The land of Oz has undeniable appeal for travellers from all across the globe. Australia boasts incredible natural beauty and landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef and the mysterious Outback. It’s also home to some of the most interesting wildlife on the planet, from the ridiculously adorable Koala bear to the curiosity of the platypus.
What you might not know about the land down under, is that it’s home to five or the top 50 universities in the world. The list of prestigious universities includes ANU (Australian National University), the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. Australia has long been a favourite destination for students from countries like the UK, USA and China as they can enjoy Australia’s beautiful beaches and culture while completing a world-class qualification.
So if you’re interested in taking the long flight to Oz and furthering your education with a degree, diploma or masters – here are is a quick guide to studying in Australia.
You’ll need a student visa
In order to make it through airport security when you arrive, you’ll need to have an approved student Visa. This involves proving to the Department of Home Affairs that you meet certain eligibility criteria:
- Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) – this is usually interview at the embassy you’ll need to complete in order to prove that your intent is to only temporarily stay in Australia.
- Financial Requirement – you will need to demonstrate that you can afford to cover the costs of your travel, studies, accommodation etc. during your stay
- English Proficiency Requirements – if you’re from a non-English-speaking country, you will need complete a test (like the IELTS) to prove you can communicate at the required level
- Health and Character Requirements – some students may be asked to complete a medical check and a criminal record check. You may also be required to show proof of health insurance for overseas students.
Choosing the right course
Before you can submit a Visa application, you’ll need proof of enrolment into a course. While some students might be looking to study in Australia as part of their qualification at an institution back home, some might be looking to complete a course that will allow them to enter the workforce as soon as they return.
This means that you should check that the qualification you’re looking to complete is “transferrable” to your home country. The curriculum between universities will always be different, and therefore it’s important to check that the qualification you complete in Australia is recognised in your home country. For example, a law degree in Australia will not be directly transferrable to the states, but would have some common grounds with the UK as Australia and other commonwealth countries share some commonwealth legislation.
This is particularly important for students looking to study in fields such as law, health, political science and some areas of engineering.
Australia also provides government loans to eligible students. Similar to schemes from other countries, students’ school fees are paid for by the government upon completion, and students are expected to repay a low or no interest loan once they begin earning an income. The benefit of this scheme is that students can enrol in eligible courses after high-school and won’t be expected to begin repayments until after they’ve entered the workforce and begun earning a full-time salary (usually around $35k or more).
There are strict eligibility requirements for government funding based on your age, citizenship, visa holding and residency. Each state also has its own programme for Vocational Education and Training (VET) – for example NSW’s Smart and Skilled courses can be reviewed here.
Where to study
A tricky decision to tackle is exactly where to study in Australia! While many go straight for a capital city like Melbourne or Sydney, where students flock from all over the world to experience local treasures like Bondi beach, you can also consider enrolling in a course in more remote, but equally beautiful areas.
Consider Western Australia for instance, where living costs are slightly lower than Sydney – or tropical north Queensland where temperatures rarely fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
So if you’re thinking about hopping on a plane to Australia to start your next adventure, make sure you choose the right course and ensure your Visa paperwork is sorted in advance. Once this part of the plan is locked down, you can start planning the fun stuff!