With winter officially in full swing, you’re probably looking for ways to spend your semester break. We’ve come up with a few ideas worth considering, from exploring your new home to getting a head start on the new semester.
1. Explore your city
Whether this is your first or last year of study in Australia, make time to explore your adopted home. If you’re based in the city, don’t stay within the immediate central business district — venture out into some of the inner-city suburbs or take a road trip or tour to a regional city. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out your state’s tourism body website, visit a tourist information centre, chat to your classmates or seek advice from student advisers on campus.
2. Take on extra hours at work
With limitations to the number of hours you can work during semester (up to 40 hours per fortnight), the winter break provides the opportunity to take on extra hours at work and earn some money for the new semester. If money isn’t an issue, you may also scope out opportunities for unpaid or volunteer work such as an internship. See Finding work experience while studying in Australia for more information.
3. Do some travelling or visit family back home
The winter break provides just enough time for a short holiday, whether it’s travelling around Australia, heading back home to see family or exploring some of Australia’s neighbouring countries, including New Zealand and island nations such as Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia, which are all just a short flight away. If you want to stay closer to come, head to the snow in Victoria, get some sun on the eastern and western coastlines, explore South Australia’s wine regions, check out Tasmania's stunning natural wilderness or head up north to see Australia’s outback.
4. Catch up on your studies
While this might not be the most exciting suggestion, it is the most productive. Take a day or two during your break to prepare for the semester ahead — even just purchasing your textbooks ahead of time or scoping out when classes are likely to be timetabled. Also remember to read through course outlines. This will make sure that you’re prepared for what you need to have learnt by the end of semester, as well as the types of assessments you’ll complete and when they will be due.
5. Discover a hobby
With a bit of spare time on your hands, why not take up a new hobby? Check out some of the groups on campus, visit a local sports club or do some research online for short courses that may be of interest.You might try a cooking or craft workshop, or perhaps improve your skills in your area of study (completing a Responsible Service of Alcohol course if you’re in hospitality, for example). Also consider Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These are free university subjects that you can complete from the comfort of home, learning from professors at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions. Closer to home, Open Universities Australia runs its own MOOC platform.