If rocking thongs (summer footwear, not bikinis) and studying languages floats your boat, look no further than The Land Down Under. The Australian English language stems from the Brits, but has followed the course of its own quirky evolution through the years. It’s this combination of proper grammar and backwards lingo that makes studying abroad in Australia an adventure no less great than rolling around with Tasmanian devils or befriending your inner cowboy on the Oodnadatta Track. Both cuddly koalas and the world's deadliest snakes lurk in the bush of this “land of sand and sun,” but, no worries, mate; rumor has it that language study in Australia is sweet as. Jump on the wave!
Australia is vast country with a diverse climate. There's ten federal territories, but Australia's most active cities are located on the coastlines. Whether you're being greeted with a hearty “G'day mate!” in the isolated deserts of the Outback or soaking up sunshine on the beaches, universities and language schools in Australia are plentiful.
Sydney is Australia's capital, brimming with education, entertainment, and excellence. Its sleek, modern city center attracts many international students, and there’s a great mix of multiculturalism to keep things colorful. Once you get the hang of learning a new language, you can sing it to the masses at the world famous Opera House or whisper it to marine animals at the Sea Life Aquarium. For those with sunny dispositions, Bondi Beach is well worth a gander, and is a popular choice for surfers and swimmers alike.
Melbourne is a city that is considered hipster cool. With many cafés and happening brunch spots, the coffee scene is one of the best in the country. You'll be learning the Aussie lingo amid an arts and culture scene that is raved about as ripper (really great). The north-side of town is booming with gallery shows, pub-trivia nights, market days, and local artisan workshops. But, you can still take a laid-back break at St. Kilda, with its calm bay waters and kitesurfing paradise.
There's no shortage of sunshine in Western Australia, but Perth is said to be one of the sunniest cities in the world. With heaps of natural wonders to be explored, you'll feel like the Steve Irwin of language study abroad. Likewise, the Gold Coast has a quieter appeal, highly sought after academic programs that look great on any résumé, and sunsets that will make you want to permanently relocate to OZ forever.
For students that wish to be closer to the Great Barrier Reef to learn a new language with the fishes, Cairns will bring you closer to Finding Nemo. It also offers rainforests and 4WD adventures, so freetime outside of class will be anything but boring.
Language Programs in Australia
For a country that supposedly began with boatloads of convicts shipped from the UK to pay their petty crimes, Australia has accomplished a great deal in crafting its rich language and culture. Whether you're motivated to learn Ozspeak (Australian English) or master another worldly language, you'll be bouncing more words around than a hoppin' baby roo during any language program in Australia.
English is the most popular language of study in Australia. However, Australian vocabulary is heavily influenced by British English and includes many words adopted from Aboriginal languages. Individuals who start learning English in Australia might find that mastering strine (say that out loud in a heavy Aussie accent) is an additional challenge. Language programs in Australia are generally fully immersive experiences, so you'll find practicing English with your instructor, classmates and locals to be fair dinkum (true, real, genuine).
One-on-one lessons are intense, but with easygoing OZ-ittude students, there will be plenty of motivation to learn a new language. University programs are considered ace around Australia, and the instructors are pros when it comes to teaching students from around the world. Many first- and second-generation immigrants in Australia are bilingual, so if you’d like to brush up on your Italian or Mandarin, there are still language classes in Australia in both of these languages (and many more!). Whether individual or group learning options are your cup of tea, bureaucratic organization and competitive classrooms place Aussie universities in top ranks.
Language schools in Australia are great for students seeking a classroom setting on a smaller scale, and they usually offer organized activities and adventures outside of the classroom too. Where else in the world can you study and surf? Most language programs in Australia run for 20 hours a week. With new sessions frequently starting every Monday, studying a language in Australia can stretch from one week to several months. Australians aren't a shy bunch; language schools in Australia commonly offer language exchange sessions in cafés, bars, and social clubs to give learners some additional practice.
Costs & Affordability
It’s true: Australia ain’t cheap. However, with quality services and world-renowned education, language programs in Australia are a worthy investment. And once you have learned enough of the language to work in Australia, earning an Aussie salary will offer a very comfortable standard of living.
As a popular tourist destination, Straya caters to the crowds. A meal an inexpensive restaurant can cost around $18, while your daily cappuccino can cost around $4. But never fear; there's always a way to cut costs and live modestly. For example, Australia offers great locally-grown organic food. With popular markets, there’s access to fresh, affordable produce that can save you money and inspire new recipes. Bus transportation in Australia is also fairly cheap, so getting around won’t break the bank.
Language programs in Australia vary in cost greatly, depending on the duration and number of class hours per week. Most language programs in Australia include lesson materials and a certificate upon completion. However, always be sure to check with your host school or program provider to see the division of costs among accommodation, food, and class fees.
If you’re dreaming of language study in Australia, but require assistance to cover the cost, consider starting your own fundraiser on FundMyTravel, which will allow you to share your travel dreams and put friends and family to good use!
Accommodation & Visas
While tents under billions of stars should be experienced at least once in Australia, there’s no shortage of proper accommodations. Living in the city center of big cities, such as Sydney or Melbourne, will be expensive, but perfect for students who want to be in the action. Suburbs are quieter and more affordable, and the commute to city centers is generally a breeze.
Fully immerse yourself in campus life by sharing a university dorm with fellow language students. These facilities typically include shared bathrooms, common areas, and utilities, and automatically set you up with new BFF’s. Homestays are the best way to practice speaking with your new family and learning local customs, plus you’ll get some delicious home-cooked meals. You'll be addicted to Vegemite and toast in no time!
Visa requirements vary, depending on your nationality and the type and length of your program. If you plan to attend language courses in Australia for more than three months, a student visa will be required. For shorter language programs in Australia, there are work and holiday visa options, which allow students to work for up to 20 hours a week to help supplement their cost of living. Ask your specific program advisor for detailed information and check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for all of the details.
Benefits & Challenges
Australians love to shorten their words. In Straya, you'll discover that it's common for everything and anything to be abbreviated. Words with more than two syllables are often shortened, and modified by adding vowels at the end. Whether you want to get rid of those pesky mozzies (mosquitos) or play a game of footy (football), learning these Aussie shortcuts might take a bit of time. But many Australians have laid-back personalities, which makes it easy to make friends and master the Aussie lingo.
There's a few things that can kill you. Home to the world's deadliest snakes, spiders, sharks, crocs, jellyfish, and rip tides that could sweep you away, Australia isn't for the faint of heart. However, with so many natural wonders all the way from the coastlines to the Outback, your language studies will be even more of a beautiful adventure; certainly an adventure to brag about to your mates.
There's no doubt that Australia is as wild and diverse as a country can get. Embrace the shortcuts, throw a shrimp on the barbie, and next time someone asks, “Do you speak my language?”, you just might respond in song with, “I come from a land down under, where beer does flow and men chunder.” Bring on the thunder and choose a language program in Australia!