Why Australia?

  • Incredibly beautiful country with a wide range of scenic and leisure opportunities
  • Internationally acclaimed education options for international students, including many English-language options
  • Excellent pathway and articulation between programmes such as diploma to degree
  • Competitive in terms of cost of living and study
  • Multicultural, friendly society, with over 400,000 international students coming to study each year

Location and Geography

Australia is an island continent of approximately 7.7 million square kilometers. It is the sixth-largest country in the world. Located between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean, it is the oldest, one of the lowest and driest continent. Because of its unique and varied geography, it is an archaeologist’s delight, with landforms dating back millions of years. Canberra is the capital.


The climate ranges from tropical in the north to temperate in the south. The largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid. Australian cities enjoy a mild climate, with maximum temperatures falling in a fairly narrow range (e.g., in the summer in Sydney, the temperature might range from 16° to 26° Celsius). The Australian sun can be very strong.

Living Conditions and Cost of Living

Living conditions in Australia are generally quite good. Australia consistently ranks in the top five or ten in the world when it comes to quality of life indexes (e.g., The Economist’s) or human development indexes (e.g., The United Nations’). Housing and accommodation is of good quality, public transport is available, food and water are high quality, and many public amenities are accessible. Students can experience a wide range of leisure and sporting activities, and can expect low crime rates and a safe environment.

Education System

Education is divided into three tiers: primary, secondary, and post-secondary/tertiary. Up to the age of around 15 or 16, education is compulsory; this age is determined by each state. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), a unified system of national qualifications of schools, vocational training and education, regulates post-compulsory education and the higher education sector. Post-secondary education comprises two sectors: vocational/technical education and higher education. Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector must meet the nationally agreed standards of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF). In 2007, nearly 108,000 international students were enrolled in VET courses in Australia.

There are 39 Australian universities, and many other recognized higher education institutions, located in capital cities and many regional centers. Australian courses are of very high quality and highly regarded worldwide by employers and other institutions.

Specific Information for International Students

Australia is a world leader in the provision of education to international students. More than 400,000 students from around 200 countries receive an Australian education each year. The government notes top source countries for international students as being China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) issues a unique CRICOS number. English-language education (ELICOS) centres are accredited by the National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS), and national professional associations include English Australia (EA), ACPET, WAPETIA, and TAFE.

Australian Visa Application

The academic year in Australia comprises two semesters; the first begins in February and the second begins in July. Some universities and programmes offer other start dates outside of these, but these are the norms. The deadlines for sending in applications are November 1 for the February intake and April 1 for the July intake. International students should begin the application process at least three months in advance.

For courses lasting less than three months, international students can use a visitor visa or working holiday visa. For longer courses, they must apply for a student visa. Student visas are only issued for CRICOS-registered institutions or courses. Visas are divided into seven subclasses based on the study option a student has chosen. They are:

  • 570 – Independent ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
  • 571 – Schools
  • 572 – Vocational Education and Training
  • 573 – Higher Education
  • 574 – Post-graduate Research
  • 575 – Non-award
  • 576 – AusAID and Defence

Students must be enrolled on full-time courses to be eligible for Australian student visa. In addition, they must satisfy the Australian government’s general visa conditions. Extra conditions may apply depending on the student’s country of origin.

Employment Options

Like every other overseas education destination, a Full time International student is allowed to work part time (maximum of 20 hours a week) during school semester and full time during vacation periods.

Related Links for more information:

www.studyinaustralia.gov.au Official Australian Government site for studying in Australia
www.immi.gov.au Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
www.deewr.gov.au Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
www.aei.gov.au Australian Education International
www.idp.com IDP Education Australia (IDP)
www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au Australian government culture portal
www.thesource.gov.au Youth forum: Find information on schools
www.peo.gov.au Parliamentary Education Office
www.gov.au Australian, State and Territory and Local Governments
www.oshcworldcare.com.au Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
www.neasaustralia.org.au National ELT Accreditation Scheme Limited (NEAS)
www.englishaustralia.com.au English Australia
www.englishcafe.com.au Links to more than 150 English-language colleges in Australia
www.australian-universities.com/ Australian Education Network University and College Guide
www.goingtouni.gov.au Higher education website
www.auqa.edu.au The Australian Universities Quality Agency