Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Explore study abroad options in Australia

Originally Published in The Hindustan Times Education Supplement

Australia has recently become a bigger spot on an Indian student’s map of dream study destinations. Already ranking high as a holiday location, there is no doubt that Australia is filled with beautiful scenery and has an adventurous vibe, but now we know its educational facilities do not fall short either. In fact, the number of Indian students in Australia is increasing at an annual rate of 15%, with a cohort of 48,500 Indians last year. Here is a quick glimpse of what Australian education has to offer. 

While its proximity, compared to the US, does play a big role in the increased interest in study in Australia, lots of other benefits of the education system have gone unnoticed. Further studies in Australia can be a great option if you do not want the rigidity in the course structure like in the UK but do not want to travel as far as the US either. With a wide range of 22,000 courses across 1,200 institutions, educational pathways are seamless. To add to this, the entry-level requirements are simply academic merit of any sort and English level proficiency. No standardized tests such as the SATs or the ACTs are required and extracurricular activities are not a main consideration in the application process. The visa process is also straightforward and the student visa application success rate is as high as 98%. Most universities generously provide on campus housing or student residences, so that is another concern omitted from the checklist.

If you want to save on tuition fees and travel expenses, Australia again stands out as ideal. There are also various scholarships available for international students. The ‘Australia Awards’, ‘International Postgraduate Research Scholarships’ and ‘Australia APEC Women in Research Fellowship’ are amongst the most coveted financial awards.  Australian education can be beneficial even after graduation; the post-study work rights are as long as two years upon completion of a Bachelors or a Masters program. With such factors in mind, an Australian university experience seems like a dream come true.

The Australian VET system also has a strong connection with PM Narendra Modi’s vision of building a skilled Indian workforce. The VET system allows Indians to become equipped with workspace specific skills and exposure to the real world. Australian Group of Eight (G8) Universities have also made a new agreement where they work towards attracting more students from India. Thus, chances of a successful application are high.

Bear in mind though, Australian cities are among the most expensive. You will have to become good at budgeting your way through university in order to survive there! With an average tuition fee of about 30,000 Australian Dollars per year, cost can become the biggest obstacle to an Australian education. Being an international student also means paying higher fees and not getting some of the basic advantages that local students get (such as concession cards for transport). In order to make up for the expenses, many students gain work experience alongside their degrees which is allowed on a student visa. This is in contrast to student visa policies in the UK or the US.

So if you’re looking for options in other English speaking countries with generous post-graduation work policies and an incomparable quality of life, explore education in Australia for your further studies. Most likely, you will not regret your decision! 


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