Sure, you’ve heard of Sydney and Melbourne, but did you know there’s another Australian city that can offer you urban areas, sprawling beaches, striking mountains, two leading universities and more all while being relatively affordable? The Gold Coast is a hot spot for studying abroad – here’s why!

Wake up to the sound of the ocean

Some people crave big cities while others prefer small towns. The Gold Coast has the best of both worlds giving off big city vibes combined with a relaxed lifestyle. Living here means you can go to class in the morning and head to the beach in the afternoon – the ultimate work-life balance! If you pick TEAN’s beach housing you’ll also get to wake up to the sound of the ocean with views overlooking both the city and the sea.

TEAN Gold Coast beach housing
Both TEAN Bond and Griffith students have the option to live in TEAN’s beach housing. PC: Samantha McPherson, University of Rhode Island

Take advantage of a lower cost of living and free things to do

It’s no secret that Australia has a high cost of living, however the Gold Coast (the country’s sixth largest city) is relatively inexpensive compared to Melbourne or Sydney. There are also tons of free things to do, places to explore and sights to see. Some of our personal favorites include going for picnics at the beach, watching the sunset from The Spit or checking out the live music at Miami Marketta.

Choose from two excellent universities

The two universities on the Gold Coast cater to students in all majors. If your major is offered at both schools then you can choose the school that best suits you based on if you prefer a large or small school, slightly different academic calendars and unique campus life. Get help choosing between Bond and Griffith by reading our post, Bond vs. Griffith: Which Gold Coast University is Right for Me?

Bond University campus
“How can you complain about going to class when your campus looks like this?” Photo and caption by Mallory Buckwald, University of Georgia

Intern for credit

At Griffith University you can intern for credit while giving back to the local community and getting work experience with a not-for-profit.

“I interned at Volunteering Services Australia as a marketing and media assistant within the marketing team. I was assigned many projects that took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to immerse myself within the culture that I was surrounded by for the four months I was there. Having an internship while being abroad was the best decision I had made for myself. ” – Nicholas Gendron, University of New Hampshire

Explore study abroad programs on the Gold Coast, Australia


Head to the beach… Every Day

Make sure you pack your sunscreen, because it’s summer nearly all year round on the Gold Coast. Averaging temperatures of around 90 degrees in the summer and 70 in the winter, a light jacket is all you’ll ever need for cooler days. With roughly 270 days of sun a year, almost every day is beach-worthy ensuring that after four months of living here, you’ll leave more sun-kissed than when you arrived.

Swimming in the ocean on the Gold Coast
“Enjoying a swim in the ocean with a view of the skyline was a regular thing when studying in Gold Coast.” Photo and caption by Alli Frerichs, Doane University

Explore even more

If you’re flying across the world for a semester, you may as well explore as much as you can on this side of the hemisphere while you’re here! Living on the GC makes it easy to travel since it’s a centrally located city with its own airport. A flight to Sydney takes just over an hour, 2.5 hours gets you to Melbourne, and just over three hours to reach New Zealand.

Escape on easy weekend getaways

There are plenty of places to check out locally if you’re not in the mood for flying. One hour on a bus southbound to Byron Bay could mean running into Miley Cyrus, the Hemsworth brothers or Ziggy Alberts (if you don’t know who this is, make sure you add him to your Aussie Spotify playlist). Alternatively, head northbound for an hour via the train to check out Queensland’s capital city of Brisbane. Highly recommended by former TEAN students and locals alike, is the 3-hour shuttle bus that takes you to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and, just beyond that, the Sunshine Coast and Noosa, which are home to the Fairy Pools and Hell’s Gate. Also, just a short train ride away is Queensland’s capital city of Brisbane.

Byron Bay beach surfing
“One Saturday we took a day trip down to Byron Bay. A friend of ours had a few surf boards and he took us to the local sweet spot for surfing.” Photo and caption by Cody Ziegler, University of Iowa

Learn about marine life in their natural environment

Griffith and Bond both offer marine and coastal life courses with field work. You can spend a week on North Stradbroke Island with Bond’s Environmental Field Analysis of Rainforest and Coastal Region course or experience multiple field trips with Griffith’s Coastal Environments course.

“It was really exciting to study at Griffith University because I want to get into marine science and taking the “Coastal Environments” course gave me more information on marine life in general. I was always so excited to go to my labs in that class because I got to take a boat to different islands and do some field work.” – Madison Mosher, University of Kentucky

Get into the school spirit

Both Gold Coast universities encourage participation in university clubs. With Bond you can also become a bona fide Bullshark and participate in either social or elite sporting programs. In 2016 Bond opened new sporting facilities, which all students get free access to!

Griffith students wearing Griffith sweatshirts
“Yes we went to Griffith University” Photo and caption by Liz Gambo, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tick some adventures off your bucket list

If you’re a thrill seeker, then the Gold Coast is definitely the place for you. There are a bunch of activities in close proximity to the city that are sure to get your heart pumping like hot air ballooning, jet boating, a ropes course out in Currumbin, theme parks, horse riding on the beach or even skydiving in Byron Bay. TEAN even gets in on the jaw-dropping activities taking you to the Q1 Sky Climb where you get to climb the top of the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere.

Take a walk on the wild side

One of the most unique aspects of the Gold Coast is its close proximity to mountains, bushland and rainforests. Not many cities are bordered on one side by 32 miles of beaches and glorious rolling hills scattered with waterfalls on the other! From the city center, it’s only a 45-minute drive to some of the best hiking spots in Southeast Queensland. Check out Springbrook, Purling Brook Falls, Mt Tambourine and the Best of All lookout.

Springbrook National Park
“A good snap shot keeps a moment like this from running away. Taken at Springbrook National Park.” Photo and caption by Lindsay Galvin, University of New Hampshire

Get to know the people

The Gold Coast is a melting pot of cultures, people, food and entertainment. Heavily reliant on the tourism industry, GC locals are used to foreigners being around and are pretty welcoming because of it. We might be shy to say g’day, but say hi to them first and there’s a good chance you’ll make the best of mates.

Fill up on all the food

With such a culturally diverse population, the Gold Coast benefits from all great global cuisine. There is a wide range of brilliant cafes and restaurants catering to every craving, diet preference or allergy. If you love food, you can set yourself a challenge to eat your way across the city. Every suburb has a famous Instagram-worthy restaurant, enough to keep you eating at a different place every weekend of your study abroad!

Acai bowls at Cardamom Pod
Smoothie bowls at the Cardamom Pod. Photo by Renée Kennedy, University of New Hampshire

Always have something new to do

Whether it’s the Quicksilver pro-surfing competitions, major music festivals or simply the Sunday markets each week, there is always something new and exciting to see on the GC. Be sure to check out the Village Markets and Chinatown on a Saturday night.

“A typical day on the Gold Coast would look a little like this: After class, I would head to Burleigh Heads Beach for a rainforest and beach hike around the coast and then a quick dip in the ocean. You can grab some fish and chips at the Surf Club, then head on over to Broadbeach for some shopping at the beautiful indoor/outdoor mall, Pacific Fair. Next, if it was the right day, you could head to the infamous Miami Marketta where there is wonderful and relatively cheap street food and live music. Finally, if a student is into the nightlife, you can venture over to Surfers Paradise for fun dancing clubs.” – Rachel Sunderland, University of Kentucky

Can’t wait to get to the Gold Coast? Learn more about our study abroad programs on the Gold Coast here.