Study abroad in Australia

G’day mate! So you wanna study in the land down under? Bloody beaut’ decision. Studying abroad is one of the most rewarding things you can do as part of your university life. Not only do you get to expand your knowledge by accessing some of the world’s leading institutions, but you’ll grow as a person, too – experiencing new cultures (including some weird and wonderful new English expressions), broadening your mind and otherwise just having a ton of fun!

Plus, Australia really has it all. Not only is the climate great and the laidback quality of life pretty awesome, Australia is actually also home to some of the world’s top universities . Whether you’re keen to take selfies with kangaroos, give surfing a crack, or spend your well-deserved study breaks down at the beach, you’re bound to come home with sand in your suitcase, some new additions to your vocabulary, and a bucketload of stories.

So what do you need to do to study abroad in Australia? We’ve put together a few bits and pieces to help you get started.

Picking a place in Oz, too many options

Finding study abroad programs in Australia

The first step is deciding where to study abroad in Australia, and finding the right program for you. Here are some useful pointers:

Check in with your current school or university
Drop into your campus’ study abroad office or do a bit of digging on their website. Let them know you’re looking to study abroad in Australia. There’ll often be partnerships or specific programs your school or uni can recommend, and you can ask for assistance with the application process. It can be a great place to start if you’re looking for a bit of guidance or support!

Look into scholarships
Studying abroad can be really expensive. Like, really expensive. And it’s a great idea to research what scholarships for international students in Australia are out there. Having a browse can give you an overview of what sponsorships you might be eligible for, which Australian universities offer scholarships for the courses you want to study, and whether your home country has specific scholarship partnerships with any institutions.

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Becoming a Foreign Exchange Student in Australia

So, you’ve decided to study abroad in Australia. What’s next? Now, you’ve got to find the right University, the right foreign exchange program, the right city, the right area, the right student accommodation, the right student visa, the right…what else?

It all seems a little daunting doesn’t it? Well, have no fear because we’re here to make your job a whole lot easier. Check out where and how to find the best foreign exchange programs in Australia. Not to mention plenty of helpful tips regarding exchange student requirements, costs and student living in the Great Big Land of Oz.

Foreign Exchange Student Programs

Best Area/Uni’s for Foreign Exchange

When it comes to foreign exchange in Australia, the first steps really are figuring out the best places to live for international students a.k.a the ideal study abroad location for you. Not to mention selecting the best university to study at in Australia. Here are a few of our fave picks:


Enjoying the Sydney harbour scenery in style

When you think of Australia, Sydney really is the iconic city that comes to mind. Sydney is a harbor city, home to the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and is flanked by an amazingly aesthetically pleasing, coastline. Being a student in Sydney comes with all the benefits of city living while still being just a ferry or bus ride away from beautiful beaches.

It’s also worth noting that Sydney is considered one of the world’s most culturally diverse and friendly cities, so it’s heaven and a haven for international students wanting to study in Australia. In light of this, it’s no wonder that Sydney has one of the biggest populations of international students in Australia.

Sydney is also home to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, so you can get a degree with pedigree. These unis include, but are not limited to, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University and University of Wollongong.


Melbourne’s iconic tram network

Melbourne is lesser known than Sydney city but don’t let that fool you. What it lacks in major iconic buildings, Melbourne more than makes up for in its vibrant cityscape. After all, Melbourne is renowned as the culture capital of Australia, and clinched numero uno on the Economist’s most livable city list for not one, not two, but seven years in a row! If Sydney’s a bubbling glass of champagne, then Melbourne is the full-bodied glass of quality red wine.

Melbourne is an ultra-trendy hub for the arts and culture, with its famous European-like laneways, hidden enclaves of artistic graffiti, tons of live music and art events, and funky coffee shops and bars hiding in every nook and corner. With all this in mind, Melbourne really sets an exciting backdrop to study abroad.

And let’s not forget to mention Melbourne is also a university mecca. There are tons of prominent universities that call Melbourne home, including the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Deakin University, and La Trobe University. So, the unis here really are yours for the picking. Plus, if you’ve got any budget constraints, the abundance of entertainment and restaurant options ensures that there is something for every purse size.


