Australia

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Autor: studak
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 07.02.2014
Jazyk: Angličtina
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Australia

1  THE LAND
The 'Great Southern Land' was the name given by the European explorers to the continent we call Australia. And it is 'great'. The area of Australia is 32 times greater than the area of the United Kingdom. It is almost the size of North America including Alaska. It is a country in the southern hemisphere involving the mainland which is the world's smallest continent but also the largest island, major island of Tasmania, and numerous other islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Neighbouring countries are Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east.
Australia has a total land mass of 7 682 300 square kilometers. The longest distance from north to south is 3 680 kilometres (from Cape York to the south-east cape of Tasmania). From east to west the longest distance is 4 000 kilometres (from Cape Byron in northern New South Wales to Steep Point in Western Australia).

The Australian continent is one of the oldest land forms in the world. About 100 million years ago it broke off from the Antarctic land mass and drifted slowly northward. New Zealand and other islands then separated from the Australian land mass.The unique land forms are result of millions of years of wind, rain, ice and hot sun beating down on the Australian land mass. The highest peak in Australia, Mount Kosciusko, is only 2 228 metres above sea level. The Macdonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory were once as high as the Himalayas, but now reach only 1 200 metres above sea level. More recent land forms were the result of volcanic activity. Along the east coast the Great Dividing Range runs from northern Queensland to central Victoria. Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent in the world. One third of Australia receives less then 200 milimetres of rain per year. However, in populated areas there is a regular pattern of rainfall. The El Niño Ocean current has, at times, affected the patterns of rainfall on Australia's east coast – sometimes causing floods over widespread areas. Droughts, which have been attributed to the El Niño effects, have also been felt over large area of the continent.
 
In Australia, the summer months are December, January and February. In the regions where most of the population lives, the summer daytime temperature is usually in the high 40s °C in the northern states, and the high 30s °C in the southern states.The winter months are June, July and August. The lowest temperatures are in the alpine areas of the Great Diving Range where snow falls frequently during the winter and early spring. In the regions where most of the population lives, the winter daytime temperatures is usually in the low 20s °C in the northern states, and in the range of 1-15°C in the southern states.
 
1.1  HISTORY
For around 40 000 years before European settlement begin in the late 18th century, the Australian mainland and Tasmania were inhabited by around 250 individual nations of indigenous Australians. After several visits by fishermen from the immediate north, and European discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, the eastern half of Australia was claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales. The population grew constantly in the following years. The continent was explored, and during the 19th century another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth realm. The population is just over 21.7 million, with approximately 60% concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Darwin. The nation's capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Technologically advanced and industrialized, Australia is a prosperous multicultural country and has excellent results in many international comparisons of national performance such as health care, life expectancy, quality of life, human development, public education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australian cities also routinely rank among the world's highest in terms of livability, cultural offerings, and quality of life. It is a member of the United Nations, G-20 major economies, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, OECD, and the WTO.
 
1.2  STATES AND TERRITORIES OF AUSTRALIA
Australia has six states and two mainland territories. Here are their capital cities:
 
Queensland – Brisbane
New South Wales – Sydney 
Victoria – Melbourne
South Australia - Adelaide
Western Australia – Perth
Tasmania – Hobart
Northern Territory – Darwin
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - Canberra
 
1.3  THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM AND FLAG
The national anthem of Australia is called 'Advance Australia Fair'. This replaced 'God Save the Queen' as Australia's national anthem in 1984. This reflected Australia's changing consciousness of itself – from being a part of the British Empire to being a more independent entity. Since then, there has been an increasing level of support for complete independence from the monarchy of Britain. Australia is looking to possibility of becoming a republic, with a president as its head of state. As a constitutional monarchy, Australia has had the British monarch as its head of state – with the representative of the monarch in Australia being the governor – general. The flag of Australia still demonstrates the link with Britain as it has the Britain Union Flag (the 'Union Jack’) in the top left-hand corner. The rest of the Australian flag is dark-blue with white stars. These stars consist of the southern cross – a well-know constellation of stars seen in the night skies over Australia – and a large seven-pointed white 'federation star' representing the six states and the territories.

