So you have taken the plunge and decided to study abroad in Australia. This is an exciting time but it can also be a confusing one.
Just like any student setting off to university, you have all the social worries of making friends and fitting in, but when you are venturing to a new country you also have to consider the differences in culture and teaching methods.
In this article, you will find information and tips on some of the most important issues when starting your studies.
Australia is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for foreign students and currently, they attract people from over 200 countries.
This love for Australia comes for the balance of work and play that the country offers, warm weather, outdoor sports and a mixture of practical and classroom learning; this may be quite different from what you have been used to!
Choosing the right University
This is the first step to your new life as a student and is obviously of the uppermost importance.
The institutions you choose to study at will shape not only your degree but also highlight what you will need financially and how you will live your personal life.
There are so many high-quality universities in Australia that finding the right one for international students can be daunting, so here are 3 of the best for you to consider.
The University Of Sydney
The University of Sydney is one of the most prestigious educational centres in Australia.
They offer a wide range of flexible degrees, on-campus housing and they are world-renowned for their research facilities that are spread across 16 campuses.
Here you will find a fantastic package of arts, science and history degrees.
The University of Queensland
The University of Queensland is one of the most popular for international students. With 9000 places available each year, they are renowned for their hospitality to their foreign guests.
This is one of the larger universities and lessons are taught within the 33 school sites.
There is a program of degrees that has more than 350 options in it, this really is a great all-rounder university.
The Charles Darwin University
This is one of Australia’s newest Universities, opening in 2005, and it has already made its mark as an excellent choice for international students.
This smaller university is great for a more intimate studying experience, but you are still in the heat of the city of Darwin, so the social side is excellent.
Study here if you’re looking for courses in Engineering and Pharmaceuticals.
Financial Set Up
When choosing to study in Australia, you will need to sort out all your finances.
This will include opening a bank account and making sure that you have enough money for any payments that you will need to make upfront.
There are many banks to chose from, but they will all ask you to provide the same forms when you sign up.
Be aware that you will need your passport, copies of bank statements dating back 2 months and you may need to provide credit history evidence if you are a mature student.
These will also be needed if you wish to apply for a credit card and will need to be completed 4 weeks before you are due to travel.
There are many finance options available to students and your first port of call should be the university who can offer advice etc.
If you need short term financing when you arrive, in order to pay for deposits or the like, then consider looking at short term loans online.
Once you have decided upon your place of study, you can get your finances set up and then choose the form of accommodation that will suit you best.
The accommodation you chose will depend upon two factors; money and lifestyle. Here are the best options for you, where you can live on a relatively small budget and enjoy the social side of student life.
Shared Accommodation – Average $50 – $160 Per week
House shares are one of the most common forms of student living. The benefits of this form of renting are that you will be meeting new people, living with friends and you can come and go as you please.
This lifestyle is one of the most expensive though, as many student rentals are not furnished and they don’t generally come with a telephone line for the internet etc.
You will also need to have the funds to cover the first month’s rents and a 4-week rental bond that will be given back at the end of your stay. If you then have to buy furniture, this can be quite costly.
Campus Accommodation – Average $80 – $250
This is probably the easiest option for international students, as not only will you be living on or very close to your campus, but you will be able to meet like-minded students and take advantage of the on/off-campus activities.
Unlike shared accommodation, there are little or no hidden charges, you will get a furnished room, the Internet and some campuses also offer meals within your price. If this is for you then apply for a room as soon as possible as they are limited.
Depending on which university you pick to study at, you will find a wealth of activities and nightlife that you can get involved in.
When you arrive on campus, ask your representative for a list of clubs and associations within your city.
This is a great way for you to meet like-minded people and in general, clubs usually cover everything from sports to the arts.
Australia is renowned for its healthy lifestyle and sun; why not take advantage of this and get involved in organised trips such as scuba diving, surfing and hikes.
These will usually be organised by your campus or local community. Getting involved in these activities will help you to make friends and get involved within the local community.
Whatever you choose to do whilst studying remember that it is a balance between working hard and having fun!
About the Author: Cass Stewart is a graduate of The University of Sydney and is now on the Student Exchange Board. In her spare time, she likes to catch up on the Youwin Blog and anything sports-related.