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3 Things to Know About Becoming an Exchange Student in Australia

The Land Down Under is a safe and peaceful place with well-equipped healthcare and educational facilities along with a high standard of living. Its natural environment boasts of a snowy mountain region, sweeping desert lands, and beautiful virgin beaches. Their manmade structures are also impressive with the Sydney Opera House being a great example.

Australia has plenty to offer not just to locals but to tourists and more. It’s also a wonderful place to learn English as they are welcoming and tolerant of foreigners and students alike.

If you are interested in studying in Australia as an exchange student, here are several things you should know about:

Finding a School

Study abroad programs can be completed at any Australian school that offers them. On the other hand, exchange programs may be offered by many Australian secondary or tertiary schools. But you can only enroll for them if your home institution is in partnership with the school you’re interested in.

These programs typically involve the completion of one or two semesters of studying overseas. They may be credited towards your course but the amount of credit varies according to the academic system you have back home. You are usually allowed to enroll in any subject though some may depend on fulfilled prerequisites. Talk to the academic advisors at both your home and Australian institutions for details.

To simplify, general rules for exchange programs are:

  • Your chosen Australian school must have a formal exchange agreement with your home institution.
  • You must remain enrolled back home during your time in Australia.
  • You must continue paying your normal fees to your home institution.
  • You must have completed a minimum of two semesters of full-time study back home.
  • You must have permission from the student exchange coordinator at your home institution to enroll.
  • You must satisfy minimum academic requirements set by the Australian school.
  • Your credits will normally count towards your home course as part of the exchange agreement unless otherwise specified.

Applying for a Visa

Anyone who wants to study in Australia for more than three months needs to get a student visa. The application process is fairly easy as everything is done online. You don’t need to bother with waiting for the document to arrive in the mail or with paying a visit to the embassy either. Take note that it’s going to cost you, though, so be sure to save up lots of cash.

There are numerous requirements that you likely need to meet in order to be eligible for a student visa. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)
  • English language proficiency
  • Academic records and completed qualifications
  • Financial capacity to cover the duration of your entire stay
  • Accommodation, custody, and general welfare arrangements for minors
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
  • Character requirements
  • Health requirements
  • Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) or Letter of Offer from your education provider

Adjusting to Australia

Studying in Australia might not be as hard as going to a developing country with no running water. However, if you go unprepared, you might find yourself facing a few challenging surprises when you get there. Here are a few tips on how to survive and actually enjoy being an exchange student in the Land Down Under:

  • Take appropriate measures for jet lag. If you come from the Americas or even Europe, you should brace yourself for the time differences. This means that if you arrive at night, you should go to bed even if you’re not sleepy. Meanwhile, if you arrive in the morning, you should force yourself to stay up. The sooner you try to adjust to the new timezone, the easier it will be.
  • Do your research on the seasons. What may be summer season in the northern hemisphere will be winter in Australia—and vice versa. Doing your research on the climate beforehand will enable you to pack accordingly for your trip. Bear in mind that weather in certain areas will vary with some that will experience heavy snowing while others will have no snow at all.
  • Manage your expectations for explorations. For sure, you have a bucket list of places to visit, things to do, and food to eat in Australia. It may or may not include the Outback, Uluru, and the Great Barrier Reef. But, unless you have plenty of time and money to spare, you will likely be unable to tick off everything on your list. Be practical and choose nearby sites instead.

For sure, the points above are barely touching the surface of student exchange programs in the Land Down Under. There are lots more details and complexities that you need to think about. But what’s been discussed here can serve as the foundation of your knowledge. Simply learn and do what you can and you should be able to successfully enroll as an exchange student soon enough.

Also, please check out our other blog posts here in NZ Travel Secrets. You might be able to find the information that you’re looking for here.

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