Education in Australia

 
 

Why Australia

Why study in Australia

More than 450,000 international students were enrolled in Australian institutions in 2007. Students come from around the world to learn in Australia’s dynamic, exciting study environment.

Students come to Australia for many reasons including:

  • the excellent education system
  • the range of courses from school to postgraduate degrees
  • the many types of specialist institutions
  • the worldwide acceptance of Australian qualifications
  • the innovative teaching and learning
  • the quality of scientific research
  • the support for international students
  • the safe environment
  • the multicultural society.

An Australian qualification will develop you personally and professionally. It is your passport to a well-paid career and a secure future.

Successful graduates from Australian institutions are working globally at the highest levels in government and business. You’d be surprised by the Australian alumni in your own country.

living in australia

Living in Australia

Australia is a great place to live – a safe, friendly, multicultural environment which welcomes international students and visitors from around the world.

You can make the most of your study experience by immersing yourself in Australian life. Enjoy the culture, the food, the sights and the people!

In addition to your Australian qualification, you will gain from your exposure to a different society. International students say that it has increased their confidence, independence, resourcefulness and developed other personal attributes.

On the following pages, you’ll find some details on the essentials of living in Australia. For more information, talk to your local IIEC counsellor. Many IIEC counsellors have lived in Australia themselves and can tell you about their experiences.

Cost of Living

Cost of living

The cost of living for international students is significantly lower in Australia than in countries like the USA and the UK.

The average international student in Australia will spend around AU$700 to AU$1000 on living costs including accommodation, food, transport, telephone and entertainment.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs advises students to have AU$12,000 to AU$18,000 per year.

Where you choose to study and how you choose to live in Australia will affect your costs. For example, living in a regional area or in an outer suburb is usually cheaper than in the main city centre. Your choice of transport is also important in terms of costs – riding a bike or using public transport is cheaper than buying and running your own car.

Accommodation in Australia

Accommodation

You can choose where you live in Australia. IIEC can provide information and help you find accommodation. Your choice may depend on your level of education, personality, study style and financial situation.

The accommodation options for international students are:

  • On-campus residences
  • School boarding houses
  • Homestay
  • Rented accommodation.

When you first arrive, you may stay in a hostel or guest house while you are working out your accommodation. Institutions often have links with local hostels which may provide discounts to students. Hostels and guest houses are about $80 to $135 a week and hotels are $50 to $100 a night.

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On-campus residences or colleges

These are offered at universities and some vocational institutions. Depending on the level of services, they cost between $100 to $400 a week. You’ll usually have a separate bedroom but share other facilities such as the bathroom, recreation area and laundry. Some residential colleges provide three meals a day in a common dining room, while others have a shared kitchen where students cook their own meals. Some are single-sex, while others are co-educational. Some have a religious affiliation.

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School boarding houses

Most primary and high school international students live in boarding houses on the school grounds. You’re likely to share a room with other students. Bathroom, dining and recreation areas are shared. You’re provided with three meals a day. Students are supervised at all times. Boarding fees range from $10,000 to $20,000 a year.

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Homestay with a local family

Homestay means living with an Australian family and immersing yourself in the Australian way of life. Homestay can be either a “room only” arrangement or “full board” where the host family provides meals. For many parents of international students, homestay means security as their children are living at home with responsible adults. Homestay is often arranged through the education institution to ensure that students are placed with an appropriate family. This is often a good option for younger students including high school students and English language students. Homestay fees are from around $110 to $270 a week.

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Rented apartments and houses

In Australia, students often share an apartment or house with others. There are usually two to four students in a share house. You have your own bedroom but share living areas, kitchen and laundry. Rent, electricity, gas and telephone costs are shared. You can live alone if you prefer. This is also a great option for students with families. Universities often have an accommodation office to help with finding a rental home. Rental costs depend on the area, city or regional location and style of house or apartment. For a single person in a shared house, costs are from $70 to $250 a week. To rent out an entire apartment or house can cost from $100 to $600 depending on the size and location.

Transport

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Getting to your institution from your home country

Australia’s capital cities all have airports and most of these have international terminals. Many other cities and large towns also have airports. You’ll fly into a major city and then, dependent on the location of your institution, fly to another town or catch a bus or train.

Some institutions will arrange to meet you at the airport. At the beginning of each year, IDP sets up a meeting point at Sydney and Melbourne airports to help you. We also have an airport pick-up service that you can book for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Australia is a large country with an extensive transport network. Be aware that there are long distances between cities and towns. Planes, buses and trains link between cities and regional areas. Cars are popular, particularly in country areas. If you want to drive, make sure you have an international driver’s permit, usually available through your country’s motoring association.

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Getting around

Cities have public transport networks supported by buses, trains, trams and ferries. You can buy weekly tickets which give you a discount. Student concessions are available to international students in all states except NSW and Victoria.

Buses are the cheapest option between cities, followed by trains and the planes. Recent competition in the airline industry has meant cheaper plane prices – particularly when tickets are bought online.

Education System in Australia

Education System

The Australian education system is broadly divided into the university, vocational, school and English language sectors.

University is the highest level of study in Australia. There are 41 universities in total – 38 public (government funded) and three private. You can study at the undergraduate level (Bachelor degree) or postgraduate level (Graduate Certificate, Diploma, Masters, PhD).

Vocational institutions are closely linked with industry, making courses very practical and skill-based. Vocational courses are provided at both the government-funded Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and at private institutions. Some universities also offer vocational courses.

School is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 15 years, with exams for university generally at 18 years old. Australian schools are public (government) and private (religious or independent).

English language courses can be taken for study, travel, immigration or business purposes. There are around 100 private English language centres in Australia. Some universities and vocational institutes also offer English language courses.

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Entry requirements

Australian institutions have two sets of entry requirements: academic and English language skills. If you do not meet the requirements, you may be able to do a bridging or linking course.

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Academic entry requirements

Australian institutions set down their own academic requirements for entry.

As a general guide:

  • Undergraduate courses require the equivalent of an Australian Senior School Certificate of Education (Year 12).
  • Postgraduate courses require the completion of a first degree at undergraduate level.
  • Vocational study is not necessarily based on academic performance. But some courses may have pre-requisite subjects or ask for demonstrated work experience.
  • Schools have varying entry requirements. Some may focus on academic skills, others on sporting, and some may be limited by numbers.

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English language skills

To be accepted into a course, you may have to meet the minimum English language requirements as set down by your chosen institution. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the only test accepted for student visa purposes. See the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for further information.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, it may be possible for you to do additional English study in Australia before starting your course

Vocational Education and training in Australia

Vocational Education & Training

Australia’s vocational education and training programs are known for their practical skills and job-ready approach.

You can do a vocational course to begin a career, as a pathway to university or to gain practical skills to advance your career.

Courses have a practical focus and many provide work placements. They are designed together with professional and industry bodies to meet the current needs of the global marketplace.

Vocational institutions offer over a thousand courses in every industry from engineering to computer programming, cookery to hotel management, legal studies to business management.

The vocational institutes are divided into private colleges and government-run TAFE institutes (Technical and Advanced Further Education). Some provide a range of courses while others specialise in one field, such as hospitality or aviation. Courses vary from six months to three years.

The vocational qualifications are listed below and they all link to each other. To understand more about each level, see the Australian Qualifications Framework.

  • Certificate I, II, III and IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma.

A vocational course can be a pathway to university for students who may not meet the entry requirements. Many institutes have links with Australian universities and provide acceptance into a bachelor degree, dependent on your grades.

 
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