The Benefits of Studying Abroad in Australia

by Jake Hanrahan
Melbourne Cityscape

The Cityscape of Melbourne, Australia

Australia has it all. World class universities, an affordable and carefree lifestyle, and plenty of warm sunshine to go around. It’s no wonder that students from all over the world flock to Australia for study abroad every year, and you could easily be joining in on the fun. The following is a quick list of the biggest benefits of studying abroad in Australia.

You Definitely Won’t Be Alone

No need to feel concerned about being the odd man out in Australia. Placing third behind only the United States and the United Kingdom in terms of total international students, Australia has seen at least 200,000 foreign students attend its universities for the past several years. Due to the popularity of study abroad programs in Australia around the world, Australia has become well known for being a very accessible destination for international students. Almost all of the major universities provide programs and services specifically tailored toward helping incoming study abroad students get settled, form friendships, and make the most out of their international experience.

Academic Recognition

For a country of just 23 million people, Australia has a long standing history of being home to some of the best research institutions on Earth. Top academic programs in science fields, like chemistry, geology, biology, zoology and wildlife, mathematics, and engineering can be found in many of Australia’s 43 major universities, making a study abroad program in Australia a great addition to every student’s professional resume, almost regardless of their field of study.

You Can Study ANYTHING

Between the more than 40 universities in Australia, there are hundreds of opportunities to study hundreds of different subjects. For a majority of study abroad students, the larger universities will be top choices, and each one will provide just as many courses of study as any major American university. The most prestigious school in the country, the Australian National University, has over 750 possible course combinations; the pure number of courses offered at the Australian National University means that you will not only be able to take courses related to your major, but there will also be ample opportunities to broaden your academic horizons by taking a class or two that you may not be able to participate in at your home university.

Beach in Queensland

A beach in Queensland, Australia

Scholarship Options

While your home institution likely has funds available for students studying abroad in Australia, there is also another fantastic resource to utilize in the quest to make your international experience as affordable as possible. Every year the Australian government sets aside over $200 million dollars specifically for international students coming to study at Australian universities. These funds are open to students from all over the world and there are certain requirements for application to some (grade requirements, financial need, etc.) but any student accepted to study abroad in Australia should inquire with the University’s financial aid department to see what scholarships may be available to them.

You Can Work With a Student Visa

Still looking for ways to knock down the price of studying abroad in Australia? Well Australia is far from unique when it comes to visa restrictions. Although international students will be required to have a student visa in order to enter the country, the perks that come along with that visa set the nation apart: student visa holders are eligible for employment in Australia. Working while studying in Australia is something that can really help drive down the cost of an already affordable experience.

Students can work up to 40 hours every two weeks in jobs that require only basic skills, such as in grocery stores, food and beverage service, or even in various roles on their respective university campuses. These positions can drastically reduce the cost of studying abroad in Australia, often covering most if not all expenses associated with rent, groceries, utilities, and possibly even a bit of tuition as well. Oh, and did we mention the minimum wage in Australia currently sits at just under 17 dollars per hour?

Most Easterly Point

Most Easterly Point

No Language Barrier

This may seem obvious, but never discount the benefit of studying abroad in a nation that speaks your primary language! The challenge presented by a language barrier can be quite large for an international student, affecting basically every aspect of life, from inside the classroom to daily activities like grocery shopping or even simply reading street signs. The largest language hurdle for an international student in Australia may be the abundant use of Australian slang, but with a little bit of exposure it’s understandable by even the biggest drongo around!

Good Weather

You want fun in the sun? You’ve got it in Australia! With the far southern territory of Victoria as somewhat of an exception, Australia’s climate remains moderately warm to downright hot year round. Some of the top universities for international students are located in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, all of which would consider a daily high below 50 degrees fahrenheit a rarity at any point in the year. Also keep in mind that due to its location in the southern hemisphere, the seasons in Australia are opposite of those in the United States, making a trip down under a great way to trade in a frigid North American winter for a sunny Australian summer!

Plenty To Do

The tourism industry in Australia is alive and well, and for good reason. There is an endless number of memorable activities waiting for you. Australians love their outdoor adventures, and visitors can get in on the action whenever they choose. Get away from civilization and see rock formations some two billion years in the making with a study abroad program in the heart of the Australian Outback or jet up to the Gold Coast to experience some of the world’s best scuba diving and snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef. If indoor activities are more your thing, Australia is home to world class museums and art centers, with the crown jewel, the Sydney Opera house, hosting over 40 shows per week.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Australians are famous for their laid back lifestyles, and the student culture of the country epitomizes this. While there is no doubt that Australian students take their schooling very seriously, they approach their leisure time with the same amount of commitment. Many of the major universities in Australia are located along the east coast in cities with easy access to parks, trails, and often beaches as well. People from all age groups make good use of these amenities, but student populations add a fair bit of organization to the mix with student clubs devoted to just about every type of relaxation activities imaginable. Similar to the United States, student organizations and clubs are a mainstay of basically every university, offering countless opportunities for relaxing and escaping the academic atmosphere, even if only for a little while.

Street musician playing accordion

Street musician playing accordion in Melbourne

Easy Access to More Adventures

While Australia itself can easily provide plenty of opportunities for memorable travel experiences, including activities like bungee jumping and scuba diving, international students may also choose to visit nearby locations as part of their study abroad experience. After all, many students may not get the chance to return to that area of the world any time soon. The naturally gorgeous nation of New Zealand is just a short flight away, and multiple tropical islands of the South Pacific are easily within reach as well. These destinations make for perfect getaways over school holidays (spring or fall break) or even for bookend trips at the beginning or end of an academic term.