Spend your exchange by the beach

If you’re wanting the true-blue Aussie experience on your student exchange, Perth is the perfect city for you. Perth is famous for being one of the most isolated cities in the world, which pretty much equals Australian culture overload. Perth’s inner city has plenty going on, however in true Aussie fashion, this city takes life at a slower pace. So, you can kick back and enjoy.

In recent years Perth has become quite a trendy spot to study. Its undiscovered mystique makes it popular with millennials and students studying abroad who want a more off-the-beaten-track Australian exchange experience.

Perth’s biggest drawcard is that it’s home to some of Australia’s most beautiful, untouched beaches. So, you’ll have an overload of day trips up your sleeve. And if you want to experience that classic hot Aussie weather while you study abroad, Perth is one of the sunniest cities in the world with an estimated 320 days of sunshine per year!

Perth also has plenty of top-notch university options for foreign exchange students like University of Western Australia and Curtin University, and while there aren’t as many options as say Sydney and Melbourne, sometimes less really is more.

How and Where to Find The Best Foreign Exchange Programs

So, you’ve gotten a feel for where you might like to study. Now what? Exchange Programs, that’s what.

There are so many exchange programs out there that it can get a little confusing when it comes to choosing the right one. Just do a quick Google search and you’ll be inundated with pages upon pages of foreign exchange programs proclaiming to be “the ultimate exchange program for you”.

What exchange program to pick, decisions, decisions…

An easy way to circumnavigate all the marketing hype is to check out the web page for Council On Standards For International Education Travel (CSIET). On this website you can get a reputable list of exchange programs that’ll help you pick the quality programs from the vast quantity advertised on the web.

ISEP is also great website for finding exchange programs available to you. ISEP is a non-profit dedicated to overcoming the financial and academic barriers to studying abroad. The website essentially operates as a university finding search engine. Just enter your home university, and ISEP will find you exchange programs in a range of countries (just narrow the search criteria to Australia). You can also tailor the ISEP search results to suit your exchange program needs; academic level, academic qualifications, financial, campus type, and program type.

Which university will it be for your exchange program?

But ultimately, the single best and simplest way of finding an exchange program is to decide on which university you want to study at. Typically, most Australian universities offer study abroad programs. So all you have to do is pick your university, check out their exchange programs and apply.

To do this, just go to the website of your chosen university and you’ll find plenty of information regarding their exchange programs, courses and policies. Most university pages will outline a step-by-step process to apply for exchange with them. If you’re still feeling dazed and confused by the whole exchange business, you can also contact the uni directly (email/via phone) for any extra information you may need.

If you’re stuck on places to study, some of Australia’s most renowned universities (with great exchange programs) worth checking out include: La Trobe University, The University of Western Australia, Monash University, Curtin University, Deakin University, University of New South Wales, RMIT University, Macquarie University, and University of Sydney,

Applying For A Foreign Exchange Program

Now, if you want to do an exchange program you’re going to have to actually apply for one. Makes sense, right? Generally speaking, registering for foreign exchange programs isn’t a difficult task. You just have to sit down and do it! Here’s a basic step by step:

Step 1. Choose and apply for a Foreign Exchange Program at your desired Australian University. Simple enough.

Step 2. Get Your Language Proficiency Scores & Documentation

Want to be an exchange student in Oz? Then ace your English Test

This is the part where you need documentation to prove you can speak the Australian tongue (minus the slang). Foreign exchange application processes will require some proof that you can speak English. And if you don’t already have documentation, you’ll need to take a test to prove your English proficiency and subsequent eligibility to study in Australia as a foreign student.

In the case of Australia, you will most likely have to ace the IELTS test in order to be deemed a worthy applicant, though other popular English proficiency tests include TOEFL IBT and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE). The level of your English proficiency and the kind of test you need to take can vary from what University and/or course your applying for. So make sure you check the proficiency requirements of your exchange university to ensure you do the right test.

Step 3. Apply For Your Exchange Student Visa

Time to get your student visa approved

So, you’ve aced your English proficiency test and have a confirmed place at your uni of choice. Now it’s time to start the Visa Application Process.

For foreign nationals intending on studying in Australia, you’ll need to apply for the Student Visa (subclass 500). To be eligible you must be over 6 years old (easy enough), have health insurance (cheap enough), and finally, you must have been accepted to study at an educational institution in Australia.

