So you’re in Oz. You’ve made it thousands of kilometres to get here, now what? Are you going to travel? Work? Study? Or all of the above? I had a feeling it might be option D. Luckily for you, a student visa allows you to do all three of those things, as well as give you a strong foundation for your future career.

But what about if you’re here on a tourist or a working holiday visa? No worries. MyQual International general manager Ken de Mallindine says the process is pretty straightforward for most travellers wanting to switch visas. “We frequently talk to working holiday visa holders who enjoy Australia so much that they want to stay longer and enrolling in a course of study is a great way to do this. Most students from Western Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, Japan and South Korea will generally have no trouble in converting their tourist visa to a student visa,” Ken tells us.

Unfortunately the switch will cost you some dough, with a student visa setting you back around $550. But (there’s always a but) it’s likely to be money well spent if you get more time in Oz and qualifications to boot. In addition, you’re not confined to just studying, as you’re allowed to work too.

“In Australia, students are able to work up to 20 hours per week while class is in session and full-time during study breaks and the summer vacation,” Ken says. So it won’t be long until you earn back that $550. If we’re starting to convince you that becoming a student in Australia is a good idea allow us to suggest a couple more things to consider before taking the leap into study.

While accommodation on campus is available, it is in high demand and snapped up quickly so if you’re going to opt for this, make sure you enrol way ahead of your start date to give yourself a good chance. “The vast majority of students share an apartment or a house with friends they meet in Australia and/or other students,” Ken says.

Another thing to consider is your knowledge of the English language. While applicants do not need to sit an English exam to apply, they may need to provide proof of English proficiency. “Such proof may be the results from an internationally recognised English exam that thestudent has sat recently, or transcripts from an earlier course of study where the language of instruction was English,” Ken explains.

If this isn’t possible, never fear, as you can always undergo an Englilsh course before you start. “If the institution decides that the student’s English is not good enough, the student will be required to undergo intensive English training for a period deemed sufficient to 
allow them to properly undertake the course,” he added.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to hang around longer and expand your mind then this just may be the answer!

Intervieuw With a Student

Katie Prey

Why did you decide to come to Australia?
I had graduated from university a couple of years ago and then went straight into work. I decided I wanted to visit Australia so I thought I might as well further my studies while I was at it.

Are you currently working?
Yes I’ve been working at a clothing shop in Coogee. I love it, it’s great that I can earn money so I can save up to travel around the country.

How did you get your job?
I dropped my resumé around a few places when I got here and was lucky enough to land a job.

Will you work when you start your course?
Yes, but I have to cut down to 20 hours per week as that’s the maximum I can do on a studentvisa. I’m hoping it will be enough to sustain the Sydney lifestyle I’ve been leading. Fingers crossed!

Do you have plans to stay in Australia after you finish your course?
Definitely. My goal is to land a role where I can get sponsored and stay in the country. If not, I may continue studying. It’s all too soon to tell at this stage.

November 15th, 2010