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  • Locations: Brisbane, Australia; Magnetic Island, Australia; Sydney, Australia; Townsville, Australia
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Housing: Hotel
Number of Credits Offered: 3 Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate
Type of Program: Faculty-led Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Government and International Policy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Economics, Global Affairs, Integrative Studies
Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0 Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Australia: Pacific Powerhouse

Australia, Summer 2021

Internships  in Sydney

Program Overview

This proposed course will explore the history, and the business and government systems and policies that make Australia such a successful place for international commerce and to live. We will explore geopolitical matters, economic and political relations, and coalitions with Northern allies as well as their Asian neighbor. Cultural issues such as Aboriginal matters, immigration issues, especially related to rising sea water levels, the economic and societal impact of climate changes (flooding of major cities, agriculture, tourism, including the Great Barrier Reef, of which an estimated 50% has already died from increased water temperatures).  

Program Highlights: 

  • Explore Brisbane and its vibrant business, tourism, and educational culture
  • Study climate changes impact on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Experience Sydney, a multicultural city with its famous Opera House, Bondi Beach, NSW parliament, and more.


All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.

Prerequisites: those without science background may be able to take the course given approval from the instructor. 

3 Credits

Course Options

Undergraduate credits:

  • GLOA 480

  • CONF 385

  • GOVT 398

  • ECON 296

  • INTS 399

Graduate credits:

  • INTS 595

  • CONF 695

Tentative Program Dates: 

May 31 - June 13, 2021


Tentative Itinerary 

Depart the US, to Brisbane, Australia, arriving two days later
Day 1  
AM: Arrive Brisbane airport and transfer to hotel, students on their own.
Check into hotel
Briefing: Welcome, academic and safety orientation. 
Tour: Faculty led tour of area and how to get around Brisbane
Afternoon free to explore the vibrant ‘foodie’ city, take free water ferry rides
PM: Group welcome dinner 
Day 2
AM: Group Breakfast
Lecture: Traditional Aboriginal Welcome and Introduction to Aboriginal Australia
Lecture: Introduction to Australian history and society
PM: Lunch (on own)
Briefing at Port of Brisbane on Balancing Economic Development and Ecological Concerns  
Dinner (on own)
Day 3
AM: Group Breakfast
Lecture: Challenges of Water Conservation and Management in the Australian Context
Lecture: The Economic, Social, Cultural & Environmental Impact of Tourism on the Gold Coast and Australia.
PM: Lunch (on own)
Lecture: Introduction to Australian Healthcare System & Indigenous People within the System
Lecture: Australian Trade and Investment Commission, “Austrade's Role in Fostering Australia's International Markets and Position in the Global Economy (and FDI and the TPP)”
Dinner (on own)
Day 4
Group transport to the airport
Group flight to Townsville
Breakfast at airport (on own)
PM: Briefing and tour: Reef HQ Aquarium, the world's largest living coral reef aquarium and the Australian Government's National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef
Group Lunch at Reef HQ
Briefing: Australian Dangerous Wildlife Orientation Program 
Orientation Activities: Managing the Marine Park  and Turtle Hospital tour
Dinner (on own)
Day 5
AM: Group Breakfast, check out of hotel. Pack overnight bag, leave luggage at hotel
Briefing: WWII and the Australian Experience
Tour of Anzac Park on boardwalk
Free time: Beach, hike, study, shop for provisions for Maggie Island stay.
PM: Lunch (on own)
Ferry: Townsville to Magnetic Island (25 minutes)
Group Dinner: Lecture: Koala Sanctuary ranger discusses the diversity of Australian ecosystems and species therein.
Day 6
AM: Group Breakfast
All day tour: Great Barrier Reef Snorkel Excursion
PM: Group Lunch (on boat)
Dinner (on own)
Day 7
AM: Group Breakfast
Lecture:  Creating and running wildlife sanctuary, preserving the reef, koalas, and more through government and private partnerships.
Hike: Guided bushwalk with rangers to the Forts Walk, spot koalas in the wild.  
PM: Lunch (on own)
Ferry: Magnetic Island to Townsville (25 minutes)
Dinner (on own)
Day 8
AM: Group Breakfast
Lecture: by leader in educational tourism and creator of Townsville’s tourism partnership organization on creating and running off-the grid motel and other sustainable efforts in region.
PM: Lunch (on own)
Dinner (on own)
Day 9
AM: Group Breakfast
Group transport to the airport
Group flight to Sydney
PM: Lunch (on own)
Student presentations 
Explore Sydney (on own): Observation Deck, sunset harbor tour, Vivid Festival, etc.
Dinner (on own)
Day 10
AM: Group Breakfast
Briefing: CitySwitch Green Office, Australia’s flagship sustainability program for office-based businesses. Local and state governments support businesses to improve  energy and waste efficiency. 
Guided Tour: Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
PM: Lunch at Circular Quay (on own)
Tour of New South Wales Parliament 
Lecture: Social Policy Program, how Parliament makes policies and law and input from society.
Briefing: Member of parliament on their roles and meet committee staff to discuss the role of committees and making recommendations to Government on social policy issues.
Dinner (on own)
Day 11
AM: Group Breakfast
Tour: Giba-Nura walking tour on the world’s oldest living culture, learning about Aboriginal identity and political history, place names, and protocols. Gain knowledge of Australian history as well as contemporary issues facing Aboriginal communities, all from an Aboriginal perspective.
Lecture: Refugee Council of Australia, “Australia's Chequered Legacy with Migrants and Refugees”
PM: Lunch (on own)
Lecture: Australian Climate Council, “Climate Change and the Risks to Australia”
Briefing: Destination NSW (the government agency for tourism, sporting, cultural events and conventions), “Achieving the goal of doubling the State’s visitor economy by 2020”
Bridge Climb Tour (optional):  Need reservations ($$$) or walk across the bridge (free)
Dinner (on own)
Day 12
AM: Group Breakfast
Lecture: “Social and Environmental Justice in the Australian Context” on environmental and climate justice, environmental democracy and participation, and the political theory, tactics, and organization of environmental and environmental justice movements.
PM: Lunch (on own)
Lecture: Wellbeing Australia (member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit network), “The Ingredients of a Happy and Healthy Life in Australia”.
Lecture: by staff from SurfAid (a non-profit organization to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions through surfing), “The Impacts of Rising Sea Levels on Citizens of Isolated Coastal Regions”.
Dinner (on own)
Day 13
AM: Group Breakfast
Bondi Beach with beach walk to Coogee Beach 
PM: Lunch (on own)
Group Dinner  
Day 14
Group departure to airport. 
Breakfast at airport (on own)
Fly back to the US (arriving the US on the same day)

 * Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Summer 2021: Coming soon! 

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges will be put on your student account for this course, including a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge which together equals the published Program Cost for this course.
Included: Tuition for 3 credits, accommodations, entrance fees/tours/guides as described in itinerary, in-country transportation, international emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Note:  This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights.
When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
Program Payments:
Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 20, 2021. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.​

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 10, 2021. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:


Application Deadline:

March 10, 2021


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.Application requirements:* 
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.
Application instructions:

Academic Director


 Dr. Sonya Taylor

GEO Program Administrator

Paul Locascio
Paul Locascio
(703) 993-2154

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2021 03/10/2021 ** Rolling Admission 05/31/2021 06/13/2021

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.