5 Things International Students Need to Know About AustraliaAugust 31, 2018

You're an ambitious teenager who wants to expand your horizon. You're setting your sights on Australia, which is a perfect choice.

It should help if you acquaint yourself with the culture, looking for a copy of an old Aussie film on YouTube. You think that George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road" is a good start, but be warned. This is a remake, and it may be the director's vision of "Gulliver's Travels" set in a post-apocalyptic world. It should take you some time to look for the original version, starring a young Mel Gibson. The original film's atmosphere reflects the anxieties that Aussies deal with. The financial crisis (of the 1970s) could be the suspect, but moviegoers would notice the road rage instead. You're not supposed to perceive it, as you check out the other notable titles.

Films like "Love and Other Catastrophes" reveal the sunny disposition of the Aussie people, which should assure you. After all, a friendly environment could be the only thing you need to inspire you to study better. Watch out for the idiosyncrasy, though. (The works of P.J. Hogan might help you on that one.) Before you yearn for new mates, you must know about upside-down seasons. If you happen to come from the Northern Hemisphere, then don't expect autumn during the last quarter of the year. The leaves have never been greener while the flowers have never lovelier, which is what spring is all about. Someone you know might have witnessed it while on holiday in Down Under, though.

Last but not the least, transportation won't be an issue at all. Think of the British transport system, where you would know the exact time that you must wait on a particular bus stop. (You could get a discount as well.) This could prompt you to heave a sigh of relief, which is well and good. A case of nervousness won't be allowed in what might be the most laid-back place you might find. This is only the beginning, though.

The Essentials of Australian Education

Everything is simplified for international students. The Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF) came into effect two and a half years ago, which would mean that you only need to apply for a Student visa (subclass 500). It doesn't matter what your field of study is. Visa application is also covered under Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Think of it as a precaution, which is for your own good.

You must familiarize yourself with the new GPA system. Forget about numbers, as the GPA system in Australian universities features letters. If you want to make a good first impression on your admissions tutor, then aim for HD (high distinction). Don't be disappointed if you would end up with D (distinction). It's the second-highest mark in the system. C (Credit) is decent enough while P (Pass) is a mark for papers that aren't written well (or prepared ahead). And you don't want the dreaded F (Fail) in your records. Easy, isn't it?

There are financial options for those who can't afford it all. You may have trepidation after hearing stories from people whom you know (and who have been to Australia). Struggling artists selling caramelized almonds and nuts, with several (small-sized) sketches of the Sydney Opera House selling for several dollars. Buskers struggling to make 20 dollars before calling it a day. And backpackers who pretend to be homeless citizens in need a hot soup. It may be closer to the truth, it may not. It doesn't matter, as foreign students could apply for a scholarship. If you think you're worth more than a pyramid of gold bars, then make sure that your CV doesn't highlight your exemplary academic performance. You must balance it out with your interests, where your soft skills should make you distinguished from the other applicants. A one-minute video could put you in the short list.

You have work options as well. The law states that you're allowed to work up to forty hours a fortnight, which is reasonable enough. If you have trouble in making ends meet, then you don't have to look far and wide for part-time opportunities. The number of hours would be good enough, as you still have to keep your coursework as your top priority.

Oz is a multicultural country (after all). The diverse population should banish your worries, but you still have uncertainties. You would find a helping hand IF you ask.

Exploring Oz

The largest cities in Australia are no different from the major capitals (like London), where you can discover (and indulge) in trendy restaurants and cafes. You can also unleash your creative monster while studying every exhibit in museum and gallery. (Money is not a problem here, as there are museums and galleries that don’t charge visitors. You can start with Sydney’s centre.) If you happen to grow up in a community with a lush garden, then you could find such places in Down Under. Make sure that you won’t end up spending more time in exploring these options. Getting an undergraduate degree matters most.

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