Australia has long been a top destination for overseas students who are drawn to Australia for its amazing beaches, excellent universities, unique nature and vibrant cities.
Deciding to study overseas may be daunting for many students as it will involve leaving family and friends behind, learning a new language and getting used to a different culture. Despite the challenges, Australia is a diverse country that offers a wide range of opportunities for anyone travelling there to study.
For anyone considering relocating to Australia for study, here are some of the several exciting and rewarding things you can do during your stay.
Study at University
There are a multitude of courses available at Australian universities so with a bit of research, you should be able to find something that matches your academic ambitions, budget and career aspirations. If you are considering applying for a course you will need to get a student visa for Australia to give you the right to stay in the country and even work in some sectors. The student visa most people get is the Subclass 500 visa that allows you to remain in Australia for a total of 5 years in line with your university enrollment.
Australian universities such as the Australian National University and the University of Sydney are amongst the best in the world. They are top class institutions focused on promoting independent thinking, innovation and creativity, therefore many students find the learning experience challenging yet interesting, fun and rewarding.
When looking at universities to apply for you should first make a shortlist of universities and contact them individually to check if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Get a Grant or Scholarship
The cost of going to university is high, and unfortunately, promising students from around the world from poorer backgrounds cannot afford accommodation, travel and tuition costs related to attending university. To ensure these students get the right opportunities and later help fill skilled positions in the labour market, the Australian government offers thousands of scholarships each year to overseas students.
Occasionally difficult to find, internships are an excellent way for overseas students to get real-world work experience and see the theory they have learned put into practice.
Typically, completing an internship increases the chances of having a successful career and students can learn invaluable knowledge and practical experience in addition to starting to build a network where your job opportunities are likely to come from if you make a good impression.
Many Australians are passionate about volunteering some of their free time and labour to help out charities and NGOs. There are plenty of places for international students to get involved too with a range of causes and types of programs throughout Australia. Volunteering will give you the chance to experience in person the rich Australian architecture, art, food, literature, nature and sports.
Volunteering has many benefits including meeting other like-minded individuals, broadening your skill-set, and adding to your portfolio. Students that have volunteered often have better career prospects later as they gain valuable experience.
Find a Job
One of the benefits of getting an Australian student visa is that it gives you the right to work in the country, however during term time the maximum working time is 20 hours a week, whilst in breaks, full-time work is allowed.
Before working you should also need to obtain a tax number and open a bank account. Then you can start applying for jobs in a variety of sectors including administration, hospitality and retail. Working whilst completing their degrees is an invaluable source of hands-on experience for international students which also assists them in paying for their living costs. When applying for jobs it is worth asking local friends for advice on available jobs, standard pay and if the employer is reputable.
Explore During University Holidays
Australia is world-famous for its diverse biodiversity and varied landscapes which you can explore during semesters if they are close or take longer trips to explore the country during vacation time. Australia has something for everyone whether you love relaxing on the beach, surfing, camping in the bush, kayaking or snorkelling. Whilst exploring the country you are also likely to come across some of its unique wildlife especially if you visit a wildlife park where you can encounter crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas and snakes.
Join Social Groups
An effective and fast way to make friends, learn the language and share your interests and hobbies with others is to join a social group. These are also a great way to access a support group with shared interests that can help you to connect with other international students and most importantly local Australians. Some examples of social groups you can join are those focused on learning English, chess, sports, general meetups, mentor programs and discussions related to specific subjects.
Regularly going to social meetups and events is an invaluable experience for many international students that opens up opportunities for them to naturally learn English and make connections with the local community. Students who integrate better will have a more rewarding experience and better career prospects in Australia after they graduate in addition to preparing them for new opportunities overseas such as working in the UK backpacking around Europe.
Enjoy the Diverse Culture
Similar to the United States and much of Europe, Australia is considered to be a melting pot of various cultures, offering plenty of opportunities to leave your comfort zone and experience new things whether that be art, food or music. After a while, most international students start to feel comfortable in the multicultural backdrop of most major Australian cities and towns.
Join a Sports Club
Australia is a country that is crazy about sports whether it be Australian football, rugby, soccer or surfing. One way to help you integrate quickly and enjoy the great outdoors is to join a sports club at your university or even better in the local community. In addition to practising together, team social events will also provide you with vital real-world experience and help you to learn the language quickly.
Studying in another country can be an exciting yet slightly scary prospect for many international students, however, Australia is one of the most welcoming countries for overseas students with plentiful opportunities to study, socialise, travel and work.