Australia, "the Great Southern Land” has long attracted newcomers to its shores, curious about its famously laidback culture, amazing scenery, beaches and unique wildlife.
Everyone goes on about how good the weather is in Australia, and it's true that most places in Australia see a lot of sunshine and warmth, which leads to a lot of outdoor activity like swimming, picnics, backyard cricket and of course barbecues. The cities are safe and clean, there is a strong economy and a low unemployment rate.
Australia is a nation of inventors. Australians can take credit for such technological and medical advances as WiFi, solar hot water, the pacemaker, ultrasound scanners and the bionic ear, along with a host of everyday household items like the modern lawn mower and the "Hills Hoist" clothesline.
Australia welcomes entrepreneurs, problem-solvers and trailblazers; its educational system celebrates ingenuity and rewards those who want to be at the forefront of new designs and clever solutions.
For a nation of around 24 million people, Australia punches above its weight in the arts sector - A-List celebrities Cate Blanchett, Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana, Naomi Watts, Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman have all called Australia home. Musicians as diverse as Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, and INXS are also Australian, as are authors Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally and Nobel prize winner Patrick White.
A buzzing live music scene, thriving independent film industry and world-renowned arts festivals also make Australia’s arts industry a dynamic one. Institutions like the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney and the Victorian College of the Arts continue to promote artistic enterprise in their students.
Australia's first university, the University of Sydney, was founded under the Latin motto "Sidere mens eadem mutato" - the literal translation is "the same mind under different stars", meaning that even though the university is in the southern hemisphere, it continues the academic traditions of the northern hemisphere.
Australian institutions have now developed academic traditions of their own. Studying in Australia, you can expect the best of European traditions, with a distinctly new-world flavour that values self-determination, experimentation and a questioning spirit.
Australia is a nation of immigrants, and that means that any communities have learned to live alongside each other harmoniously, and the whole society has benefited from the blend of customs and traditions.
It means that people can come to Australia from anywhere in the world and find their culture's cuisine, music, language, festivals and places of worship represented and celebrated.
- Population: 24 million
- Currency: Australian Dollar (AUS$)
- Capital city: Canberra
- Australia is the only continent without an active volcano
- Australia has the world's largest cattle station: At 24,000 km2, Anna Creek Station is the size of Israel.