The basics
Australia: Destination Guides

A beginner’s guide to studying in Australia

From career prospects all the way to support services – it’s all covered in our beginner’s guide to Australia as a study abroad destination.

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Not only is Australia the third most popular destination for international students worldwide, it also holds 7 of the top 100 universities in the world – not bad going for a country with a population of just 24.1 million!

 

One of the top reasons that Australia is so popular for international students is the high regard in which a degree from an Australian institution is held worldwide. Alyx Douglas, Content Editor from Murdoch University, explains this, “Australian tertiary institutions have so far produced more than 2.5 million international alumni, with 15 Nobel Prize Laureates being the product of the Australian education system.”

 

Away from that, there are lots of beautiful cities to explore, breath-taking student accommodation, numerous beaches to lie on and a vast array of wildlife to be admired.

 

Excited? Good, let’s start dissecting Australia as a study abroad destination. From support services to sports clubs and student societies, it’s all covered in our beginner’s guide to studying in the land down under.

 

 

Use our handy jump links to skip forward to whatever section interests you most:

 

Will studying in Australia help to further my career?

 

With eight universities in the top 150 of the 2018 Times Higher Education World Rankings, Australia is considered a very prestigious place to study. Not only do you get a great degree out of it, but most students will also be able to use their student visa to gain crucial work experience during their course.

 

It gets better than that, too! There is a service called CareerHub which is available across 35 universities in Australia that helps employers be put in contact with eligible graduates, meaning that graduate careers are more readily accessible for students. Most universities will have a strong careers service, with staff whose goal is to help international students get a job, and in turn, a work visa.

 

 

Foreign graduates are allowed to stay in Australia for up to three months after they graduate, so you have got to use that time to your advantage! Make sure you create a professional CV that meets national employer expectations, try to gain work experience whilst on your student visa, and make sure you prove yourself as invaluable for the company you’d like to work for if you get invited in for an interview.

 

Find out tips on how to have the perfect interview here.

 

Katrina Lee, a Murdoch University alumnus, explains that Australian universities give the perfect platform to go into working life, “Once I graduated from Murdoch, I felt as though I was equipped with everything I needed to make a start in the workforce. I am now employed by the university where I once studied, as a Student Support Officer, and get to help new students and current students with many of the same issues I faced during my time at Murdoch.”

 

So, there you have it, a well-organised education system can help students not only get good grades, but also a good job at the end of their degree.

 

If this gets you excited for taking a degree in Australia, have a look at our guide to the top three fields to study in the country to give yourself the best chance of getting a job there.

 

What is the student accommodation like in Australia?

 

Australia is famed for having a high standard of living. With sun-kissed beaches, diverse cities and high wages for its workers, you can see why.

 

 

At university, your standards of living continue to stay high, and your options for student accommodation are vast.

 

Whether you want to stay in privately-rented, or campus accommodation, there are some stunning places to live as a student in Australia.

 

Accommodation

 

From Iglu Central’s snazzy building where you get a private bathroom, fitted shared kitchen and plenty of storage space, all in the centre of Sydney’s business district. All the way to UniResort, a student apartment complex in Brisbane with 2 jacuzzis, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a sauna/steam room. What more could you want?

 

 

Most universities will recommend to stay at the campus accommodation, as it means you will have the best chance to meet as many new people as possible – giving you a smoother integration into university life.

 

At Murdoch University, for example, they have ‘The Village’, which is their university-run accommodation. The Village features a swimming pool, basketball/volleyball courts, pool tables, barbeques, and even a movie room with a 12-person lounge and games consoles! If you’re wondering about where you can do work, there is also a group study lounge, an E-library, a boardroom for group meetings and a seminar room with a data projector and whiteboard. It really does have everything you’ll ever need for the best possible university experience.

 

Murdoch University student, Fabian Thompson, said, “the first year and a half I spent at the Murdoch Village was one of the best times for me. I was new to Perth, having come from India, and so it was easy to make friends who were also new. Having a mixture of new and older students living together on campus was really useful as we could all attend events together and learn from one another. There were often events organised by the Village staff, such as pasta nights and BBQs, that could be attended by everyone, so that was another great way to meet people.”

 

 

You could also decide to stay in homestays or residential colleges. Patricia Petronio, the Accommodation Services Coordinator for University of South Australia (UNISA), explains that those options “are popular with students (and parents) wanting everything taken care of, including meals.”

