trip went to Arlanda in Sweden where we picked up the danish, swedish and finnish students. The trip to Australia is really long and you have to be prepared for at least 20 hours of flying from Norway. We on the other hand had a traveling time of over 24 hours. When we came to sweden we had to wait for 5 hours before our flight to Bangkok left. The trip to Bangkok want smoothly and took about 10 hours. We flew with thai air from sweden to thailand and from thailand to sydney and there is only one thing to say about thai air and that is amazing!
The plane itself is big and you have a nice amount of space for your legs even at economy. I, myself are tall and have long legs so the extra space was like a gift from a higher power. At the beginning of the flight you got a little menu with the different meals you would get during the flight and what kind of food you could choose. Every seat had a little tv with different movies and games you could entertain yourself with during the flight.
When we arrived in Sydney I was so tired I could die. I had started my trip from Norway at 8 am and after a 15 hour travel we arrived in Bangkok and the sun had just started getting up. And then after 9 1/2 hours of more flying we arrived in Sydney at around 11.40 pm. I am never able to sleep on airplanes which made this trip really tiresome.
Anyway. We lived with host families and during the day we wandered around Sydney shopping and sightseeing. We had one day on a touring bus, which i can recommend. You get to see the most famous parts of Sydney and get a lot of info on all of the important places. We also had one day at the national gallery. This is a place i will only recommend for the specially interested. There is tons of beautiful art, but it can be boring for people not interested in art. One of the things I can really
recommend is Wesfield Sydney shopping mall. If you have money to burn this is the place to do it!
They have everything in this place! Everything from cheap stuff you can by for almost nothing to big expensive brands like Valentino and Armani.
One of the weeks of my stay we went to Airlie beach which is located further north than Sydney. First we flew to Birsbane and then then continued with another plane to Mackay airport and from there we traveled by bus to Airlie beach. The bus ride was nice and we saw a more of the australian nature that you can in Sydney.
The week at Airlie was amazing. 30 degrees every day, and I have to point out that this was during the australian winter (our summer)! During our time there we went on ocean rafting which is a big rib in high speed over nice sized waves! It was a lot of fun and on the trip we stopped by some islands so we could swim around and look at the life in the sea around there. We also had a trip out to the reef. Airlie beach is located very close so the great barrier reef and with a short boat ride you can dive at the edge of the reef and look at the amazing life. There was especially one thing that was awesome! There was a huge fish there and it was so tame. You could pet it and it just tilted over on its side and enjoyed the attention.
Other than this just walking around and enjoying the local life is wonderful.
Back in Sydney we decided to have a look at Taronga zoo. They had a huge amount of different species and a great seal show during which i almost died of laughter.
So if you want to give your kids or yourself a trip that will amaze you, take a chance and go to Australia. My meeting with the country has made me unable to forget the amazing animal life, different possibilities of finding something to do and the amazing people. To take a language trip to the land down under is expensive. I think in total, with money to spend and everything, my trip cast somewhere between 50 and 60 000 NOK, maybe more. But it was worth it. It is a trip I will never forget!