17th November 2014
After the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia is the third most popular English-speaking destination for international students. With a diverse nature and a friendly community, the Australian lifestyle has a lot to offer for those who are willing to travel across the globe for their studies. Here is the essential information to know when advising students on studying in Australia.
How well recognized is the Australian education system?
The quality of Australian universities is consistently recognized by employers internationally. In the last edition of the QS World Universities ranking, there were no less than 8 Australian universities (out of 42 in the country) in the top 100. Australia has an education system based on the British model, which often makes its degrees recognized as the direct equivalent of qualifications from UK universities. This is particularly true of professional degrees (like nursing, engineering or medicine): national regulatory bodies for these professions often have agreements in place to ensure that graduates from one country are approved to work in the other.
What are the different options for education in Australia?
There is a wide variety of options to choose from between university, vocational education, or English language training. While Bachelors degrees are recognized as equivalent to UK qualifications and take the same time to complete, there are some differences to consider. For instance, the number of teaching hours can be slightly longer in Australia, usually between 12 and 16 hours per week. Australian degrees also offer more flexibility, by allowing students to choose a ‘major’ (e.g. business, arts, etc) and pick various subjects (known as ‘electives’) that suit their interests, and ultimately their career goals.
Likewise, Australia offers vocational education to international students (the Technical and Further Education system), through various institutions that deliver practical and career-focused programs. Like in the UK, those programs combine a mix of practical work experience and theoretical knowledge, both of which employers value. For international applicants, applying to vocational programs is a practical way to increase their odds of becoming permanent residents.
For more information about universities and courses, students should contact Study Options.
Is it expensive to live and study in Australia?
While tuition fees and living expenses are lower in Australia than they are in the United Kingdom and the United States, students need to plan carefully to ensure they can afford the Australian experience. For undergraduate programs, students should expect to pay between A$10,000 and A$16,500 per year (£5,475 - £9,035), although some degrees in medicine and engineering are more expensive. Some scholarships can be offered to international students, but are limited in amount and number. However, international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during their time at university, which helps them to cover their tuition and living expenses.
For international transfers, students should make use of TransferWise to move money securely and cheaply.
What are the accommodation options in Australia?
There are typically 4 options for accommodation for international students: on-campus housing, homestay programs, hostels or private apartments. Generally speaking, over 90% of students live off campus, but some universities provide housing options for them. Students should expect to pay A$80-A$250 (£45 -£135) per week, but also expect the rooms to be limited due to popular demand. Homestay programs offer international students to live with Australian families (between A$110 and A$270), which is a great way to immerse themselves in the Australian lifestyle. A cheaper option is to stay at hostels for A$80 – A$135 a week, where kitchen and bathroom facilities are shared. Finally, students can choose to live in a private property, alone or with flatmates. They should expect to pay between A$100-A$400 per week, or A$70-A$250 for a shared accommodation. Like in England, these accommodations usually require payment of rent in advance, as well as a security payment.
What do students need to know about the visa process?
To obtain the right to study in Australia, students who do not hold Australian citizenship need to apply to the Overseas Student Program (OSP), a special visa to allow them to live in Australia for the time of their degree. A letter of acceptance, proof of payment and proof of funds to cover living expenses will be required when applying.
Further information about the visa process can be found here.
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For similar articles on advising students on applying to university abroad, check out: Netherlands, Canada, Ireland.
Photo credit: Janita, Flickr