If you choose to study in Australia, you're sure to experience the adventurous spirit and dynamic culture that permeates this big, beautiful island. You'll be able to take classes in English and meet new people without the difficulty of a language barrier, for the most part.
Outside of a few Aussie slang terms, you'll notice plenty of other differences. People will be driving on the left side of the road, the seasons are reversed, and the time difference is no joke; and these are just outside of the classroom. You'll find the grading system is different than what you're used to and without as many general education requirements, a bachelor's degree can be completed in three years. For more helpful tips read our guide about preparing to study in Australia.
How to Enroll
If you're considering enrolling directly to a college or university in Australia for any type of degree, you can approach your options much as you would when searching within your home country. You'll want to compare things like degree choices, cost of attendance (including tuition, fees, and cost of living), whether or not the student life is what you're looking for, and any other component that's important to you, like location or mode of instruction.
One big difference between choosing a university at home versus abroad is the opportunity to visit the campus. Many Australian universities welcome international students from around the world and have sections of their websites dedicated to helping you know what you'll experience. If these websites are easy to use and the international office is good about communicating, these are really good signs.
Because enrolling directly means you'll be responsible for all the logistics (arranging travel, accommodation, payment of tuition and fees, etc.) you'll have a much easier time of it if you're working with a good international student services team at the university in Australia. There are downsides to doing all this planning, like the possibility of making mistakes, but the benefits are plentiful. You won't have to pay someone else (a 3rd Party Provider) to do it, and you will learn so much about yourself and your world by undertaking the task.
Participating in a direct exchange program is a fantastic way to study abroad. It is generally less expensive than using a 3rd Party Provider and still offers the benefits of someone else taking care of the logistics. The catch is that the options are more limited than standard study abroad or direct enrollment options.
Bigger colleges and universities can have hundreds of partnerships with international universities, which would mean you would probably find exactly what you're looking for. However, smaller schools may only have a handful of direct exchange opportunities. It is also difficult to find direct exchange options for graduate school.
To pursue an exchange, the best place to start is at your home university. They will be able to tell you, either in person or online, what partnerships exist and how you can take advantage of the opportunities.
Probably the most common way to study abroad is to use a Third-Party Provider. These are organizations that help students organize their international experiences. Generally, they will help you plan anything from short-term faculty-led trips to two full semesters abroad.
Third-Party Providers will take care of almost every detail for you, even including helping get your grades transferred back to your home institution. However, they will charge you for it. If you're considering going through a Third-Party Provider, study abroad scholarships and fundraising can greatly offset the cost. Most providers even offer their own scholarships.
Undergraduate tuition costs for colleges and universities in Australia can range between 22,000 and 36,000 Australian Dollars (AUD) for one year of study, sometimes more for specialty programs. Multiplied by the three years it usually takes to complete a bachelor's degree in Australia, it's not exactly cheap. Thankfully there are options for U.S. students to use federal loans at some Australian universities just as we can for American schools. Some Australian universities will even offer Veteran benefits as well.
Cost of Living
Depending on your lifestyle and whether or not you're living in a big city, cost of living can vary widely. One, more rural, university estimates its students spend from 12,500 to 22,000 AUD per year. Another school, in a bigger city, puts the cost at 21,000 to 25,000 AUD per year.
Each university should have information available to you that breaks down the cost of living into categories such as accommodation, food, travel, and additional expenses. If you're getting loans or scholarships, it's possible that these costs will be covered along with tuition.
Another possibility is to work part time while you study, as long as your visa (which costs around 500 AUD) allows it. Without a language barrier, your options are wide open to find a job at a restaurant or store close to campus. You might even be able to find an on-campus job.
If you apply directly and are accepted to study at an Australian college or university, you'll need to apply for Australian student visa (subclass 500). This will allow you to study full-time for the entirety of your degree.
When searching for scholarships to universities in Australia there are a few things to keep in mind. For some scholarships, you will be automatically entered when you submit an application, while others will require essays, photos, letters of recommendation, and more. Make note of the requirements and due dates for the ones that jump out at you. Don't wait till the last minute.
One of the trickiest part about applying for scholarships is that, for many of them, you must have already been accepted or currently be taking classes at the university where you want to use the money. That's why it's sometimes better to have a Plan A to cover your finances and let the scholarships you receive be a pleasant surprise after the fact.
Oldest University in Australia
Although the University of Sydney was Australia's first university, it is certainly not stuck in the past. From its beginnings in 1850, the University of Sydney has placed an importance on inclusion and forward thinking. Even before Oxford, it was one of the first universities in the world to admit female students.
There is also evidence of forward thinking in the university's facilities, course options, and globalization efforts. From the user-friendly website to the stunning mix of old and new architecture on campus, the University of Sydney has something for romantics and tech-experts alike. You can make yourself at home at a university that consistently ranks in the top 40 worldwide and welcomes undergraduate and graduate students from 145 countries.
Biggest University in Australia
With total enrollment of over 60,000 students, Monash University is Australia's largest. It's also a relatively young institution, but Monash already has plenty to be proud of. Monash University hosts international students from 170 countries, it's ranked in the top 100 universities around the world, and its graduates are highly employable according to Global Employability University Rankings (2015).
If you want to be a part of a university that strives to make a difference, that has a range of classes and teaching styles to fit every need, and is located in beautiful Australia, consider making Monash University your home.
Quirkiest Degree You Can Earn in Australia
Imagine flying into Australia. If you're lucky, you've got a window seat where you can view the landscape as you make your descent. Now imagine you're in the cockpit and you've got a front row seat.The University of New South Wales (UNSW) could make this dream a reality with their Bachelor of Aviation degree.
The degree takes three years at minimum to complete, and you would graduate with a Commercial Pilots License with a Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating and an Air Transport Pilots License (frozen). It's on the expensive side compared to most other Australian degrees, and there are extra fees associated with becoming a pilot to consider as well. But this is a degree that will be pricey anywhere you go, so if you have your heart set on Australia, UNSW is not a bad way to go.