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Overseas university spotlight: Bond University (Australia)

Rarely do I get the opportunity to visit a university that's younger than me, but Bond University in the Gold Coast, Queensland, has just narrowly fit that bill.


Founded in 1987, it's also one of only a handful of private universities in Australia.


And notably, it's been named Australia's #1 university for the student experience in the last 16 years (Good Universities Guide, 2006-22).


Historically, Bond has also had a huge presence in North America; there are official alumni committees in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Toronto that hold regular events.


This popularity is due in part to the fact that it offers accelerated degrees; most programs can be completed in just two years.


Here are some of the highlights from my visit in October 2022 - on a rare grey day!


The ampitheatre at Bond University
Bond's amphitheatre

Academics


With 4,000 students in total, one of the features of a Bond degree is personalized attention.


Typically, there are no more than 12 students per class.


Study space at Bond University
Cool study space

And when I asked one current student what her favorite part of being a 'Bondy' was, she said just that -- the personalized teaching and opportunities to network.


But Bond is perhaps most notable for its accelerated degrees.

It uses a 3-semester timetable (each one lasting 13 weeks), which means students can finish a bachelor's degree in two years, a master’s degree in 1-2 years, a double degree in less than four years or a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in just three years.


This also means students can start in any one of the three semesters: January, May or September.


But it doesn't mean that students have a higher workload; it just means there is less down time between semesters.


So what can you study at Bond?


One of the most popular subjects for North American students is law.


Bond University Law School
Simulation court at Cond University
Facilities at Bond University's Law School

Bond offers a 2-year Juris Doctor (JD), which is normally a 3-year degree in the U.S.


The Library at Bond University's Law School
Bond's Law Library

Bond also has degrees in arts, communications, business, medicine, film and tv, international relations, tourism and more.


Bond University buildings
The Business School at Bond Universityy
Bond Business School

And one of the nicest aspect of Bond is the fact that there are no classes on Wednesdays between 12-2 p.m. in order to encourage students to get together at the amphitheater and enjoy a free BBQ or meal.


Campus


The campus itself is an American-style campus with everything you need around, including a 'Bond Express' mini grocery, indoor/outdoor basketball courts, two Olympic swimming pools, beach volleyball courts, a gym (free membership), Career Development Centre and more.


Student facilities at Bond University
Outdoor pool, Bond University
Swimming lanes at Bond University
Some of Bond University's indoor sports facilities
Gymnasium at Bond University
Students using a gymnasium at Bond University
Some Bond University sports facilities
Bond University campus
Bond University's Career Centre

It's located in the suburb of Robina, an easy bus ride from the main drag of the Gold Coast.


Bond University
Walkway, Bond University

Most students live on campus initially, and after that, many choose to live close to the beach and commute.


For students living on campus, there is also the option of having a meal plan.


Food court at Bond University
Coffee Shop at Bond University
Meal facilities, Bond University
View at Bond University campus
Café at Bond University

Don’s Tavern is Bond’s social hotspot, and there are more than 40 clubs and societies regularly running events.


Perhaps the most prominent feature of Bond's campus is the manmade lake near the Arch Building (sadly no students were out today!).


Bond University's Arch Building
Bond University campus
Manmade lake at Bond University
Bond University's manmade lake
The lake at Bond University
Lake and trees, Bond University

Bond's facilities are quite modern, including the library below, which also has board games available to loan out.


It's sometimes open 24 hours a day.


Library at Bond University
Library

Bond also offers all of its students, regardless of discipline, the opportunity to participate in the Transformer program.


It's an Australian-first entrepreneurship program that has its own dedicated co-working space (below).


Students work in multidisciplinary teams, tasked with developing practical solutions to real-world problems.


Transformer Entrepreneurship programme
Transformer Co-Working Space

Elsewhere on campus, there are banquet halls, gaming rooms, lecture theatres, as well as indoor and outdoor study spaces.


Bamquet hall, Bond University
Outdoor social space at Bond
Social space for students
Bond University's Society and Design Precinct

One building I thought was extremely interesting is home to the Abedian School of Architecture.


Interesting architecture, Bond University campus

I was told it was purposely built with slight errors (nothing catastrophic!) to use for teaching purposes.


Abedian School of Architecture, Bond University
Indoor seating space, Bond University
Fascinating interior architecture at Bond University
This is just so extremely cool!

Gold Coast


I would potentially compare the Gold Coast to being Australia's version of Orlando -- but with a beach.


The shoreline at Surfers' Paradise
View from my hotel in Surfer's Paradise

It's a tourist hotspot for both Australians and foreign visitors alike.


It's also the theme park capital of Australia.

The Gold Coast is home to Dreamworld (the largest park), WhiteWater World (waterpark), Wet'n'Wild (the largest waterpark), Warner Bros. Movie World and Sea World.


For those who like spending time outdoors, the whole region is basically one large outdoor adventure park.


For example:


  • You can walk the treetops at Mount Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

  • Go on a whale-watching cruise

  • Take an elevator 77 floors to the SkyPoint Observation Deck

  • Chase waterfalls at Lamington National Park

  • Swim with the turtles and rays at Cook Island

  • Cuddle a koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Take an Aquaduck (a bus/boat combo) tour of the city of Gold Coast


And so much more!


Surfer's Paradise is the liveliest part of town where most of the nightlife and shopping takes place.


Beach at Surfers' Paradise

Nestled equidistant (about an hour's drive) from the capital city of Queensland, Brisbane, and another popular tourist city of Byron Bay, the Gold Coast offers students so many options when it comes to getting out and exploring the region.


Coffee near the beach
Best coffee in Surfer's = Castaway Coffee Bar

Bond University - Summary


Bond University is a small, private institution nestled in a suburb near the Gold Coast, in the northeast of Australia -- a lively, well-located beachy place.


Bond's ethos is to put the student first, and academics even know the students by their first names.


With small classes, students get more personalized attention than most.


And with accelerated degrees due to its 3-semester system, students get out into the workplace quicker.


Studying at Bond is not going to be the traditional university experience.


But maybe that's just what you're looking for.


 

Interested in applying for college or grad school overseas?


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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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