Australia is a dynamic, vibrant country with energetic, friendly people. Multicultural Australia is English-speaking and a safe and friendly society in which students can learn and travel freely.
Australia also offers excellent value for money and a standard of living that is among the highest in the world. Living expenses and tuition costs in Australia are considerably less expensive than the UK and USA. The other advantages for this country in the Asia Pacific Rim include paid internships while studying.
Let us explore why Australia now has around 38,4000 international students from over 140 countries in disciplines at every level of education, including short-term English language courses, Bachelor and Masters Degrees right through to Doctoral Degrees.
The Australian approach to vocational and technical education is now recognised as among the best and most innovative in the world. It enjoys an international reputation for excellence in all areas of education and training. Australian universities are widely recognised for excellence in many disciplines.
Institutions deliver practical and career-orientated training so graduates can be confident they have the skills demanded by employers. It has played an important role in Australia’s economic performance, by greatly increasing the skill of workers and contributing to improved productivity.
Australia has a reputation for adopting new technologies at a faster rate than in most other countries and enters the new millennium with one of the highest rates of internet access in the world. Facilities for teaching, training and research are world-class in terms of state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms, outstanding libraries and modern technology.
3. Qualification recognition
Australian qualifications are recognised by employers and leading educational institutions in many countries around the world. Moreover, most courses and training undertaken by international students in Australia are covered by Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). It is a system of learning which is authorised by the Australian government.
4. Quality assurances
Australia’s national quality assurance system is unique both in its structure and its rigour. International students, and even their parents, enjoy an unparalleled level of service and financial protection. The country is committed to providing quality education to students — be it national or international.
The Australian Quality Training Framework has been set up by the government to strengthen the quality assurance processes in education. Australia provides the world’s most rigourous protection for international students through ESOS.
5. Multicultural society
Australia is a safe, multicultural, friendly and harmonious society. Australians value the wealth of cultural diversity and social sophistication that international students bring to the campuses and communities.
Great care is taken in looking after international students and helping them to adjust to the Australian way of life. Australia has a low crime rate and strict gun control laws providing a safe environment.
One’s study plans are also not likely to be upset by political turmoil. People from about 200 countries have migrated to Australia, making Australia one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The multicultural nature of Australian society means international students are readily accepted by other students, and teachers are experienced in teaching classes to students from many countries.
6. Visa red-tapism
Most of us are familiar with the high-handedness of the American and the British visa officials. On any given day, a genuine visa application may get turned down for reasons best known to them. This is gradually going in favour of new academic destinations.
Students are more or less frustrated about the lengthy and costly visa application procedure for the US and UK. The Guardian has recently published a report saying UK visas should address the problems encountered by one-third of students in obtaining visas – 18 per cent found it a lengthy and difficult process even though their first application was eventually successful, 8 per cent were initially refused but received a visa on a second application and 5 per cent received one after appealing their initial refusal.
7. Cost of living
In Australia, a student gets value for money in terms of cost of living. The conversion factor is cheaper compared to the UK or US.
8. Job opportunities
While the UK closes doors for doctors and the US focuses more on IT professionals, international students have started to hit upon Australia which offers more job facilities in multiple disciplines. Be it in agriculture or aeronautics, accounts or actuaries, Australia offer work permits to international students like none other.
9. Possibility of more scholarships
Australia being comparatively new in terms of attracting foreign students offers more scholarship opportunities compared to the United States or the UK. It, however, needs to be kept in mind that Australia is a less populated yet vast country which can fit in employment opportunities at a rate faster than any other part of the world.
10. More research opportunities
Australia offers research opportunities to eligible professionals willing to enhance their career. The biggest advantage is Australia offers country-based research that is spread all over the continent. Selection for these highly regarded research opportunities are based on merit and is highly competitive, and a proven track record of academic excellence is a pre-requisite.
Despite a decrease in the number and proportion of student traffic, the British and the American officials seem reluctant to take a note of it although university officials project the dip in revenue. Slowly the wheel is turning full circle. Many a change will define the future of academic destinations for international students — the pattern right now strongly directs towards the continent of Australia.
The Australian education system
Australia’s education structure is similar to the UK, as is the length of courses with the majority of Masters taking one year. There are 43 universities in Australia, eight of which feature in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2013.
For both your institution application and your visa application you will need to meet a number of criteria:
- Academic requirements such as holding a recognised degree at undergraduate level to get onto a postgraduate course.
- English language requirements.
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which you need to have before you travel and must maintain throughout your stay.
Entry requirements will vary with each course and institution but generally a good degree from a recognised institution will be enough. Work experience may also be taken into account for entry to more practical-based courses.
As an international student, you need to pay your tuition fees before you start the course. Postgraduate Masters and Doctoral degrees can range from $14,000 (£8,357) to $37,000 (£22,088). Although this does not include high value courses such as veterinary and medical, so you need to visit institution websites for specific course costs.
Funding to study in Australia
The Australian government, universities and other public and private organisations offer a number of scholarships, grants and bursaries. Some examples of what’s on offer include:
- Australia Awards – bringing together scholarships offered by a number of agencies including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
- International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) – if you already have a graduate qualification, an IPRS scholarship lets you study in Australia with some of the best researchers in your field.
- Joint academic scholarship online network (JASON) – a postgraduate scholarship search engine for international students wishing to study in Australia.
Australian exchanges and placements
As a popular destination for gap year travellers there are a whole host of placement opportunities in Australia. Some places to start your search include:
- Intern Options offers internship opportunities in Australia.
- IAESTE (The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) provides science, engineering and applied arts undergraduates with the opportunity to partake in exchange programmes. These typically last up to 12 weeks during the summer.
The student visa you need depends on your chosen course of study. For more detail on each visa, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Study in Australia.
To get a visa you need to have:
- an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate;
- met the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement;
- English language proficiency;
- met health and character requirements;
- acceptable Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
Once you have your visa, in order to keep it valid you must:
- remain enrolled and maintain satisfactory course progress and attendance;
- apply for a new student visa if you wish to change your qualification level;
- provide your Australian address to your institution so they can contact you, and let them know if you change address;
- continue to be able to support yourself financially while you’re in Australia;
- not breach the working conditions applicable to your visa.