"Australia will always be home," Irwin says in the latest issue of PEOPLE

By Patrick Gomez
Updated October 30, 2015 09:10 AM
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Credit: Ari Michelson

Bindi Irwin may have recently graduated high school, but that doesn’t mean the 17-year-old has plans to leave the nest any time soon.

“Australia will always be home,” the daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin says in this week’s issue of PEOPLE.

When Bindi isn’t living in Los Angeles because she’s competing on season 21 of Dancing with the Stars, the young conservationist lives and works with her family at Australia Zoo in Queensland, but she also completed her schoolwork there as well.

“Living at the zoo, it’s a lot easier to study online because I have all the tools at my fingertips. I can learn from my own surroundings. That helps a lot,” says Irwin, who has already completed some college courses online.

“I’ve really been focusing on getting through school so that I can focus on what I love – my conservation work, working at Australia Zoo and filming. Those things are where my heart truly lies,” she says.

Bindi has already earned a degree certificate in business and plans on earning one in tourism next.

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“I never knew how much I already knew about business and tourism until I started taking these courses. We just started ticking things off,” she says of her college workload. “After I’m done with that, I want to go to work full-time at the zoo. I love working there.”

For more from Bindi – including her relationship with her “incredible” boyfriend and how she’s honoring her father’s legacy – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now