1.3.1  THE INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN FLAG
This represents Aboriginal Australians. The flag with its colours of red (representing the land), black (representing the people) and yellow (signifying the sun) is a source of pride for indigenous Australians.
 
1.3.2  WALTZING MATILDA

Another song which has, for several generations, been sung to demonstrate pride in being Australian ('an Aussie'), is 'Waltzing Matilda'.
  During the last years of the nineteen century an economic downturn meant a very hard life for many men who had no choice but to travel on foot around the country looking for work. They carried a sleeping blanket or 'swag' on their backs – hence the label 'swagman'. In the song, this lonely old swagman has given his only sleeping companion, the blanket, a woman whose name was Matilda. He is chased by police for stealing a sheep which the swagman planned to eat. Rather then being caught and punished, he commits suicide by jumping into a billabong (an Aboriginal word meaning a waterhole) and drowning. The song suggests that the ghost of the swagman still haunts that particular billabong.
 
1.4  FLORA
Australia has been isolated for thousands of years and thus plants have been able to develop independently to suit the often harsh natural conditions. Due to the wide range of different environments and plant communities, the native flora of Australia is the most diverse and varied in the world, growing in tropical, rainforest, stony inland deserts, alpine meadows and sandy heath lands. It has been estimated there are about 20,000 to 25,000 different plants native to Australia.
 
1.5  FAUNA
Until the arrival of white settlers Australia's animals lived in a 'virtual sanctuary'. This broad land has diverse climatic conditions from deserts to rainforest, and mountain ranges to plains. Each particular area has wildlife to complement its environment, native animals having very well adapted to their different habitats. The only two monotremes in the world, the platypus and the echidna, live in Australia along with nearly three quarters of the world's 250 species of marsupial mammals. These include the koala and the kangaroo. The mammals are joined by range of birds, with over 700 species of native birds alone. The reptile family is also well presented by many species.

2  MY STAY IN AUSTRALIA
In Australia I spent one whole year studying at high school. Although it was the hardest year in my life I liked it the most. Getting to know other cultures, new people, different customs, other school system, in other words, getting to know the other life. First few months were very hard. I did not understand much English so I could not communicate with other students or teachers at school on the level I wanted to. Often I felt homesick. Luckily, I lived with my sister and her family who helped me to adjust to my new temporary life and get the most out of it.
 
2.1  ADJUSTING
To begin with, I spend most of the time at school. Studying was tough. New school, new schoolmates, new language, new rules did not make it any easier. Even though I could not understand everything and I was not able to tell them one solid sentence, they took me amongst them. We spent lots of breaks and lunches together; they even let me to copy their notes during lesson. Climate was different as well. I had to get use to a fact that nevertheless was July, it was very cold. Even though it was not freezing outside, I had a feeling that it is colder then in Slovakia in a winter. It was because of strong cold wind coming from Antarctica. In summer was the wind as strong as in winter but it was very hot. Sometimes it was like an air coming from a hair dryer. Similar problem I had in summer too. It was hot and sunny and on people’s dooryards stood big snowmen, Santa Clauses and grey grass, dried out from the sun, was covered up with white cotton wool. I could not have used to an idea that Christmas were coming. I did not have Christmas mood until we set behind big dinning table and started to pray.   
 
2.2  HEATHDALE CHRISTIAN COLLEGE
The school I went to is called Heathdale Christian College. It is quite a big complex. It is not just one building. Over 1000 students attend Heathdale every year. Kids start school at the age of 5. Most kids go to Kindergarten which is part of the school for four year olds and continue in Preparatory level. Junior School includes Prep through to Year 4. Middle School is from Year 5 through to Year 8 and the oldest children are in Seniors School which is Year 9, Year 10, and VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) levels: Year 11 and Year 12. Heathdale's educational facilities are very generous. It has Physical Education & Sport Centre with full of equipment from balls through hockey-sticks to bicycles. There is a couple of outdoor playfields and a playground for smaller children. Resource Centre is a library, where students and staff can study, read or use computers. There is a new 'C' block (Creative Arts), where Visual Arts, Music, Wood/Metal, Performing Arts and Textiles are taught. There are several blocks at Heathdale. Classes for Senior School are hold in 'A' block, for Middle School in 'F' block, Junior School is in 'K' block. Kindergarten is in 'L' block. Science labs are in block 'D'.
School year starts usually at the beginning of February and finishes in December. It’s divided into four Terms. Each Term is followed by a 2 or 3 week holiday. Summer holiday is approximately from December to February, which includes Christmas as well.
 