 

Patricia also says, “Student Apartments & Student Hostels are popular with students who are keen to live in a student environment and are independent… Residents at UniSA Student Accommodation by urbanest have private ensuite bathrooms, a fully equipped gym, social spaces including a large balcony with BBQ and a big screen tv and games room.”

 

Campus life

 

But it’s not just BBQ’s and Jacuzzi’s that Australian university life has to offer. To welcome international students to their institutions, universities will host orientation events throughout the opening weeks of the academic year.

 

As well as the usual tours and inductions, some universities hold unique events so that students can really feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Student Support Coordinator Abbey Barnett from Murdoch University says, “A big drawing point of our International Orientation is the Welcome Dinner. This dinner now has a 15-year history and involves all of the new international students coming together for a huge dinner, where student volunteers and academics (including the Vice Chancellor) serve them their food. This event is fantastic for meeting other new students and making friends during the early days of their degree.”

 

There is also a student-led campaign which has been sweeping across the country. The ‘Never OK’ campaign is highlighting the very serious issue of sexual harassment on campus. It aims to educate, support and inform students about sexual assault and harassment by showing them the support services that are available around them if they are a victim of sexual harassment. The campaign is also encouraging students to talk about the issue without fear of judgement by getting key student members to support its cause. The aim is to make campus life more inclusive and comfortable for everyone.

 

If you are ever a victim or witness of sexual harassment, there are always student support services available at Australian universities. Never be afraid to ask for help, because no matter how it happens, sexual harassment is #NeverOK.

 

Join in the campaign by signing the pledge online and making sure you take action against sexual harassment.

 

What support services are there for international students at Australian universities?

 

Moving to a new country to study is not always easy, so it will be reassuring to hear that universities in Australia are aware of this and have a vast array of services to support international students. It is important to stress that your university is there to help, so whenever you feel like you need guidance, do not be afraid to ask for it.

 

Murdoch University place a particular focus on wellbeing and support for the unique circumstances that face international students. Abbey Barnett from their Student Support Team says, “Students can come to us with absolutely any issue they are having and the Student Support team will either help the student directly or refer them to someone who can better assist them, such as the school health services, which includes doctors, psychologists and counsellors, as well as visa or career advisors.”

 

 

Murdoch University also provide an Equity and Social Inclusion Office, which offers a range of services for disabled students and the ALLY Network (supporting individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex or queer), as well as running language and cultural exchange programmes. They also have a Student Guild which offers support for students in their pursuit of clubs and societies, off-campus accommodation, volunteering opportunities and social events.

 

The University of Queensland (UQ) also has a huge focus on international student support services. They provide student advisors for international students, meaning that you always have someone to speak to about any issues you may have. Student advisors are your first port of call when you have a problem, and they can help provide information about settling into Australia, how to cope with being homesick, where to meet friends and university policies.

 

“For personal and practical support, Student Advisors are well equipped to support and guide students. If students wish to explore any emotional or psychological concerns, the counselling services provides free therapy to ensure that students maintain a good level of mental health.” Says Student Advisor Diana Earl.

 

Along with UQU’s Club and Societies, UQ Mates is an initiative which helps students to meet new people, learn new skills and hang out with like-minded peers. Over 35,000 students at the university use the service. “UQ Mates and UQU’s Club and Societies ensure that students feel welcomed by inviting them to be part of the campus community, linking them in with social support and engaging them with like-minded people who will become life-long friends!” Says Diana.

 

 

It doesn’t stop there, either. A lot of Australian universities, such as UniSA and the University of Melbourne, offer an ‘On Arrival Reception programme’, which gives international students the option to be greeted at the airport and taken to their accommodation free of charge. Handy, right?

 

Dr Jane Kehrwald, the Manager of UniSA’s Student Engagement Unit, also explains “Some Divisions (Faculties) have an International Student Host programme, where staff host internationals students for a social event such as a BBQ.” The University of Adelaide offers a similar service called the ‘Experience Adelaide’ Programme.

 

Feeling reassured about going to study in Australia? Start your search for a course now!

 

 

What do international students think about studying in Australia?

