Australia is often referred to as the lucky country – at least by Australians! – and it’s easy to see why. According to the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index, it is the fourth happiest nation in the world. It’s also the largest island nation and has five of its cities in the top 40 for infrastructure standards worldwide.
With a unique landscape and relaxed culture, Australia is a popular destination for travellers, but it is also high on the list for international students. And it’s not just for the lifestyle, Australia contains 7 of the top 100 universities in the world and the government invests around $200,000,000 annually in international scholarships.
Still unconvinced? Here are some more reasons to consider Australia when choosing to study abroad.
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is a national policy that ensures there is a uniform and recognised progression for study. The framework was introduced in 1995 and includes secondary school, higher education, and vocational education and training (VET) courses.
The AQF establishes pathways between qualifications and sets the standard for learning outcomes at each level, so not matter what you study, you can be sure you will gain formal recognition.
The Education Services for Overseas Students Act was introduced in 2000 and is designed to protect standards for international students studying in Australia. This piece of legislation, amended in 2010, delivers regulatory requirements for education and training institutions through the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
In a 2012 survey co-conducted by the Australian Government and top education groups, 86 per cent of international students responded that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their experiences studying in Australia.
3. World-class research
For a country with a relatively small population, Australia has a history of punching above its weight when it comes to producing outstanding research. Many Australian discoveries and developments have led to tangible benefits around the world. This comes as a result of heavy investment in research, including over AU$140 million to be spent on Federation Fellowships over the next five years.
High profile discoveries to come out of Australia include penicillin, WiFi, the bionic ear, the ultrasound machine and the flight data recorder (black box).
4. Foundation studies
There’s no need to worry if you’re looking to study in Australia and you don’t meet the academic requirements. Many institutions will offer foundation studies – one-year preparatory courses designed to provide the skills and qualifications needed to continue higher education in Australia.
Completing foundation studies gives students the equivalent of an Australian high school graduation (year 12). While courses are taught in English, they often include English tutoring where required and are focused on preparing students for university study.
5. Student visa perks
Most student visas will permit you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session, and unlimited hours during course breaks. Not only can you work to help cover your costs while studying in Australia but you can gain contacts and spend some of your earnings checking out some of the great destinations the country has to offer.
Australia is a large country and it boasts a number of natural wonders, 17 of which are classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites. These destinations include the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park, Lord Howe Island Group, the Tasmanian Wilderness, Fraser Island and the Sydney Opera House.
Australia welcomes students from all over the world and offers a range of living options to suit all kinds of needs. Depending on the length of your stay, where you’re studying and your personal preference, you can choose between short-term accommodation, rental properties, on campus accommodation and homestays.
You can also feel secure in the knowledge that you are legally protected by the Australian government’s fair trading agency wherever you choose to live.
Regardless of what level of study you are looking at, or whether you want to experience regional Australia or one of its capital cities, there is an international study option that’s just right for you.