Frequently Asked Questions
We realize that you will have lots of questions, and that it's hard to wait till the next information night, so we have compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. This FAQ is very much a work in progress and we will be adding to it as more questions and answers come to mind.
What's the time difference between Denver and Sydney?
That's a good question, since the time difference varies as both NSW and Colorado start and stop daylight savings on different dates. To reduce any chance of confusion, displayed below are "real time" clocks for both cities.
Am I really likely to have a white Christmas in Denver?
Another a good question, in these days of global warming and generally unstable weather, your guess is as good as mine, however statistically you have a better than 50% chance of having at least 25mm of snow on the ground on Christmas morning. If you are paired with someone who lives in the foothills behind Denver your chances head up into the +90% region.
Do I still have to go to school if it snows?
Well.... that depends on whether the Jeffco School District declares a snow day or not, but yes if it snows heavily, transport to and from school can become problematic and schools will close. The best place to find out about the school closure policy is to click here which will take you to the Jeffco website.
Will I be affected by the altitude in Colorado?
Most people coming directly from sea level (i.e. Sydney) will suffer some minor effects of altitude on visiting Denver at 1659 metres but a couple of days acclimatization will soon see your body adapt. For more details on the affects of altitude click here. It's most likely a good idea to wait a week or so before visiting Mt. Evans at 4346 metres. Keep hydrated, you will need to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated at altitude (as a guide it is recommended to drink at least 3 litres of water a day if you are going above 3500 metres, that's a lot of water!!)
What will the weather be like in Colorado?
Trying to accurately forecast the weather is fairly difficult impossible, but the general climate can be predicted fairly well. Your stay in Denver will be from July through to early January, and as such you will get to experience 3 distinct seasons, summer, fall (autumn) and winter. There are 4 main geographical factors that influence the Denver climate. Firstly it is in the northern hemisphere, so the seasons are reversed (December is in winter and July is in summer.). Secondly it is located at relatively high altitude. Thirdly it is in the middle of very large continent not on the coast like Sydney. Fourthly it bordered on the west by high mountains. Lakewood has a humid continental climate with strong semi-arid influences. Lakewood's climate features snowy, cold winters and warm to hot summers, with great temperature differences between seasons and between day and night. Precipitation is concentrated in spring and summer months.
We have included 3 climate graphs (one each for Lakewood, Evergreen and Sydney) which will enable you to compare the different climates. Please note that each of the climate graphs have identical scales so it is easy to compare the climate data, however for obvious reasons the Sydney graph does not contain any snow data.
If you are interested in the current weather and short term forecasts for either Sydney or Lakewood just click on the digital clocks at the top of this page and you will be linked across to the relevant weather forecasts. If you want to see what it's like in "Lakewood" at the moment click on the picture to the left to see a webcam image looking towards the mountains on the western edge of Denver.
Will I have to keep up with my studies while I'm in the US?
A simple question with a simple answer.... YES!! The exchange is an educational exchange and as such both the American and Australian education systems require that you maintain certain minimum academic standards whilst on the exchange. The Jeffco school system is a little bit different to the NSW system you are familiar with and may initially seem fairly daunting but fortunately it is relatively easy to cope with by following a few simple steps.
• Be prepared, lessons will start on your first day of school!
• Participate in and contribute to all class activities!
• Punctually attend all classes (roll is recorded in every class!)
• Complete all homework and submit on time (no prizes for handing in late)
• Complete and submit all assesment/assignment tasks on time.
• Use the Campus Portal computer system to monitor your progress. You don't have to wait for end of semester reports, you can log in any time to see exactly how you are performing! (Your parents can do the same, so there is nowhere to hide!!)