 

Lew, University of Melbourne (2nd on the Hotcourses Diversity Index Australia list, with 17258 international students from 142 different nationalities)

 

Bachelor of Commerce

 

Year of graduation: 2015

 

“A fantastic university experience” 5 stars

 

Studying at the University of Melbourne has been an exciting experience. The University provides a stimulating academic environment where one is able to meet other like-minded and hardworking individuals. Situated close to the city, Melbourne city itself is beautiful and contains a melting pot of different cultural foods that international students will no doubt enjoy. I have no regrets studying in Melbourne, it has allowed me to enjoy my University life!

 

Say Leng, University of Adelaide (12th on the Hotcourses Diversity Index Australia list, with 7687 international students from 115 different nationalities)

 

Psychology

 

Year of graduation: 2017

 

“This is the best university in South Australia!”

 

I started my Bachelor of Psychological Science program in 2016 and I fell in love with this University. The lecturers in my psychological program and french studies are friendly and helpful, they look after domestic students as well as international students. The lecturers really care about how their students can benefit from the course content and from their teaching methods. Also, what I really love about this University is the lecturers here like to inspire students with their creative teaching methods. It made me feel that studying can be really interesting and can be a pleasurable experience.

 

Cheryl, The University of Queensland (3rd on the Hotcourses Diversity Index Australia list, with 13647 international students from 142 different nationalities)

 

Marine Science

 

Year of graduation: 2013

 

“Supportive Learning Environment” (4 stars)

 

“I’ve always had a passion for marine life and felt this course with a major in marine science would help me better understand the issues threatening marine biodiversity. As a marine science major student, I chose this university for my bachelor degree as UQ is known for its exceptional research facilities and supportive advisors who can offer insights into various areas of interest in the science field. Furthermore, with research stations located on North Stradbroke Island and Heron Island near the Great Barrier Reef, students can visit a wide range of places to carry out research projects and to gain valuable skills and experiences.”

 

Should I join a sports club/society at university in Australia?

 

“In Australia, sport is a way of life! In fact, it’s often said Australia’s cricket captain occupies the second-most important position after the Prime Minister!” Says Jamie Mitchell, from the University of Queensland’s sport department.

 

You may think that is a little extreme, but you really shouldn’t underestimate just how big sport is all across Australia. And at their universities, it is no different. As well as having the chance to represent your university in competitive sporting matches against rival institutions, you can also get involved in social sport.

 

Most universities in Australia will have a whole department dedicated to social sport, aimed at getting students involved in a variety of different sports. Whether you’re trying your hand at some ‘Aussie rules’, or getting back onto the tennis court to work on your serve, Australian universities pride themselves on having lots of sporting facilities to keep you occupied outside of lectures. It’s also a great way of meeting like-minded people who play your chosen sport!

 

UQ Sport operates the largest multi-sport complex in the state, so you’ll never be short on sporting options!” Jamie says, “Social sport is played around the clock – head for an early morning swim and catch a breath-taking sunrise, or hit tennis balls ‘til it’s past your bedtime. There’s truly a sport to suit every taste.”

 

 

 

Murdoch University Sports Officer, Teagan Jeffreys, backs that up by saying, “it is most definitely important for international students to play sports at university, as it’s an opportunity for them to try a new sport, make new friends and get involved in a way that will help them to make the most of their university experience.”

 

International students actively engage in sport across the universities too. In fact, a 2017 study found that of all UQ students who participated in on-campus sporting activities (approximately 5,400 students), roughly 2,000 were from overseas – that’s a whopping 37%!

 

“Joining a UQ Sport club is a great way to keep active and make friends while studying in Australia! Our clubs cater to all ages and abilities, with options to suit first-timers right through to elite-level athletes.” Says Jamie.

 

However, if you would prefer something a bit more competitive, there are lots of opportunities to represent your university on a national level. Australian University Sport is the governing body for university sport in the country, and they organise annual events such as the prestigious Australian University Games, which brings in over 6,000 athletes every year. The Games are a leading event in the university sport calendar and focus on bringing competitors together from all over Australia in a multi-sport competition, which is seen as the pinnacle for university sport teams around the country.

 

So, there you have it. Whether you’re looking for a bit of fun or some serious sporting competition, Australia has it all!

 

Has this got you excited about the prospect of studying in Australia? Get searching for a course now!

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About Author

Raif is a huge football fan and loves an infographic. He studied on the NCTJ-accredited University of Sheffield Journalism course, which has recently been voted the UK's number one for journalism in the Guardian's University League Table. Raif will look out for any mentions on social media, and will always be happy to help with any queries on your study abroad journey.

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