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08 December 2009

C is for ... Crocodile; Coffee; College

Once again, I couldn't decide which of the C words should go into this Aussie alphabet so I put all 3 in.


Fab facts for all ages about crocs:


This post pretty much explains the history of coffee in Oz and why it is a national obsession.

and this gives a sense of the intensity of the love affair --


"College" here has a few meanings. In general though, what it doesn't mean is an institution that offers bachelor's degrees and some graduate degrees. For that you have to go to university -- of course, it's called "uni" because this is Australia and no energy is wasted on unnecessary syllables. So "college" can be:

1. a branch of TAFE (Technical and Further Education), which is roughly equivalent to a US community college, where you can study things like watchmaking, beauty, meat retailing, ASL (Australian Sign Language), and practical nursing. However, these are usually called "TAFEs" and not "colleges."

2. a secondary school, generally private, corresponding to US grades 7-12. This makes it very confusing until you get used to "college" meaning something very like "high school." Many are at least nominally affiliated with a church, some have boarding options, Latin mottos, and so far they all seem to have uniforms. Most of the time when I have heard people talking about "college" they've been talking about this kind of place.

A few post-secondary colleges are specialized, for example art colleges, and can grant bachelor's degrees, but most give certificates. Sometimes the credits earned can be applied to advanced standing in a university. TAFEs and their ilk are supposed to be a way of getting into university for those who didn't do so well in high school, a similarity to US community college.

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