What international students need to know about Australia

We've rounded up what international students need to know about applying to universities in Australia.

A gap year in Australia is a time-honoured way to experience this amazing country – but why settle for just one year when you could stay for several? As a university student in Oz, undergraduates can enjoy the country’s spectacular landscapes, unmatched beaches, sports mania, excellent cuisine and endless sunshine for much longer and get a world-class education at the same time.

We’re very excited to announce that BridgeU has added Australia as a destination country. This has been part of BridgeU’s plans for a while, so it’s great to finally talk about the potential benefits of an Aussie education. To mark this launch, we’ve written about some of the more notable elements of studying Down Under, including application information and recent stats.

Why should students apply to university in Australia?

Where to start? Although rankings and league tables aren’t everything, the results from various surveys show that Australia is a country to watch when it comes to higher education.

Australian universities are among the best in the world 

  •         In the QS World University Rankings, only the US and the UK have more universities than Australia in the top 100. This is even more impressive when you consider that Australia has just 40 universities, compared to over 100 in the UK and over 3000 in the USA. In conclusion: Australian universities punch above their weight in global rankings.
  •         Australia ranked fourth in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2016.
  •         Australia was second in the Times Higher Education’s young universities rankings, with 23 schools in the top 200, a number beaten only by the UK.
  •         In a new Asia-specific ranking published by The Australian focusing on research excellence, Australia had four universities in the top ten and six in the top fifteen, with The University of Queensland coming in at number one.

Australian universities excel in their subjects 

  •         The Australian National University in Canberra is among the top ten universities in the world for humanities.
  •         The University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney both make it to the top twenty for life sciences and medicine.
  •         The University of Melbourne and the Australian National University are in the top twenty best universities for social sciences and management. 

Australian universities are very international 

  •         There are five Australian institutions in the THE list of the world’s 25 most international universities. According to the same list, “Australia has the third highest number of international students in the world behind the UK and the US.”

The international character of Australian universities is supported by federal and local government policies specifically designed to attract international students to the country. International students are entitled to free public transport, and post-study work rights, which give international graduates the right to stay and work in Australia for up to four years. This is much more generous that, for example, the United States, where students on an F-1 visa (the majority of international students), have to leave the country 60 days after graduating, unless they find a job which will sponsor an extension, and then for only a year.

What’s more, Australia actively helps international students with the financial aspect of higher education. The Australia Awards invest over $200,000,000 (AUD) annually in international scholarships. In 2015, over 100 scholarships were handed out to students in Indonesia alone.

Why should your students apply for an Australian degree course?

Degree Flexibility 

Another reason why students might find studying in Australia an attractive option is the flexibility of its undergraduate programs. For those looking for a happy medium between the early specialisation of the UK and the generalization of the US systems, Australia offers a popular alternative – flexible double degrees. Pioneered by the Australian National University, flexible double degrees offer students the change to take two undergraduate courses concurrently, with a workload equivalent to that of a single undergraduate degree. There is a wide range of choice and students can combine humanities and science subjects. This is a great option in a world where the value of a single degree in the job market is decreasing, and people are likely to work in a variety of sectors in the course of their career.

How to apply to university in Australia

There are several things to consider when applying to study in Australia:

  •         Choosing the institution and course of study
  •         Applying for a student visa
  •         Providing evidence that you have sufficient funds to support your study
  •         English language requirements
  •         Health insurance

All these things will need to be considered before the day students show up for Orientation.[14] The first thing to focus on is the application – if students can convince a university that they’re the type of person they’re looking for, that’s more than half the battle. Emphasising international experience and strong extra-curricular interests will help, since Aussie universities are very keen on welcoming international students.

With BridgeU, students can now search for Australian courses and universities from their Shortlist page, and add the courses that interest them. Teachers can see these additions and help students make sure their applications and compelling and distinct, by using our collaborative writing tools and strategy advisor.

Student visas are dependent upon a successful application, so once the offer comes through, it’s time for students to get their paperwork in order. Aside from having a successful application, for a visa application to be successful students will need to demonstrate that the necessary English language ability, and the finances to support their studies. These will need to cover health insurance, as well as living costs and tuition. Living costs will vary considerably depending on which university you choose to apply to but it’s worth remembering that the average cost of living and tuition for a student in Australia is considerably lower than in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Why is Australia an attractive university destination?

Don’t let the worries about visas and finances obscure the benefits of study in Australia. The country is consciously working to support international students, and the diversity and international stature of its universities has increased dramatically in recent years. There are also great benefits beyond the quality of the universities: as well as the beauty of its landscapes and the opportunity to top up your levels of vitamin D, Australia also happens to be the ninth happiest county in the world.

If your school has a Premium BridgeU subscription, you’ll find Australia has been automatically added to the platform. If you have a different version of the platform, email Oscar to discuss adding Australia to your package.

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