Choosing a destination to study abroad can be an tricky choice for many students. However, those who’ve been to Australia will testify that it was one of the best experiences of their lives. Besides kangaroos, chilled vibes, and its famous outback famous from film and TV, Australia is one of the most attractive nations in the world economically, academically, and culturally. Cities like Melbourne and Sydney are world famous, but cities like Perth, Brisbane or Canberra to name a few also regularly top global charts for livability and as business destinations. This country just has so much to offer!
In this spirit, here’s a practical guide with some essential information for university students contemplating an academic semester or year abroad to the land down under.
Generally speaking, Australia is considered to be one of the top-performing countries in the world. Its part of the UK Commonwealth and has a thriving economy with a rich, cosmopolitan culture. It’s also among the top 5 destinations for international students, attracting thousands every year. Choosing Australia for a study abroad is bound to pay off in the future, seeing as it has some of the most employable graduates across many industries. Lastly, if you’re a fan of a mix of beautiful urban and natural sceneries, then you definitely won’t regret your decision.
University Selection Process
Australia prides itself on having one of the finest educational systems. You should conduct research to find a program that suits your academic needs and interests. You can study virtually anything you want in the country, with strong programs in many fields including engineering, medicine, business, law, economics, social sciences, architecture, or arts. Accordingly, your city of choice will depend on which university offers your desired specialization. A good place to start would be your home college’s study abroad office to see if they have exchange programs with Australian universities. If not, check out the institution’s website for yourself, contact the local admissions office, and engage the application procedure. It’s best to start this process at least 6-8 months prior to your scheduled departure.
Since they’ll generally be staying for over 3 months, international students will need to apply for a student visa. Now, once you’ve been accepted, paid your tuition, and received your Confirmation of Enrollment from your university (CoE), visit the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ website, upload all required documents, and pay your visa fees (depending on your home country). All of this can be done online. Once that’s complete, you’ll receive a reference number to check on your visa application status. It will take several weeks to issue, so be patient and do it as early as time allows. Note that foreign students are required to purchase special health coverage (OSHC), to be discussed with your university.
Now that Australia is finally welcoming you with open arms, you’ll have to decide whether you prefer on-campus or off-campus accommodations. The first offers proximity and convenience, while the second is best if you’re not shy of exploring the city and mingling with the locals. If you’re staying in a city like Brisbane, the country’s third-largest, finding quality student accommodations shouldn’t be too difficult to secure. With some research, you’ll find a nice apartment that’s ideally located and offers great amenities. In any case, allow yourself a reasonable budget, and make sure to reserve a few weeks in advance.
One thing to know about the Land Down Under is that given its position in the southern hemisphere, seasons are inverted; summer runs from December to February (the ideal time for a study abroad). This should help you pack your clothes accordingly. Don’t leave without your phone, laptop, camera, accessories, chargers, and the like. You’ll probably want a local SIM card as well as adapters. Don’t forget a basic toiletries bag and other essentials for your first nights. College supplies and textbooks can be purchased on-site.
You’ll find that Australia boasts a variety of activities to keep you active and curious, both indoors and outdoors. Whether it’s a day trip to the beach, a walk downtown in the bustling metropolis or visits to museums, art galleries, restaurants and bars, you won’t ever get bored. Aussies are super laid-back and welcoming folks, so you should not have any trouble making new acquaintances and finding someone to take you under their wing. Interacting with the people and familiarizing yourself with the local accent and phrases is bound to facilitate your immersion. You also don’t want to miss a good hike, surfing session, or snorkeling exploration on a sunny weekend.
For the most part, students who’ve spent their academic year abroad in Australia came back home happy, fulfilled, and with a desire to return! The quality of education, the environment, the people; all things considered, there are a thousand and one reasons why this iconic destination should be on your student bucket list. Just remember to take care of all paperwork, preparations, and reservations well beforehand to enjoy everything this country has to offer.