5 Things to Know Before Studying in Australia

As a country with a strong economy, labor force and a lifestyle that’s unmatched by any other, people come from all over the globe to study in Australia.

In fact, of our 1.3 million or so students, around 25% are studying here from overseas. Australia is also the third most popular destination for international students – not bad for a country with a population of only 24 million!  

To help you figure out if Australia’s the right place to do a university degree or another course below is a list of the five things you need to know before studying in Australia.

1. Australia’s education system ranks very highly on the global stage

Australia isn’t just home to unique animals like koalas, kangaroos, and emus. It’s also home to an education system that ranks in many top lists worldwide. Here are the fast facts:

  • Australia took out 1st place for education in the 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index that ranks countries for their success in key areas
  • Australian universities are ranked 10th in the world, beating Germany and Japan
  • 7 of the world’s top 100 universities are Australian, including The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney
  • We have 5 of the 30 top student cities in the world, with Melbourne, Victoria taking out 2nd place and Sydney, New South Wales taking out 4th place. Educating international students is actually Victoria’s biggest export!

So far, over 2.5 million international students have studied in Australia, spreading their knowledge and skills around the globe.

There are also around 22,000 courses at 1,100 institutions across Australia. In 2014, most international students studied management and commerce (39%), followed by society and culture (17%), engineering and technology (10%), natural and physical sciences (9%), information technology (8%) and health (7%).

2. Australia: Known for innovation and research

Australians are an innovative bunch, with 1 billion people worldwide relying on Australian discoveries, technologies, and innovations every day. This includes penicillin, IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), ultrasound, Wi-Fi and bionic ears.

Impressively, Australia accounts for almost 4% of the world’s research output, despite only having around 0.3% of the world’s population. In 2014, the government spent a staggering $10 billion on science, research, and innovation, with $2 billion also going to higher education research.

If you’re thinking of doing postgraduate research, Australia is the place to study.

3. The wide range of Australian student visas available

There is a range of Australian student visas available to international students, depending on the type of study you want to do.

This includes Australian student visas for:

  • Undergraduate studies at university or other higher education providers (e.g. Advanced Diploma, Bachelor degree or Masters degree)
  • Courses with a job training or trade focus
  • Structured workplace-based training
  • Postgraduate research at university (e.g. Masters or Doctoral Ph.D.)
  • Other types of courses such as English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

What an Australian student visa lets you do

In general, an Australian student visa lets you:

  • Study the course you have the visa for
  • Bring any eligible dependent family members with you to Australia (e.g. children or other family members who need financial or other support from you)
  • Work up to 40 hours a fortnight while your course is in session and an unlimited amount while you’re on scheduled study breaks

4. Australia is a multicultural country

As an international student in Australia, you’ll fit right in with this multicultural country. Here’s why:

  • About 25% of Australians were born overseas and around 50% have a parent who was born overseas
  • Many different languages are spoken in Australia, with Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese and Greek being the most spoken aside from English
  • Around 20% of Australians speak a language other than English at home
  • Australians identify with over 270 different ancestries
  • Fun fact: Melbourne, Victoria has the largest Greek population outside of Greece!

Aside from a rich tapestry of cultures, Australia’s multiculturalism has lead to a delicious smorgasbord of international food such as Thai, Chinese, French, Mexican, Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian, to name a few.

Don’t forget to try a traditional Aussie ‘barbie’ (barbecue) of sausages in bread buns and salad, though!  

5. Australians are happy little vegemites

It’s not just the slogan of our infamous salty toast spread – as the 7th happiest country in the world, Australians really are ‘happy little vegemites’!

Aside from a world-class education system, Australia has great job opportunities, some of the largest housing in the world, a diverse arts scene, delicious food, nature at your doorstep and more wine regions than you can count fingers.

What a lifestyle to experience while you’re studying in Australia!

It’s no wonder, given Australia’s natural wonders

Seemingly endless sunshine, stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, luscious rainforests, breathtaking landscapes… Australia has it all!

Nature lovers and the curious at heart can visit over 500 national parks, more than 2,700 conservation areas, and 17 classified UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National Park. That means Australia has more World Heritage sites than any other country!

Australia’s international students are happy little vegemites, too

In 2014 the Australian Government surveyed Australia’s current international students and found that:

  • 87% were happy with their overall experience in Australia
  • 88% were happy with their overall experience studying in Australia
  • 89% were happy with living in Australia

About the Author

This article was written by Darrell Todd from thinkingaustralia. Darrell is Australian and has the inside scoop on Down Under. Affectionately known as Billabong Billy, he’s passionate about Australia and over the past 25 years has been helping thousands of people come to Australia to work, study, holiday or live. Follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and website.