2.2.1  ONE DAY AT SCHOOL
The school starts at 8:30am and finishes at 3:30pm. We had seven lessons every day and each lesson goes for 45 minutes. They are usually organized in blocks of two or three. Before the beginning of the first double period, the whole class would get together in homeroom with a homeroom teacher. She would mark the roll and because it is a Christian school we had a pray to God to bless us during the whole day. After first double period we had recess. It was a break where we ate our snacks. It went for 20 minutes. Then started triple period after which we had our lunch time. It lasted for one hour and during that time we could not stay in our classrooms. When we were in Year 11 we were given a privilege to stay in our homerooms while other younger children had to be outside. We enjoyed it especially when it was very cold and we were in the warm classrooms with the heater on, or when it was ridiculously hot outside and we were there with the air condition on. After lunch was the last double period. Afterwards we got together again and while our homeroom teacher was marking the roll we thanked God for His blessing. Then we went home. Our homeroom teacher changed every year and same did the name of our class. After the year level there was the first initial of our teacher’s surname. For example: My homeroom teacher in Year 10 was Mr. Chehade that's why we were 10C and in Year 11 was my homeroom teacher Mrs. Jon, so we were 11J.
 
2.2.2  TEACHERS
The Teachers at Heathdale were just amazing - patient and nice to everyone not just me because I was from overseas. They called us by our first names and in me it made an impression of one big 'Heathdale' family. When I did not get something they explain it over again.  Even though they took us as friends not as a bas, they had our respect.  We could have chat with them without being serious or talk to them about our problems. They have never rejected us.
 
2.2.3  UNIFORM
All students have to wear uniform. There are strict rules which must be obeyed otherwise you will get a detention. In winter you are supposed to wear a winter uniform which includes skirt or trousers, white shirt worn with the College tie, blue V-neck jumper embroidered school badge (VCE students wear a jumper with striped V), either navy blue or red scarf, navy blue coat, long navy socks or tights have to wear girls and boys are supposed to have long or short gray socks. In summer girls wore blue check dress, long or short white socks, blue V-neck jumper, hat and black leather lace-up shoes. Boys wore grey shorts or trousers, white shirt, black leather lace-up shoes. We had a sport uniform as well. Very strict rule was for make-up. Girls could not wear it at all, not even foundation. Hair bands had to be either red or navy blue (colours of the college). It was the same with bobby pins. First and forth are summer terms when only summer uniform can be worn and second and third are winter terms when only winter uniform can be worn. After every term are two-week holidays but after the forth one there are eight weeks of holiday.
 
2.3  SECURITY
Australian offices take security seriously. Every school is fenced and if there is a road close by, it’s supervised by a crossing supervisor. We used to call her a ‘Lollipop Lady' because she was stopping cars with her big 'lollipop stop' so children can cross the road safely. She stands there mornings and afternoons when children go to and from school and parents do not have to worry if their child crosses the road safely. They have strict rules related to driving as well. You would get a big fine send by mail if you break the rules. So people think twice; they either obey the rules or get fined. It works. Speeding? Not in Australia. Most cars drive the same speed which equals to the speed limit.
 
2.4  LIFESTYLE
Life in Australia seems to me more relaxed then ours. People do not stress about little things. They look that nothing is a problem and when something unexpectedly appears they know that there is always a method which can be used to solve it easily. Australia is a multicultural country. A lot of nations, religions and many people with different colours of skin living in Australia make Australians very flexible.

On the other hand, Australians are not very opened to each other and like their privacy. Sometimes they do not even know who they share their fence with. They think: „The higher fence, the better.” People employed in Services surprised me a lot. They are very nice! They do not pretend they are better then others. They are not rude and they behave themselves.  For example, there is something you cannot find in a shop. You go after a lady who works there and she will help you with a smile on her face. After a few experiences in Slovakia I did not expected it. Even though she was doing something else she gave me a smile and shown me what I was looking for.  When you are going to pay for stuff you have bought, ladies working behind the cash desk always ask you how you were. In other words, people are very friendly in Australia. The other thing what surprised me in a shop was big quantities of food. For example: 3 litres of milk in one milk jug instead of 1litre or same thing with juice. Australians are just not use to have lack of something, especially food. They are making big packages of different kinds of food so they don’t have to shop for groceries all the time.
 