For a step-by-step:

1. Create an online ImmiAccount
2. Complete an Australian Student Visa Application Form via your ImmiAccount
3. Upload copies of required student visa documents
4. Pay the application fee
5. Wait to be accepted…fingers crossed!
6. Then if you’re lucky enough to be accepted, time to book your flight and organise accommodation!

Foreign Exchange Student Living

Exchange Student Accommodation

Student accommodation, getting the real exchange experience

Now in order to be an exchange student in Australia, you’re going to need accommodation. How else will you rest your head between studying, partying and exploring in Australia?

Living with a host family is always an option, though it tends to be more popular for students that are on high school exchange. But let’s be realistic… when it comes to university and being a uni student you’re going to want a bit more independence, have your own space, have friends over at your place, meet new people and other exchange students, be central to your uni location, yada yada. This all works out a lot easier if you have student housing (that’s ideally a hop, skip and jump away from your university).

With student housing you are able to create your own home away from home, with your own private or shared apartment close to your university (to suit all your academic and social needs). As an international student, the independence of student housing allows you to really experience student life and adds another dimension to your exchange experience. Living in accommodation with other students (international or otherwise) is a great opportunity to makes friends, find a support group, and explore all that your campus has to offer international exchange students.

Tuition, Visa and General Expenses

Exchange student expenses, assuming you’ve got more than coins

When it comes to foreign exchange (and life in general) there’s always the question of money. How do you budget? What are the costs of being a foreign exchange student? Well of course, there are exchange and visa application fees, university tuition fees, accommodation and general living expenses.

The costs come down to how discerning you are with your money. While visa application fees are the same cost for everyone on the Australian Government Website, you have a lot more choice when it comes to exchange program tuition and accommodation. The going rate for university fees varies depending on your course and university institution, along with how many semesters/years you study for. To give you a general idea, a university semester costs on average $10,000-$20,000.

Still, studying overseas doesn’t have to cost you the Earth. Exchange and study abroad students can often qualify for scholarships or grants so ask your study abroad advisor to take advantage of any available funding to you.

Accommodation and living expenses have plenty of leeway to be either super expensive or super cheap. It all depends on how thrifty you are with your finances.  A great way to get a gauge of costs is to look up blogs of other international students who have lived in Australia, along with university price guides.

If you’re worried about general expenses, one of the best ways to keep up with costs is to get part-time work while studying. International students are eligible to clock up to 20 hours per week working in Australia, which will work out perfectly with your study timetable.

All in all, becoming an exchange student isn’t too hard, save for some minor hurdles. So just remember the step-by-step. Decide what city you want to study in—Make a list of your ideal Universities—Figure out which university offers the best exchange program for you—Ace your Language Proficiency Test—Apply for your exchange program—Apply for a student visa—Organise accommodation—Get your funds together—And book that flight ticket!

The student guide to scholarships in Australia

When you consider the warm climate, pristine beaches, laid-back lifestyle and epic quality of life, it’s no wonder Australia is such a popular destination for students. In fact, the island continent is attracting more and more international students each year, with a whopping 542,000 enrolling in 2018!

But studying in Australia can seem like an unobtainable dream if you consider the cost of flights, tuition fees, student accommodation, and living expenses. Pretty daunting, right? Luckily, there are a number of amazing scholarships out there for international students that you might be eligible for and which can make a huge difference to your situation.

These scholarships can help cover your tuition, health cover, airfares and even living expenses, easing the financial burden and letting you focus on your studies instead. Plus, winning a scholarship can look great on your uni transcript when looking into career options.

Before looking at some of the top scholarships in Australia for international students, here are a few important points to consider when trying to receive study sponsorship.

Sydney is just one of the amazing cities you can choose from if you’re studying in Australia!

Tips for international students wanting to apply for Australian scholarships

Get involved within your local community. Although some international scholarships are based on academic performance, there are scholarships out there given to students who demonstrate active participation within their community. That can include local clubs, sports teams, volunteer work and any other activities that demonstrate leadership and engagement. Be sure to include these in your cover letter, as they’re often taken into account – even with academic or financial need scholarships.

Ask for help if you need it. Your scholarship application is extremely important, and any spelling mistakes, errors or unclear presentation of your ideas could mean the difference between success and rejection. If English isn’t your first language or you’re unsure about what you’ve written, we strongly recommend asking a trusted teacher, friend or parent who is fluent in English to proof read your application and offer suggestions before you submit it.

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