Australia is one of the top student destinations in the world and no wonder it attracts a large number of international students every year. World-class universities, high living standards, friendly people, best job opportunities and beautiful places to explore are some of the top reasons why students choose to study in Australia. But don’t be mistaken that getting a student visa is just enough to start a successful academic life in Australia. It is very different from other countries and we recommend you to conduct good research about life in Australia before you start applying to various Australian universities.
Whether you choose to apply on your own or seek help from foreign education counsellor, there are few things that you should know about Australia so that you can make an informed decision. Here are the top things to know before heading to the land down under.
1. Australian slang is unique
When you are in Australia, you will notice that Australians speak very fast and have a unique slang. Australians skip the pronunciation of letters and they use a lot of abbreviations. Yes, Australians like to shorten their words. For example, Australians will often say ‘ta’ in place of thank you and says ‘brekkie’ meaning breakfast. So instead of saying ‘we’ll meet this afternoon’, Australians will say ‘we’ll meet this arvo”. ‘G’day’ is slang the use for greeting good day, which means hello. It is better that you come prepared so that you can get the hang of the Australian dialect. Learn a few words and phrases that Australians use on a daily basis so that you can communicate with locals and your colleagues without feeling awkward.
2. Australia is huge
You may think that it’s just another foreign country but Australia is more than what you have imagined. It’s a huge continent with varied landscapes with a vast stretch of beaches, rainforests and bushlands. Exploring Australia is a dream for many and exploring the wonders of this land is not as simple as it sounds. Be it the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, Uluru, the Twelve Apostles or the Great Ocean Road, this continent never ceases to amaze the visitors. If you are a student coming from another country, you may be excited to have a glimpse of Australia’s stunning landscapes and rare species. But travelling from one place to another is quite expensive and as a student, you may have to save more money to be able to do some sight-seeing. Some universities have campuses located in scenic regions near the ocean and bushlands. According to your likes, you can choose to study in an urban city campus or a rural area.
3. You need a Health Insurance
If you are opting to study in Australia you need to get Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), a special health insurance plan for international students. OSHC will cover the costs of medical and hospital care during your stay in Australia. So every student should contact the university or the education counsellor to know how to apply for this health insurance coverage. OSHC is either purchased by your education provider or you can buy the insurance coverage and get it approved by your institution. You should make sure that your OSHC is valid throughout your stay in the country. The Australian government will also advise you to get all mandatory vaccinations before the travel.
4. The University Grading System
If you are from a country like India, you may not be that familiar with the grading system in academics. In Australia, they evaluate your scores through a grading system. Often international students may get confused about their grades as it is quite different. Many students think that ‘D’ grade is a low score but here it actually means a distinction. Also, this grading system may differ across various universities and states in Australia. The typical grades used in Australia are HD (High Distinction), D (Distinction), C (Credit), P (Pass) and F (Fail). However, it is better to check with your university or education counsellor to understand more about the grading system that they follow.
5. Varying seasons of Australia
Australia is termed as ‘the land down under’ as it is located in the southern hemisphere. The seasons that you experience in this continent will be different from your home country. So if you have lived north of the equator, the seasons will be exactly the opposite of what you are used to. There are four seasons across most of Australia, with the tropical north experiencing a wet and dry season. Summer lasts from December to March, autumn from March to May, winter is from June to August and spring from September to November. Australia receives more than 3000 hours of sunshine in a year, so be ready with lots of sunscreen. Although the weather is usually warm and pleasant, the climate may vary from place to place. For instance, in winter you may need to wear a jacket in cities like Melbourne.
6. Experiencing the Diverse Culture
With over 200 different languages and a huge multicultural population, Australia promotes a unique culture of social inclusion. As an overseas student, it will be easier for you to adapt with the lifestyle in Australia as you can also find many people from your home country. If you learn more about the local dialect, you can easily adapt with the society and their culture. While studying in a culturally diverse environment you can pick up various new languages. Australia also has great global dining options where cuisines from all over the world are served. The society is very friendly and shows great interest to welcome people from other parts of the world. It is also interesting to learn more about the indigenous Australians or the Aboriginals who have lived in the continent for over 50,000 years. You can witness various cultural events and festivals to get a better picture of life in Australia.
7. Bank account and currency exchange
Before you make any decisions about your studies, try to get as much information about the currency exchange and banking process in Australia. When you are preparing to join a university in Australia, you willm be required to open a bank account to manage your money. Research more about currency exchange rates, interests and transaction fee that you may have to pay. Get in touch with an overseas education counselor or talk to your university student support center to get more details. If you are availing an education loan, you should make the necessary arrangements for that before your leave your home country. Having a bank account is also necessary if you are taking up a part-time job during your studies.
8. Earn While You Study in Australia
Did you know? International students in Australia are allowed to work part-time for up to 40 hours per fortnight during the course period and can work full time during semester breaks or scheduled holidays. This lets you earn money for your daily expenses while continuing your education in a reputed institution. You can choose from on-campus and off-campus job opportunities according to your likes. Some of the universities provide assistance for students to get a part-time job. Please note that students who wish to do a part-time job should be enrolled in a government approved academic program in Australia. It is recommended that you open a bank account in Australia before your arrival. Also, if you are doing a part-time job you will have to pay applicable taxes and file a tax return.
We are sure that these tips will come handy for you while preparing for a prosperous academic life in Australia. Start applying and wish you good luck!