Why study in Australia?
Australia is a popular destination for international students. With a strong economy, work benefits for many new graduates, relaxed culture and high-quality education system, it is easy to see why.
The Australian economy remains one of the most buoyant in the developed world, with low unemployment and inflation.
Four of the world’s top 10 most livable cities are in Australia
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2013 Global Livability Ranking, four of the top 10 most livable cities in the world are in Australia – in fact Melbourne is number one! The other three Australian cities are Adelaide, Sydney and Perth.
This is based on a range of factors including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Australia is home to some of the world’s leading universities. 19 Australian universities were ranked among the top 400 universities in the 2013/2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Australian universities offer a high level of support to international students, including foundation years and pathways, academic support, English language support and consumer protection.
The opportunity to gain work experience with post-study work arrangements
Many international students now have the opportunity to spend more time in Australia following the completion of their studies.
The Australian Government recently made changes to the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) to introduce new work arrangements for certain graduates of an Australian bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. The new work arrangements for graduates, combined with Australia’s strong economy and low unemployment rates, make Australia an attractive destination for students.
Australia has a national regulatory and quality agency for higher education – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). It was established by the Australian Government to monitor quality, and regulate university and non-university higher education providers against a set of standards developed by the independent Higher Education Standards Panel.
In addition, the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) law protects:
- The wellbeing of all international students.
- The quality of students’ education experience.
- The provision of up-to-date and accurate information.
Education system in Australia
Australia offers a diverse range of study options for international students, with more than 1,100 institutions and 22,000 courses to choose from.
You can study at all levels of education from primary and secondary school, to vocational education and training (VET), from English language courses to higher education (including universities). Teaching at universities normally takes place in large group lectures and small group tutorials.
Regardless of what you are studying for or how long you are studying, Australia’s laws promote quality education and protection for international students. This includes the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (National Code). These provide nationally consistent standards for providers of education and training for international students.
Tertiary education includes higher education (universities) and vocational education and training (VET and TAFE colleges).
Australian Qualifications Framework
The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF is a national policy that shows how qualifications relate to each other at each level of education.
Cost of studying in Australia
Australia is an ideal place to enjoy a quality education and outstanding quality of life.
Australia offers value for your money, with living expenses (such as private rent) and tuition costs comparable with the United States and United Kingdom. You can earn a small amount by working part-time up to 40 hours every two weeks while you study. However, you cannot rely on this as your only source of income.
Visa requirements for Australia
There are several types of student visas for Australia; the one you need depends on the type of study you are planning to undertake.
You are required to lodge your application for a visa at least 12 weeks before the orientation date at your institution.
You will need the following documents for your visa application:
- Visa application form (which your education counselor will help you complete)
- Visa application fee
- Four passport-sized photographs
- Valid passport
- Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (once your counselor has applied to institutions for you)
- IELTS result (your counselor can book your place in an English test)
- Academic and work experience documents
- Statement of purpose
- Evidence of financial ability (tuition fees, living expenses, expenses for dependents, return airfare).
Employment prospects in Australia
During your studies
Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks during semester and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break, but before you undertake any paid work you need to make sure your visa allows you to work. Find out more at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
After your studies
Having an Australian tertiary qualification is highly regarded around the world.
If you have completed a bachelor, master or PhD degree, you may be eligible for the Post-Study Work stream of the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This may enable you to stay in Australia following your studies to gain practical experience working in your field.
Health and safety in Australia
Health services in Australia are high quality. Australia is comparatively safe and has a low crime rate. In most places, streets are clean, open and well-lit at night. The incidence of robbery and assault in Australia is relatively low, and Australia has strict anti-gun and anti-drug laws. As in any country, you must exercise caution and larger cities have some dangerous areas.
Insurance is required
As an international student, it is a condition of your student visa that you maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your stay.
OSHC covers some medical services (see your policy for specific details). Your OSHC must be arranged before departure for Australia and covers you from the moment you arrive. You will need to pick up your OSHC card from your health care provider (e.g. Medibank Private, Worldcare Assist or BUPA OSHC). Ask your institution’s International Student Office for assistance.
Australia’s health care system
Most large university campuses have an on-campus medical centre with quality doctors. All other campuses have at least a trained first aid officer and rooms for sick or injured students waiting for a doctor to arrive in emergencies.
There are medical centers and hospitals throughout all cities and towns, including many in suburban areas. There are 24 hour emergency centers at hospitals and in some suburbs.
Patients can request to see a male or female doctor.
It may be possible to find a doctor who speaks your native language. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection offers free interpreting services by telephone to help patients whose English skills are not strong.
Australia’s health care system is divided into ‘public’ and ‘private’. Public patients rely on the government’s national health insurance, Medicare. The public health system is high quality nationally so patients should not be concerned that services may be inferior.
Private patients pay annual fees for tailored health cover. Private hospitals run on a commercial basis.