Every year, thousands of international students come to Australian universities, including UNSW, to study for their degrees. Most of these students will visit our beaches at some point. Tragically, it’s not uncommon for international students to drown on beaches.

How much do international students coming to Australia understand our beaches and beach safety? The project: ‘Beach Safety Awareness of International Students to Australia’ involves developing an online survey to target incoming international students before they arrive in Australia and shortly thereafter.

Information obtained will include demographics, beach visitation, swimming ability, beach behaviour, and knowledge of beach safety and hazards. The results of the study will help inform universities about the type of educational material that should be developed to educate incoming international students about beach hazards.

This project will involve obtaining survey data and then conducting data analysis using Excel, SPSS or R. Interviews of students may also be involved.


The primary aim of this project is to establish an evidence-based profile of beach safety knowledge of international students in Australia. It will assist in developing future safety education material targeting this group.

Student benefits

You have the chance to tackle a problem of growing importance that will be of interest to universities throughout Australia and overseas. The experience of working with a real-world problem is extremely valuable when it comes to getting future jobs in the coastal sector.

You’ll gain the following skills:

  • data analysis
  • writing
  • science communication
  • presenting.

You’ll also get to work with a team of postgraduate students who are studying similar topics that you can bounce ideas off. You’ll be strongly encouraged to publish your honours work in an international journal, which will help enormously if you choose to apply for a scholarship to undertake postgraduate studies.

Supervisors work closely with honours students and are interested in honours projects. Students will get plenty of guidance, although they won’t be spoon-fed. Prof. Brander has a very good track record of supervising students to first-class honours results.

Get involved

To learn more about this project, contact Prof. Rob Brander.

T: +61 2 9385 2899