Despite its distance from the U.S.A., taking a semester, summer, or academic year to study abroad in Australia may be one of your life's best experiences. Filled with natural wonders, unique wildlife, and some of the best universities in the world, you'll get a fantastic education in and outside of the classroom.
Students who study abroad in Australia can expect to be immersed in diverse cultures, rich traditions, and innovative ideas. Whether you are touring an art gallery in one of Australia’s lively cities or bushwhacking across the Australian outback, there is an adventure to be found for any student willing to try something new.
Australia's cosmopolitan cities (often situated on a beach!) make the perfect background to an unforgettable study abroad experience. Melbourne and Sydney are both ranked in the top 10 best student cities in the world. Australia is a nation of diversity - from it's multicultural peoples to its varied landscapes, this land down under has got it all!
Best known as the Harbour City, Sydney is an Australian icon and a global destination for study abroad students. Choose to further your education at one of the many excellent universities like Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, and University of Sydney. Australia's largest city sparkles as the culmination of it's warm and friendly character, accented by the Sydney Opera House, nearby beaches, historical sight-seeing, and exciting nightlife.
Sydney, Australia offers something for just about every international student with study abroad programs in subjects from business to biology to performance arts. And on the weekend, Sydney is just a few hours away from the rugged beauty of the Blue Mountains to the west or a couple hours' flight to the Great Barrier Reef in the north! The city's mild weather means there's no "bad time" to visit, so soak up that Sydney sun!
Arguably Sydney's older and more mature sibling, Melbourne brings a whole other flavor to the Aussie barbecue. The Yarra River runs amid the city streets that are lined with leafy trees and ornate Victorian-era architecture, nodding their hat to the area's early history.
Melbourne is known as the cultural capital of Australia, contributing greatly to the local art, coffee, and music scene. Students can choose study abroad programs at renowned institutions like the University of Melbourne, Monash University, and RMIT University.
Many students who come to Australia study abroad in major cities in the southeast. But, you can stay a step ahead of the pack and study where all of those students will eventually vacation: the Gold Coast! The Gold Coast is located along some of the finest beaches in the world, and situated near many natural World Heritage sites (including rainforests!). Surf in the morning, study at Griffith University or Bond University during the day, and indulge in fresh seafood and bustling nightlife in the evening. Explore the country's geological diversity, and see for yourself why Australia's varied landscapes are really its prized jewel.
Planning Your Trip
How to Choose a Study Abroad Program in Australia
Australia may be the world's smallest continent, but it is the world's 6th largest nation (it spans three time zones!). Regardless of which Australian study abroad program you select, you will most certainly get a feel for the infamous laidback attitude, appreciation for nature, and overall contagious good vibes.
When selecting to study abroad in Australia, there are a number of factors to consider including the transfer of academic credit, subjects relevant to your major, and location.
Student Housing in Australia
When you select a study abroad program in Australia, consider the differing types of accommodation offered. Whether you opt for university residences, private accommodation, or homestays, you should choose a program where your living situation is ultimately comfortable for you.
To get a real feel for the university life of the typical Aussie student, it's recommended to choose a study abroad program where you can stay in a campus dormitory or university flat. Being surrounded by local or international students can add more depth to your experience than living with other students from your home country.
IFSA-Butler's study abroad programs emphasize an integration with Australian students in all of their housing options. AustraLearn guarantees "pre-arranged accommodation to fit YOUR lifestyle," so whatever your cup of tea, you'll be happy to find it!
Immersion & Cultural Activities:
Some program providers will include extra activities for weekend fun in their program fees. These cultural activities are intended to add an extra level of excitement into your Australian study abroad experience - why stress over where to go, when someone will do all the planning for you?!
The Education Abroad Network gives their students the option of participating in as many added excursions around Australia as they see fit. With choices such as "Alternative Spring Breaks" in Thailand or weekends in South Island New Zealand, the Education Abroad Network happily organizes affordable sightseeing to ensure their students' experiences even more memorable. Conversely, CIEE's program in Perth automatically includes a surf lesson, Australian Rules football match, Aboriginal Heritage tour, and a wildlife park tour.
Since the English language used in everyday life AND is the medium of instruction at learning institutions, your language barriers while studying abroad in Australia will be fairly limited. Your biggest concern will be attempting to master that sweet Aussie accent and understand the slang (and if you're feeling brave, try to learn the language of love for vegemite).
Cost & Funding
The cost of studying abroad in Australia varies across cities and universities. For example, if you're studying abroad in Sydney, living expenses will be much higher than other destinations in Australia, so keep that in mind when taking a look at these estimated costs.
An inexpensive meal in Australia may cost around $20 USD, whereas an average weekly grocery bill for a student averages at around $60. If housing isn't included as a part of the study abroad program fees, expect to pay from $900 - $2,500 in monthly rent depending on if you live in or outside the city center. Utility costs are over $200 a month, and if you require a cell phone, your bill will likely come out to around $45 a month.
A monthly pass for local transportation will run you around $150, and including personal expenses, expect to spend around $6,000 - $8,000 a semester in Australia after airfare and program fees.
To save money, consider getting a part-time job while studying abroad. The Australian Student Visa allows students to work up to 40 hours every 2 weeks. Or, try direct enrollment instead of through a program provider; it'll save you more money in the long run, but expect to lead a more independent lifestyle.
While living in Australia may be comparatively cheaper to its European counterparts, you might find that the flight alone makes a significant dent in any of those dollars saved (~ $1,000 - $2,000 roundtrip). While it may cost an arm and a leg to get you there, we're confident you will walk away feeling like your experience was worth every penny.
However, there are ways to alleviate the heavy costs of studying abroad in Australia by applying to a number of scholarships specifically supporting overseas studies and travel. Hint: Double check with your university to see if your financial aid package is applicable to your study abroad experience!
- The Australian Leadership award scholarships is given to over 200 scholars each year and helps enhance recipients' leadership skills.
- IES Abroad offers a variety of scholarships for those participating in their programs - including a few great options around Australia!
- As a non-profit, the various USAC study abroad scholarship opportunities aim for students to gain international experience -- without breaking the bank.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
How much does it cost to study abroad in Australia?
The cost of studying abroad in Australia will vary greatly by the institution you hope to attend as well as your home institution. It's very possible to apply through an exchange program at your university in the states and pay exactly what you pay normally. You can also choose to enroll directly in an Australian university which will run you anywhere from $4,500-$9,700 per semester, or you can apply through a third party provider, which will cost between $9,200-$13,500. Keep in mind that you will also want to budget in living expenses for your semester, including meals, accommodation, transportation, cell phone plan, etc. The average cost for a semester in Australia after airfare and program fees is $5,000-$7,000.
Is it easy to study in Australia?
The ease of studying in Australia really depends on what you're looking for in a study abroad experience. On the one hand, English is the official language of Australia, so for native English speakers it can certainly be a good option since you know you'll be able to communicate. Here are some other important things to note when considering a semester in Australia: it's relatively expensive, so you may need to budget more than you would for another country; the grading system is different than what is used in American schools; you'll need to get a visa if you'll be there longer than 3 months; and remember it's very far away! So jet lag will certainly be a factor.
Can I bring my family to Australia on student visa?
Australia will generally allow people on a student visa to bring their immediate family members with them as dependents. Dependents can include your spouse (or partner) and children under the age of 18.
What is the student visa fee for Australia?
The base application fee for a student visa to Australia is 620AUD or approximately $415 in USD.