Quest Exchange in Australia

Australia is an extraordinarily beautiful place rich in rainforests, deserts, and beaches, but 90% of its people live in the coastal cities since much of the country’s interior is desert. It is a country equally famous for its landscapes of pristine beaches, tropical islands and the rugged outback as it is for its cities, each with a unique personality and culture.

Australia is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Australian culture is as broad and varied as the country’s landscape. It is very multicultural and multiracial, and this is reflected in the country’s food, lifestyle, cultural practices and experiences. It has a unique cultural heritage stemming from its indigenous Aboriginal population and colonial settlement. The climate ranges from wet tropics to the arid outback with just about everything in between. The country is known for its unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses. Australia offers students a dynamic land with cultural norms similar to the U.S.

Go on an adventure “down under” and come back with a new appreciation for our long-distance neighbors across the Pacific Ocean!

3 Fun Facts
  • There are three times as many sheep as there are humans living in Australia.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is regarded as the world’s largest living organism, and is often listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
  • Over 25% of Australia’s residents were born overseas as of 2012, a number that is expected to increase rapidly.
Program Dates


Late Jan-Late Nov
(depending on region)


Late Jan – Early July
Late July – Late Nov


The Australian school year begins at the end of January and finishes in late November. The Spring semester runs from late January through early July, and the Fall semester runs from late July to late November. Like the U.S., the education system varies from state to state, including the times and even lengths of the holiday breaks.

Exchange students can choose their subjects of studies. Subjects include English, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, ancient history, modern history, art, commerce, drama, music, foreign language, computer science, media, marine studies etc.

The school day usually goes from 9am to 3pm. Inter-school sport competitions are also very common. Generally, students have lunch at school that they bring from home, but most schools offer canteen facilities as well.


Australian families generally live in a single-family home in suburban areas. Most homes have three to four bedrooms, and some have a swimming pool. Most Australian families have pets.

Australian families are active people who enjoy spending time together. They are generally outgoing with a good sense of humor. Similar to their American counterparts, Australian parents generally expect to be informed of their teenage children’s whereabouts at all times. Teenagers have chores and are expected to clean their own room, help out with the dishes and other household chores.


Add-on tours are offered throughout the year to places like Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback and the Northern Territory. Details about these trips vary by location and season, so more information will be available upon arrival in Australia.


As English is the official language of Australia, there is no foreign language requirement for English-speaking students.


For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. The Australian visa application process is online and it may take up to 8 weeks. As the details of this process may vary, neither Quest nor our Australian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, students will most likely have access to the Internet/WiFi at home and school. Though, the Internet can be very expensive in Australia since data usage is not unlimited, which means that people pay for the amounts of information downloaded. Thus, students should ask the school and host family if they should pay extra in order to access the Internet or get a SIM card with pre-paid access.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if a student has an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with an Australian carrier/SIM card. Students are encouraged to bring their smart phone, personal laptop or tablet to school to use during class.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone, if given permission?

Students cannot travel outside of the host area without adult supervision. Travel outside of the host area with adult supervision is authorized if approved by the natural parents, host family, local partner office and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $350/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Australia?

Australian families are diverse, so family expectations, interactions and activities vary widely. Some families may afford the student a great deal of independence, while others may expect the student to participate more extensively in family life. Some families may be very active or outdoorsy, while others may prefer to relax at home. Thus, students must be open-minded and ready to adapt to their new host family dynamics.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

What is the visa application process and how long does the process normally take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. The Australian visa application process is online and it may take up to 8 weeks. As the details of this process may vary, neither Quest nor our Australian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Students can walk or they can take the school or public bus. If they take the bus, they would be responsible for that cost in addition to Quest program fees.

Is there a possibility for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, students can get special tutors, if necessary. The cost for this service would be determined on a case-by-case basis as it depends on the subject area and duration of the tutoring. Tutoring fees would be an additional cost on top of Quest program fees.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program?

Yes, students will receive a final school report with the subject and associated assessment listed. But, students must complete all school assignments and take all exams in order to receive this. They must also communicate with Australian school officials about their desire to receive this documentation. Students must be proactive about this, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Australia.

Do schools offer different sports/activities?

Australian schools typically offer a vast array of sports and activities. Some of these happen during school and some happen after school. The offerings vary greatly by school.

Think It Over

The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!

Get Your Parent/Legal Guardian On Board

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.

Check in With Your School

You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.

Contact Quest for Program Information and Paperwork

Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.

Confirm Program Details

The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.

Confirm Payment Details

You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.

Complete Your Application

Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.

Skype Interview

This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.

Waiting for Acceptance

Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.

Acceptance and Invoice

You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.

Get Legal – Visa and Immigration

This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.

School and Host Family Placement

This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.

Book Your Flight

Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!

Pre-departure Orientation

Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!

Live Your Study Abroad Dream!

Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.