When we think of Australia, we picture beautiful open spaces, pristine beaches, lush wildlife, a plethora of sporting activities and some of the most advanced yet livable cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. However, Australia offers much more than just these. In the past two decades, an increasing number of Indian students opted for Australia as a destination for their higher education. Since 2005, Australia is in fact, one of the top 3 destinations for Indian students to pursue their studies abroad.

If we consider the statistics of the last 3 years, in 2017 the number of Indian students that enrolled for full-time courses at Australian universities was close to 87,000, which was close to a 30% increase from 2016. In 2018, almost 105,000 students enrolled in Australian universities. The year 2019 saw another steep rise in the influx of Indian students taking the count to close to 120,000.

There are specific reasons that contribute to the huge draw of the Indian students to Oz. The most important factor is – high quality and practical education offered by their universities. Australian universities are globally recognized for their industry-driven curriculum and state-of-the-art infrastructure and research facilities. The common 10+2+3 education structures between the Indian and Australian education system makes it easy for Indian students to transfer to Australia and contributes hugely to its popularity. The fact that Indian students can pursue a Master’s degree without having to study an additional year and/or take a competitive exam like the GRE/GMAT is a big advantage for some students.

While most Indian students opt for courses in Business, Information Technology, Engineering, Science, Health and Hospitality, Australia is very popular for programs in Sports Management, Petroleum Engineering, Renewable Engineering, and Marine Biology. Australian Universities also offer generous scholarships and monthly stipends that bring the overall expenditure down and making it affordable.

One of the main endearment for international students choosing to study in Australia has always been the availability of work opportunities. The fact that international students are allowed to work part-time anywhere up to 40 hours/fortnight during their course helps students get practical experience and exposure and in-turn brings their living costs down. As per the rules passed by the Australian government in November 2019, international students who are studying in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane would be eligible for a 2-year post-study work permit post successful completion of their course. To take the population pressure off major cities and to create a more uniform and stronger economy, the Australian government is currently prioritizing the movement of migrants to the regional areas of Australia. If an international student studies in any area outside of these three cities, it would be categorized as ‘Regional’. By studying in a regional university, a student gets additional points for PR and gets a post-study work permit of 3-4 years after finishing his course. Some of the good cities that Indian students can choose to study that qualify as regional are- Gold Coast, Geelong, Wollongong, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, Townsville, etc. These cities among many others offer a high quality of life and low living costs.

Kiran Sawhney

Head Counselor, Australia/New Zealand

Imperial Overseas Education Consultants

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