2.4.1  DISTANCES
Great distances are one big disadvantage of Australia. Everything is just far away from anywhere. People use their cars to get to work, to go to the shop, to go to visit their friends, to give their children a lift wherever they need or want to. Children depend on their parents. They can go by bus or train but while they get there, parents will drive them there much faster. Children cannot just go to see their friends just 'over there' because there is no 'over there'. It is very rare when you can walk somewhere.
 
2.4.2  FASHION
Australians have very similar clothes in shops as we do. The difference is in style of wearing them. As I observed young people they put on them whatever to they draw attention to them. Maybe it is because in school days they wear uniform so they just want to be different when they are not at school.
 
2.5  VISITED PLACES
Because I went to school I could not travel a lot. But during a school holiday we visited many amazing places. For example:
 
SOVEREIGN HILL: It is an open air museum in Ballarat that depicts Ballarat's first ten years after the discovery of gold there in 1851.
There are historically recreated buildings, with costumed volunteers, who are able to answer questions and will pose for photos. Antiques, books and papers, machinery, livestock and animals, carriages and devices are all complements for this area.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD: It is a 243 km of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was constructed to provide work for returning soldiers and dedicated as a Memorial to those killed in the First World War. It is one of Australia's great scenic coastline drives.
TWELVE APOSTLES: They are located along the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles are giant rock stacks that rise from the Southern Ocean and are the central feature of the Port Campbell National Park. The Twelve Apostles are the remnants from constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland. The stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed were left isolated from the shore.
GRAMPIANS: The Grampians National Park is one of Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations. It is renowned for its rocky views, rich Aboriginal culture, and spring wildflower display.
 PHILLIP ISLAND: Phillip Island Nature Park is renowned as Australia's most popular natural wildlife attraction, the Penguin Parade. Each night at sunset we can see Little Penguins, the world's smallest penguins coming ashore in groups.
WILSON'S PROMONTORY: It is called 'The Prom'. It is one of Victoria’s best-known attractions at the southern most point of mainland Australia. For me it was the most amazing experience ever. We went for a hike for six nights. We had just backpacks, tents and enthusiasm. I had seen beaches which I could not have described, breathtaking views and a mass of wildlife.
SYDNEY: We went to Sydney to perform one performance called 'KUBO'. We did not have enough time to look at all Sydney's wonders, but we saw the main ones: Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and famous Bondi Beach as well. For me it was something great. I had finally saw it in real life not on TV.
MELBOURNE: I lived in Melbourne. It is an amazing city. There are a lot of places to go and things to see. For example:
· Melbourne Aquarium with sharks, jellyfish etc. in the Australia's biggest fishbowl.  
· Melbourne Observation Deck – RIALTO has 253 metres. Deck offers 360 degree views of Melbourne and surrounds from large internal and external viewing areas. It is right in the very heart of the city. Rialto Tower is the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere.
· Eureka Tower is a 300-metre skyscraper. The tower is the world's tallest residential tower when measured to its highest floor, but Q1 located on the Gold Coast is officially the world's tallest residential building as its spire adds to its total height.
· The Royal Botanic Garden
· The State Theatre
· Concert Hall – which seats 2300 people
· National Gallery of Victoria
· There are also venues to watch sport and facilities to play sport. The traditional home of Australian football is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This is where the Grand Final is played each September. Everyone has watched it! MCG is also famous for Test cricket.
· The National Tennis Centre hosts the Australian Open. It is a major ‘grand slam' event each summer, it means in January.
· On the first Tuesday in November all of Australia watches or listens the running of the Melbourne Cup. This is a horse race held at Flemington racecourse. It attracts world-wide interest.
· The Australia Grand Prix is held each autumn at specially designed race track at Albert Park.
 
I like Melbourne the most. It was a city where I lived one whole year of my life. It made a big impression on me.
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