Sydney Opera House
Debating whether or not to study abroad? Well stop. I’m telling you now, you should do it. Case closed. You can thank me when you get back.
Need more convincing? No worries. I’ve got a whole list of excellent reasons you should do a semester or year abroad in Australia:
1. It’s affordable, or at least a lot cheaper than living in England, which might be your other option. Food, rent and transportation are all reasonable and Australia is built for a backpacker culture that likes to travel for cheap.
2. You get to live in Australia! That means the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Ocean Road and bunch of other sites are easily accessible before and after your course and during university holidays. You’ll have plenty of time to study, travel, and even work if you want to (up to 20 hours a week while classes are in session, unlimited hours during holidays).
3. There are no GRE’s in Australia. That’s right. If you’re looking to do a post-graduate program, the schools here aren’t concerned with standardized tests. All they want is proof that you graduated from a real college in Canada or the States, that you speak fluent English (if it isn’t your first language), and then usually a short statement about your work history and why you want to attend their school.
4. The schools are excellent. Don’t think that Australian coursework or grades are any less impressive than those from a university in North America. Sure, a Master’s in History from the University of Adelaide isn’t quite the same as a Harvard Law degree if that’s the other path you’re considering, but if you’re looking at any of the arts or sciences, there are universities in Australia that have a department for you. There’s plenty of quality research going on around the country, along with state-of-the-art facilities.
Map by Lonely Planet
5. It will give your resume some diversity. As a grad student or undergrad, having overseas experience will show future employers that you can adapt to new situations, that you have a sense of adventure, and that you are open to new people, new ideas and new challenges.
6. You’ll meet a gazillion new people from all over the world. International students make up about 20% of the population at the University of New South Wales, for example, and that’s true of many other large institutions around Australia. Overall, foreign students are Australia’s sixth largest export. It’s a more than $2 billion dollar industry here, and that guarantees that you’ll be living It’s a Small World.
7. You’ll form incredible friendships. I enjoyed the working holiday I did in Sydney before going back to be a student. But I can say without hesitation that being a student is a much easier way to meet people and become involved in the community and the culture. There are clubs and societies to join, contests and events on campus to participate in, and a sense of family among the international students.
1. Australia is far away. No matter where you head for higher education, it’s true that at least part of what you save in tuition will get spent on travel, accommodation and getting set up. Maybe you’ll decide you want a car, or a fancy apartment, or a surf board and scuba gear. Starting a new life costs money, and while you can do it on a budget, you just might not want to have to do it all from scratch.
2. There’s a lot of red tape involved with getting all the paperwork done, and it can be frustrating and confusing. To get the visa you need a physical, including a chest x-ray to prove you are tuberculosis-free. You also have to put together financial statements, photos and college transcripts and you may have to fax things all over the place to get them stamped and signed by all the right people. If you take it piece by piece though it will all get done, and it will all be worth it.
3. There are really big bugs there. That’s about the worst thing I can think of. It seems like there should be more of a downside, but I’m stumped.
Ready to go? Book a student fare to Oz, and be sure to get your ISIC as well.