With a diverse range of courses on offer – from marine biology to business degrees – you never know where you’ll end up when you study in http://www.tntdownunder.com/article/2437918549.html[Australia], writes ROSALIND SCUTT.

Fancy studying for a diploma in Surf Studies on the Gold Coast? An undergraduate degree in marine biology on the Great Barrier Reef? Or maybe just a straight and geekish MBA?

With 39 universities, a plethora of private and government institutions for vocational training, a booming English Language industry and worldwide recognition of qualifications, there are far worse places to study than Australia. But the real benefits of studying here are the comparatively cheap fees and cost of living, plus the great year-round climate which enables that famous outdoor Aussie lifestyle.

Attending study and social groups, cheap beer at the uni bar and nights of raucous partying against a backdrop of sun and surf is an alluring blend. So alluring to British-born student Naomi Cook, that she chose to complete her Masters in nursing at Sydney University.

“After completing my undergraduate degree in philosophy in England I went to travel and live in Egypt where I met my partner. We both wanted to study further and when we did a comparison with other countries, Australia was the cheapest, while the quality of education was still very good,” says Naomi.

Naomi’s study programme is a two-year course and her annual fees are around $AU20,000. By comparison, Australian students enrolled in the same course,
pay an annual fee of around $4,000 – it hurts, but it’s cheaper than many other countries, she says.

Naomi holds a student visa – which is valid for the duration of her study. Other conditions typical of the student visa allow candidates to exit and enter Australia
as often as they like (New Zealand and the Pacific islands are temptingly close
by), and the ability to work to support yourself while here (student visa holders can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time, and unlimited hours during holiday periods).


Australia has reputable institutions offering quality courses which are monitored by a range of government and industry organisations. But before you commit,
do your research to ensure you are happy with the course content and reputation of the institution. Generally speaking though, the quality of Australian courses
is comparable to some of the best in the world.

Before You Apply

When it comes to applying for a visa through the notoriously strict DIMIA (Department of Immigration and Indigenous Affairs) not all nationalities
are created equal.

Be aware that countries are divided into different assessment levels according to the risk of nationals overstaying their visa (Level One being lowest and Level Five highest). If you are considering applying for a student visa, make sure you check out what category your country is, as it will affect your application.

For instance, if your country is a Level One you can apply for a student visa in Australia, whereas countries ranked Level Two or above have to apply from outside Australia (categories may also change depending on what kind of study you’re applying for).

Visa Information

Student visas are valid for any course accredited by the government to accept international students (known as CRICOS courses).

A student visa allows you to work part-time and is valid for the duration of your studies. Before you apply for your student visa you will need confirmation of your enrolment from an Australian institution. For most applicants, there is also the requirement for a medical examination for those who intend to study for periods of more than three months.

Before you apply for a student visa there’s some basic things you’ll need to get organised. You’ll need to prove that you’ve got sufficient funds to support yourself and pay for your studies, and that you’re prepared to comply with the conditions of your visa. If your first language is not English, you’ll also need to show that you’ve got the appropriate level of English to do the course.


Student visa holders must purchase an approved OSHC policy (overseas student health cover) from a registered health benefits organisation (health fund). You will need to buy OSHC before you come to Australia, to cover you from when you arrive and must maintain OSHC throughout your stay in Australia (Norwegian and Swedish students may be waived the compulsory OSHC visa requirements).

If in doubt, check with immigration. OSCH starts from $74 for three months cover ($274 for one year).

You will be covered for most medical expenses in public hospitals, clinics and specialists. Dental and optometry costs are not included.

What Can I Study

Community colleges (TAFES) and universities offer a baffling range of subjects including everything from juggling to journalism. As well as trades and all the classic disciplines such as arts and humanities, sciences, business and economics, medicine, law, education and engineering there are other streams for which Australia is particularly well known, including Asian studies, environmental sciences, viticulture, marine biology and the ever-popular MBA.

Course Costs

Although much higher than fees paid by Australian students, international study fees are inexpensive compared to countries like the UK and the US.


For more information about studying and living in Australia you should visit http://www.idp.com/. The website for the Department for Immigration and Multicultural Indigenous Affairs is http://www.immi.gov.au/.