The number of international students in Australia is predicted to rise by 30 % by the year 2020, suggests a report released by the International Education Advisory Council in 2013.
If you are looking at Australia as your destination of choice for higher studies, start by weighing the benefits of studying in Australia to understand how it will impact your career opportunities and if it meets your requirements.
1. Top ranking universities and institutions
You can choose from over 22,000 courses at over 1,200 institutions in Australia. Australia is the third most popular destination for international students after US and UK, according to OECD Indicators 2012. 14 Australian universities were ranked in the Top 100 ‘under 50’ as per the results of Times Higher Education World Reputation ranking for 2013-2014 powered by Thomson Reuters, and five of the country’s universities featured in the top 100 World University Rankings 2014-2015.
2. Quality of Australia’s education system
Regulatory bodies and laws ensure that the quality of education imparted through registration of institutes and accreditation of courses protects international students. These bodies include
- The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000, which outlines the legal structure for delivery of education to international students studying in Australia on a student visa.
- National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007, which set nation-wide consistent standard for education providers for international students.
- Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) ensures that the Australian institution you study at meets the defined standards for international students. You are required to select a course at a CRICOS registered institution.
- The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is Australia’s national regulator for vocational education and training and regulates the quality of education provided through courses and training providers.
- The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) regulates the quality of higher education in Australia through quality and compliance assessments.
3. Internationally recognised qualifications
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the country’s national policy for qualification regulation. It incorporates qualifications from each education and training sector (this includes university, vocational education and training institute and English language schools and centres for international students at tertiary levels) to form a single qualification that is recognized throughout Australia and internationally. The Australian federal and state governments endorse AQF.
It will allow you to move across the education system in Australia and abroad. The AQF provides a standard method for other countries to recognize your Australian qualification and derive a comparable qualification for that country.
4. Support services for students
Australia offers support services and consumer protection rights for international students. These include services provided by your university or institute or the territory, state and federal government departments such as
- Consumer protection rights
- Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) for issues you may face with a private education or training institution. Different states and territories have separate Ombudsman for addressing problems at a public institution.
- Tuition Protection Service can help you find an alternate course or refund any remaining tuition fees in case your education provider is unable to continue your course.
- Students associations represent and assist students studying in Australia. National institutions include the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) and the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS). Most universities and institutions have their own associations that you can know more about at their respective websites.
5. Work while you study
Most student visas will allow you to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week when course is in session and unrestricted hours during vacation breaks. Part-time work in form of paid work, internships (paid or unpaid) and volunteering can assist you with your living costs or help you gain work experience, depending upon the nature of employment. Learn more: work while studying in Australia
6. Culture and diversity
Australia is counted amongst the most multicultural cities of the world. The overseas-born population has risen steadily over the years, increasing from one in ten Australians (or ten per cent) in 1947 to more than one in four (twenty per cent) in 2011, according to a report published in 2013 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates the contribution of net overseas migration to total population growth for the year ended 31 March, 2013 as 60 per cent.
This creates a diverse mix of cultures that you can experience through meeting people and exploring future career opportunities as part of your student life. Further, the 2011 OECD Better Life Index awarded Australia one of the highest ratings for safety amongst other countries (9.3 out of ten), making Australia a safe destination to live and pursue higher studies. It is no surprise then that Australia is the only country (along with Canada) that has 2 cities featuring in the “top 10 student-friendly cities 2014” by QS ranking: Top 10 Cities in the World to be a Student
8. Opportunities after graduation
The benefits of studying in Australia also include the opportunities available to you once you graduate. By applying for either a new student visa or work visa, you may continue to pursue a higher level of qualification, choose another field of study, have your PhD thesis assessed, or look for work. Depending upon your eligibility, you may also apply to become a permanent resident under the General Skilled Migration Programme.