Tips for International Students
Welcome to Australia
Australia is an incredible country to visit with so much to see and do. There are busy major cities with lots of shopping outlets, beautiful coasts to explore and endless white sandy beaches – not to mention our weird and wonderful wildlife! The weather is usually mild year round, so you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
Australia is also a great place to live, as the lifestyle is relaxed and there are many places to socialise and enjoy student life in the major cities. It’s very easy to get close to nature as most Aussie cities are situated by the coast, so it’s only a short trip to the beach. There’s also lots of fun adventure activities, such as snorkeling, bush walking and this little thing called surfing.
Studying in Australia
Why study in Australia?
There are countless reasons to study in Australia. Australia is home to many prestigious universities, with seven of the top 100 universities in the world. That’s also the reason we are the third most popular place to study after the United Kingdom and United States.
Rough guide to term dates
Most universities in Australia have two semesters and offer the option of shorter summer courses over the end of year break. As summer in Australia is from December to February the longer university break runs during this time.
SIM cards and mobile phones
Having a mobile phone is important when studying in Australia to stay in touch with friends and family back home and socialise with your new friends in Australia. You can buy a cheap SIM when you arrive in Australia, that can easily be inserted into your current phone. There are many phone carriers that offer short-term contracts or commitment-free prepaid plans that you can top up whenever you’re out of credit. You can also purchase pre-paid international calling cards, so you don’t receive a big surprise bill!
Visas – Requirements, Working and Health Care
The Australian Government offers several visas to international students, depending on your study situation. Student visas currently available include Vocational Educational and Training, Higher Education and Postgraduate Research; offered over a longer period of time. You can also apply for shorter periods of study, such as a Visitor Visa with a maximum of 3 months or a Working Holiday Visa where you can study for a maximum of four months.
There are several visa requirements that you’ll have to meet before studying in Australia, such as an equivalent Year 12 Secondary Certificate. You’ll also be expected to have the money to pay for the return airflights, the cost of the course and the living costs while you’re studying in Australia.
Your University and Your Visa
Depending on the university and course you’re applying for, you may have to fulfill several requirements, such as an English language test, prerequisite subjects or work experience related to the area of study.
Working on your Visa
Most student visas allow you to work while studying in Australia. So you can get a casual or part time job and save up for fun activities on the weekend! Check out the job section in the newspaper, university job boards and online job sites. Keep in mind you cannot start working until your course has started and can only work for a maximum of 40 hours every fortnight.
You can find out more about visa requirements at the Australian Federal Student resource:www.studyinaustralia.gov.au
And a detailed of breakdown of visas available by country at the Department of Immigration:www.immi.gov.au
Banking – Account Types and Requirements
It’s a good idea to think about your finances before travelling to Australia. You can open a bank account before arriving downunder. There are many different banks and financial institutions to choose from that can provide you with a bank account with everyday access. Many banks provide student banking options for overseas students too. Some of the requirements include a copy of your electronic enrolment confirmation, letter of offer and passport.
You can find good overview information at Study in Australia: www.studyinaustralia.gov.au
Mozo also offer a good break down of what to look for and latest offers:www.mozo.com.au/students
The major banks in Australia are:
Commonwealth Bank: www.commbank.com.au
National Australia Bank (NAB): www.nab.com.au
Healthcare and your Visa
It’s a requirement of your Visa to have health care while studying in Australia, so you’ll be covered in the case of an accident! Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) provides you with medical care and hospital cover and is available for up to five years for monthly payments from a number of different providers.
You can find more information at the scheme at: www.immi.gov.au/students/health-insurance.htm
Customs & Holidays
Australian jargon can be confusing, especially when spoken in a broad Australian accent. Some of the basics that you may hear include “chook”, “togs” or “rad”. Sometimes “my” may sound like “me”. Feel free to ask the person to explain the meaning of the word.
Australia has a number of public holidays. Many of these are observed in other English speaking countries (e.g. Christmas, Easter and New Year’s) but some of them are uniquely Australian.
ANZAC Day and Australia Day celebrate fallen servicemen and the commonwealth respectively. Some states even have their own festivals – residents of Victoria get a day off for the Melbourne Cup in November. It’s a horse race!
The dates of these days vary, but the information is easy to come by. Bear in mind that while most transport in the major cities operates during public holidays, businesses generally don’t – including retail and public offices. Make sure you stock up on essentials the day before!
An overview of dates can be found at the federal information portal:https://australia.gov.au/topics/australian-facts-and-figures/public-holidays
Emergency Contacts and Other Resources
Embassies and Consulates
Australia has a large amount of Foreign Embassies and Consulates located across the country.
Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a full list.
International Student Representation – Bodies, NGOs, Quangos etc.
Most Australian universities and affiliations offer a body or NGO to represent the international students on campus. They protect the rights of international students studying at the university and provide services to assist you in your time studying in Australia.
The Council of International Students Australia also offer support for overseas students in Australia.
The Scape Team
The team who are here for you
Studying abroad is an exciting experience and our friendly Scape Team are here to help you settle into student life in Australia. Our on-site team offer plenty of useful advice and can answer any lingering questions, such as where the local supermarket is or how to find the nearest train station. We also keep you updated with any scape news on the notice board, via email and on Facebook.
If you have any questions on studying or living in Australia, feel free to get in touch!