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Australia is one of the most alluring countries in the world, and as such is a focal destination for travellers and students. Natural beauty, magnificent architecture and a hugely diverse array of nature and wildlife. What other country has 40 millions kangaroos, over 100 million sheep and more than 10,000 beaches?
As an international student studying abroad in Australia, you will not only enjoy the vibrant city life, but venture from the urban neighbourhoods and you will be met with a wonderfully eclectic mix of environments, from sun-drenched horizons, to the rugged wilderness of the Outback; the majestic underwater world that is the Great Barrier Reef, to the surfers' paradise beaches of the Gold Coast.
You will most likely be based in one of Australia's bustling cosmopolitan cities - often with a beach only a stone's throw of your apartment. The government's relaxed viewpoint on immigration with almost a quarter of the population having been born overseas brings a unique, fascinating, and exciting aura and influence to these cities.
A Western culture has been adopted with regard to the arts and food, although the multicultural population also have their influence. The laid-back attitude and love of the outdoors could not be seen better than in the vast array of major sporting events passing through the continent each year. Australia most notably hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The Australian Open (one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments), and the Formula One Australian Grand Prix are annual events, whilst other popular sports include Australian (Aussie rules) football, soccer, and surfing.
The underlying magnetism of this country is that one night you can find yourself strolling round Sydney Harbour, and the next 'crocodile hunting' or lazing on one of the many picturesque beaches the country has to offer. The incredible Blue Mountains are just over an hour from Sydney. Having said this, distances between some places can be huge. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, spanning three time zones (see below for details on travel). With one of the lowest population densities in the world, it is not hard to escape the hustle and bustle should you need some time out. It is indeed the sheer vastness of the country and the great diversity of different regions that is the foundation to Australia's character.
With eight institutions in the QS World University Rankings Top 200, five of which are in the Top 50, Australian universities have a deserved reputation for high international quality. Australian undergraduate qualifications are regarded as being among the best in the world. Similar to the situation in the UK, very few scholarships are offered to international undergraduate students.
Those leading the pack are the Group of Eight:
- The University of Adelaide
- The Australian National University
- The University of Melbourne
- Monash University
- The University of New South Wales
- The University of Queensland
- The University of Sydney
- The University of Western Australia
Clear framework of qualifications
Reasonable cost of tuition and living costs
Ability to work and study
Good international reputation for the quality of degrees
Ease of gaining an entry visa
High numbers of international students on some programs
International student accommodation
Accommodation will not prove a problem for international students in Australia. Whether you opt for university flats or halls of residence, private accommodation or even the very welcoming home-stays or farm-stays, you will not be short of options. Most international students live in university accommodation, as this is the essence of university life contributing to the buzzing social scene that is part of your study abroad experience in Australia.
Seasons in Australia are the opposite of the northern hemisphere. Summer begins in December, and winter in June. However, winters tend to be pleasantly warm and, as Australia is one of the driest countries on the planet, whatever your pastimes, they can generally be enjoyed all year round.
Summers can be uncomfortably hot in the north, which can bring wet and very humid weather - watch out for the swarms of box jellyfish in the sea around this time. This is the perfect time for the southern beaches. Winter allows skiing in New South Wales and Victoria.
Australia is very well connected. Depending on how far you are travelling and on your preferences, there will be an option to suit you. Domestic airlines cover most routes between cities, and due to the distances and size of the country, this may often be the best option. However, the road and rail networks are comprehensive, and with some of the most spectacular drives in the world - the Great Ocean Road is a must - a road trip can prove exciting and rewarding.
Public transport is efficient and affordable, from the ferries and monorails in Sydney to the trams of Melbourne. Buses and trains are commonplace in most cities.
Price litre of petrol A$1.20 small bottle of water A$2.50 small bottle of beer A$3.00 movie ticket A$18.00 souvenir t-shirt A$30.00 postcard A$2.00 litre of milk A$2.00 cup of coffee A$2.50 loaf of bread A$3.30 street treat (kebab) A$7.00
Dialing code: 61
Currency: Australian Dollar (A$)
Time zone: GMT/UTC +10 (Eastern Standard Time), GMT/UTC +9.5 (Central Time), GMT/UTC +8 (Western Time)
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