Australia is a very popular destination for students from overseas countries. They come lured by the quality of the education system, the chance to study in English, and the prospects that come with an Australian qualification. But for anyone who doesn’t know the country, there can be a lot of ideas that don’t have much foundation in reality. These are just some of the myths people believe about studying in Australia …
Myth #1: Australia is prejudiced
Australia is actually a very diverse country. Unfortunately it’s negative stories that make the press, and not stories of people getting along just fine. International students are very welcome in Australia, and studying here offers a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Most universities are situated in places where locals are used to a regular influx of students from all over the world.
Myth #2: It’s unaffordable
There’s no getting away from the fact that studying anywhere will be more expensive for foreign students. After all, you can’t expect to be treated the same as native students, whose parents have contributed to the cost of education in their taxes, and who will go on to make their own financial contribution. Factor in the long-term benefits of gaining a qualification from an Australian institution, and the investment in fees and living costs could pay for itself. It’s also worth looking into any scholarships or grants offered to overseas students, either by the institution you want to study at, or by the Australian government.
Myth #3: You’ll feel isolated
Well, everyone does when they wind up somewhere new. But there will be plenty of opportunities to get to know other students. That feeling of isolation will soon pass, providing you make the effort to talk to people and join activities. Also venture out into the community and get to know the local people. The onus is on you to find friends, so make the effort to do so.
Myth #4: It’s unsafe
People often talk about students getting into trouble with the law or getting into trouble when drunk. Australia is generally a very safe place; however, you would be wise to show the same caution that you would at home. Find out if there are any areas of town that are best avoided at night, and try to walk home with friends. Above all, limit the amount of alcohol you drink, especially if you are unused to it, and watch your drink at all times. Your student union can offer advice on staying safe.
Myth #5: Your English should be perfect
If English is not your first language, the thought of studying in it will be very scary. But don’t worry about making mistakes; your university will be understanding, and this is after all the perfect way to improve your English. In fact, there will often be additional English courses to help foreign students. Try to avoid spending all your spare time with people from your own country; speaking English as often as possible is really important.
Myth #6: It’s all about hard work/partying
Student life doesn’t have to be either one thing or the other. In fact, a mix of both will allow you to get the most out of your time in Australia. It would be a shame to leave without having seen something of this fascinating country, and working too hard can be stressful. Nor should you think that the most important thing is going out every night; if you don’t work hard, you’re wasting a lot of money and taking a place that could have gone to someone else. So try to find a balance; studies should come first, but you need time for leisure and relaxation as well.
Myth #7: You won’t get a job afterwards
Having a degree or other qualification from an Australian university can be an amazing boost for your CV. Many universities here are highly rated and regarded by other countries. In 2015, almost 70% of recent graduates were in full-time employment within four months of finishing their course. It is true that employment rates among graduates are declining, but if you choose the right course and study hard your prospects are good.
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