There are many stereotypes about Australia, but in truth this highly multicultural country has a lot to offer to international students. From a temperate climate to world class universities, Australia boasts 5 of the top 30 cities in the world for student living. Australia is also home to the third largest population of international students in the world.
The majority of Australian universities are publicly funded, but there are also a number of smaller institutions that are privately run. As a guideline, a minimum of 65% in Class XII is required for admission into degree programs, while lower scores may be accepted for foundation and diploma programs.
The Australian academic year begins in February and ends in November. Its two intake seasons for higher education are February and July, but this may differ for vocational courses. Most undergraduate courses in Australia span over three years. Postgraduate courses are between 1 and 2 years long.
Many Australian universities require students to take an English proficiency exam. Consider the time you will need to prepare for the exam and factor this into your application timeline.
To apply for your student visa, you will need to complete the nonimmigrant visa application and gather all documents required by Australian Immigration, outlined on their website. You will also need mandatory Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which will be organized by the university. It takes 8 to 12 weeks for the Australian High Commission to approve visas, so you must apply at least three months before your course begins.
It is important to note that international students need to complete their course in the minimum time stated on their confirmation of enrolment. Whilst studying, students can work up to 40 hours per fortnight, and an unrestricted number of hours over university holidays. Volunteering hours are not included in this limit.
Most Australian universities are quite large and, accordingly, offer a range of sports, extracurricular activities and societies, so you can enjoy a unique university experience. Throwing yourself into university life will help you make the most of your time in Australia and minimize homesickness.
Once you complete your studies, you may be eligible to extend your stay in Australia through a post-study work visa or through the graduate work stream. If this is something you are interested in, ensure you start researching your options early.