"Thinking of studying overseas but cannot decide where to go."
I remember walking into an overseas study agency when I was a senior in high school and a lady gave me a thick guide book on study destinations: United States, Canada, England, Australia, Ireland, Singapore, Japan, China and so on. As always, with so many choices, comes much confusion.
How should all these available options be narrowed down to only one country? You may be asking the same question I asked myself. There are countless considerations to weight, but one thing for sure, you need to be certain of what you really want out of your educational journey. I chose Australia at the end and it was a life-changing decision and completely worth my effort.
Here are some of the main reasons:
Australia has an excellent weather. Growing up in Southeast Asia, I naturally prefer a warm climate. While it does get cold during the winter, most of places in Australia doesn't get snow.
Having experienced Australia’s winter many times, I can assure you that the cold season here is totally bearable and quite pleasant compared to other places in the world. In the summer, pretty much everywhere in the country is warm. Enjoy the sunshine and beaches!
Australia embraces cultural diversity. A large population of students from all over the world comes to the land of Kangaroo to study every year. Thanks to that, my study life was particularly diverse. In Sydney where I live, I can experience cultural elements from various countries, such as:
- Lakemba’s Ramadan Markets selling Muslim street food
- Chinatown in Haymarket
- Korean Festival in Strathfield and more (read more here).
There are also a lot of opportunities to learn about unique Australian Aboriginal cultures from museums, natural landscapes and guided tours. Most importantly, Australia is a friendly and welcoming country where you would meet a lot of open and laid-back people.
Top education system. Besides world-leading universities, there are also many English language schools and affordable colleges in Australia. The cheaper options such as English studies and VET will require around $1,500 per term, hence, it will cost you roughly $4,000 to $8,000 annually, respectively.
Educational institutions in Australia put emphasis not only on academic results but also strongly on soft skills such as teamwork and independent learning.
Work opportunities. I could work up to 20 hours weekly during the study term and full-time during the term break.
Websites such as Gumtree and SEEK would be useful for job hunting, but make sure to apply for an Australian bank account and a Tax File Number (TFN) before applying for a job.
Adventure. This was probably the most important point for my choice to study in Australia. As an avid bushwalker, I love the fact that Australia has more than 500 national parks. So, this country is beyond the images of Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and endless beautiful beaches that may be swimming in your head. Have you heard of Blue Mountain, Port Campbell, Kakadu, Kosciuszko and Cradle Mountain National Park? Also, despite living near Sydney CBD (Central Business District), I can easily visit some of those hundreds’ national parks. For example, the famous Blue Mountain and Royal National Park are within a 2-hour drive and slightly longer by train.