Studying abroad is an exciting and life-changing experience, and Australia is undoubtedly one of the top destinations for international students. With its world-class education system, diverse culture, high quality of life and stunning nature, Australia offers a unique and enriching environment for students from all around the globe. Australia's higher education regulatory agency ensures top global standards, making Australian university degrees recognised and respected worldwide.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
If you think that Australia is the overseas study destination for you, The University of Queensland could be the ideal choice. Not only are we a world top 50 university, but our location in Queensland’s capital Brisbane gives students a truly Australian experience. Think warm sunny weather, subtropical surroundings, vibrant culture and a short drive to pristine beaches and national parks.
To help you take the first steps on this adventure, there are some important factors that every international student should know. In this article, we will explore 6 essential things to consider before studying in Australia.
#1. Seek professional help
You have heard of travel agents, right? Did you know there are international education agents who can help you plan your overseas study experience?
Agents will help you choose the study program and destination that’s right for you and guide you through all the steps to prepare for overseas study. They provide services like application assistance, visa support, travel advice, and pre-departure help. Agents also have expert knowledge of the education industry and are aware of common concerns international students have.
An agent will discuss your interests, budget and the kind of study experience you are looking for to find the right option for you.
All international students coming to Australia must have the appropriate visa before they can begin theirstudies. Most international students at UQ hold a Student visa (subclass 500), which allows you to study full-time at a registered educational institution and stay up to 5 years in line with your enrolment. This visa also allows you to work part-time (up to 48 hours every two weeks or every fortnight, as we say in Australia).
It is important to research and understand the visa application process, including the required documents, financial evidence, and health insurance coverage. You can apply for your visa once you receive and accept an offer from your chosen university or educational institution.
Familiarise yourself with the Australian Department of Home Affairs website and seek guidance from your chosen educational institution's international office for accurate and up-to-date information. As mentioned above, an approved education agent can help you to navigate this system.
#3. Get your finances in order
Australia is known for its high standard of living, and it's essential to plan your finances accordingly. Here are some of the main costs that you must budget for when planning your study:
Overseas Student Health Cover
travel to Australia
supplies and equipment for study: electronic devices, textbooks, printing, and stationery.
At UQ, we recommend an annual budget of around A$26,160 - A$36,480 for a student living in an on-campus college that is fully catered and includes utilities like electricity and water. This budget does not include your program’s tuition fees or other study-related costs. If you like a little more luxury in your life you may need to factor in extra budget for things like clothing, personal care and entertainment.
Explore scholarships and grants on offer from both the institution and your home country. While a part-time job can alleviate financial pressure, in general students should not rely on this to cover their daily expenses or tuition costs.
Setting a realistic budget and realistic financial goals will allow you to fully enjoy your time as a student in Australia.
Once you have decided where and what to study – the next step is deciding where to live. Do you want an immersive and traditional experience living on-campus in a residential college or are you the more independent type? Typically, international students at UQ live in the following types of accommodation – what you choose will depend on your lifestyle preferences and budget.
On-campus colleges are fully catered, with 24/7 staff on site and access to a welcoming and collegial community of students from the same university. Many have historical connections to the university and of course the convenience of being close to classes and campus. So, you can easily walk back to your accommodation for meals and naps in between classes.
Purpose-built student accommodation
In purpose-built student accommodation, you’ll join students from universities all across your city. In these modern facilities a variety of studio, single-bedroom and twin-share options is available. They are typically located in central happening locations close to public transport, restaurants and shops. Utilities are included in the cost, but catering is not.
Private rentals and housing
If you are the more independent type, you might like to share a rental house or apartment with other people. Brisbane’s rental market features everything from low-cost share houses to high-rise apartments. Rent does not typically include costs of utilities, and check if your accommodation comes furnished or partially furnished.
We recommend you look into your preferred accommodation while you are doing your initial planning, as accommodation for students in Australia is experiencing increased demand. UQ offers guaranteed accommodation for international students, so you can secure your accommodation in advance.
Image courtesy of Brisbane Economic Development Agency
Australia is a multicultural country that embraces diversity, making it an ideal environment for international students. However, adjusting to a new culture, climate, and lifestyle can come with its challenges. Prepare yourself for the cultural differences you may encounter, such as social norms, communication styles, and even local slang. You can ask your education agent about these concerns, and what students they have worked with have experienced.
Joining student clubs, participating in cultural events, and connecting with other international students can help you build your friendship circle and support network. UQ has more than 200 social and cultural clubs that help students meet like-minded people. We also have dedicated student services staff to support international students with any challenges they may face.
If you keep an open mind, be respectful of others' beliefs and customs, and embrace the opportunity to learn you’ll feel at home in no time. Also always ask for help from your university’s support services if you need it.
#6. Familiarise yourself with health and medical services
The wellbeing of international students is a top priority in Australia. Despite rumours of poisonous snakes and spiders lurking in every corner, shark and crocodile-infested waters, and drop bears jumping out from trees, Australia is generally a safe country (no, really – it is).
International students must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) during their stay, and you need it to apply for your student visa and study. OSHC provides access to medical services, hospital treatments, and emergency assistance. If applying to UQ, we can organise OSHC on your behalf.
Australia has excellent healthcare facilities and hospitals, but it helps to familiarise yourself with the health services available on campus or in your local area.
Image courtesy of Brisbane Economic Development Agency
Have we convinced you yet? Are you already thinking about what to pack in your suitcase? Now that we have walked you through the essential steps of setting off on your journey to study in Australia it’s time to start dreaming my friend!
Weekends at (our safely patrolled) beaches – yes!
Cuddling up to a koala at a sanctuary – sign me up!
Meeting friends and making connections to last a lifetime – for sure!