The English language teaching sector in Australia is known as Elicos, which stands for English language intensive courses for overseas students. Elicos centres are often attached to universities but there are also private language schools and Elicos centres at most Tafe (technical and further education) institutes. Many courses run year round, although more are available in summer (November to January). The association English Australia provides a support network for member schools and can be contacted by international students with any queries. Its website can be found at www.englishaustralia.com.au.
Secondary education in Australia
Most secondary schools in Australia are government-run, but more than ten percent are independent and charge full fees. Some schools offer boarding facilities, which are usually offered from Year seven (age 12) onwards. School attendance is compulsory in Australia between the ages of six and 15 years (Year 10), but students who want to progress to higher education must successfully complete Years 11 and 12, which are known as senior secondary school.
Each state or territory government has responsibility for its own schools but the Australian government ensures that comparable standards and the quality of teaching are maintained. Many of the independent schools in Australia have religious affiliations.
Higher education in Australia
There are 38 public and three private universities in Australia and they vary in size from 3,000 to 27,000 students. The most popular courses chosen by international students applying to enter Australia's higher education system are business, administration and economics. IDP Education Australia provides overseas marketing support to Australian institutions and has information offices in various countries around the world. The academic year begins in late February or early March and is split into two semesters.
Most international students in Australia pay full fees, but there is now a wide range off scholarships available, particularly for students from developing countries and postgraduate research.
The Australian government funds a range of scholarships and fellowships through the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (Detya)’s Endeavour Australia scheme, details of which can be found on their website, www.detya.gov.au. Australian Development Scholarships are offered by the Australian government's aid organisation, AusAID. These are primarily limited to students from certain developing countries in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. They are for technical, undergraduate and postgraduate levels of study in a wide range of disciplines at almost all Australian universities and Tafe institutes. More information can be obtained from the Australian diplomatic mission in your country or the AusAid website, www.ausaid.gov.au.
The government also provides International Postgraduate Research Scholarships each year for international students to obtain a postgraduate qualification and to gain experience with leading Australian researchers. These are open to nationals of all countries. When applying for admission to an Australian university you should indicate your interest in these scholarships or fellowships. The university will provide you with a formal application.
Some Australian universities offer scholarships for which international students are eligible but these tend to target PhD and master's degree students. You should check with your chosen university when applying to determine if they have any scholarships for which you would be eligible.
The easiest way to find out about scholarships that might be relevant to you is through www.studyinaustralia.gov.au ‘s online scholarships database.
Crucial visa info and work rights
Students wanting to undertake a course of study for less than three months can enter Australia on a visitor visa. Visitors in Australia are not allowed to work, do not have access to Australia's subsidised student health cover and must leave the country within three months. Visitor visas are available at Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates. Foreign nationals from certain countries are eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), an electronic visitor visa that can be applied for online. Approved ETA applications are electronically recorded on Australian government systems. See below for a list of countries that are eligible.
Students wanting to study in Australia for more than three months must apply for a student visa, choosing one of the seven student visa subclasses that applies to them. The subclasses relate to the principal course of study the student wishes to undertake and are separated into the independent Elicos sector; schools sector; vocational education and training sector; higher education sector; masters and doctorate sector; non-award foundation sector; and the AusAID and defence sector. Before applying for a visa all students must have been accepted for full-time study on a registered course.
Within the visa subclasses, students must fulfill various criteria relating to personal finance, health and language ability according to the assessment level prescribed to their country of nationality before they are granted a student visa. Assessment levels range from one to five - with level one being the lowest and level five being the highest - and the conditions for entry become more stringent as the assessment level gets higher.
Students from countries in assessment level three, four and five must apply for their initial student visa from outside Australia at the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate. Students from China are required to send their application to an office in Canberra, Australia.
More information on the visa requirements for Australia and a list showing the assessment levels of countries across the subclass sectors can be found on the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website, www.immi.gov.au.
Student visa holders are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays. Students wanting to apply for permission to work, the cost of which can vary, must do so once they are in Australia.
Travelling around Australia
Because Australia is such a big country, around 80 per cent of long-distance trips by public transport are made by air. Qantas, Virgin Blue and Australian Airlines offer domestic flights between key destinations in Australia, offering a variety of standard or low-cost fares. A one-way Virgin Blue flight from Darwin to Brisbane costs around AUS$180 (US$125), but look out or special offers and discounts.
Coach travel is a good option for budget travel and there are a number of passes and discount fares available. Tickets are interchangeable between the two main coach operators in Australia, Greyhound Pioneer and McCaffertys, and between them they offer an extensive network that covers all the main tourist areas. Discount options include the Aussie Explorer pass, which allows travel along a fixed route and a Kilometre pass, valid for unlimited travel between 2,000 and 20,000 kilometres on the network. The Aussie Explorer passes include routes such as Sydney to Cairns, with numerous opportunities to stop off on the way, costing AUS$327 (US$271) for a mini travellers pass.
Rail travel is the slowest mode of overland transport and remains relatively expensive, but it is cheaper for those purchasing the Austrail pass, which allows unlimited travel for 14, 21 or 30 days, or an Austrail Flexipass, which is valid for six months and allows a number of days travel within this period. Fifteen days of travel costs AUS$950 (US$789), and must be bought outside the country.
Many visitors group together and hire or purchase a car – rental prices vary according to the season and type of vehicle, but it can be an economical way of travelling. There are other travel options too, including trips run by companies such as Oz Experience, which organises travel, accommodation and activities along the way.
Two-week English course: AUS$575 (US$478)
Two weeks' homestay accommodation: AUS$424 (US$352)
Two weeks' residential accommodation: AUS$304 (US$252)
One-year secondary boarding school fees on average: AUS$5,000 to AUS$25,000 (US$4,153 to US$20,764)
One-year secondary school fees on average: AUS$6,000 to AUS$13,000 (US$4,983 to US$10,797)
One-year undergraduate tuition fees on average: AUS$10,000 to AUS$13,500 (US$8,306 to US$11,213)
One-year postgraduate tuition fees on average: AUS$9,000 to AUS$16,000 (US$7,475 to US$13,289)
Language exams available: Ielts, Cambridge exams, Toefl, Toeic
Guide to qualifications
Certificate courses can range from a few weeks to six months in length, and aim to provide highly practical skills or preparation for further study. Available from Year 10.
Advanced Certificate courses vary in length from one to two years, and can lead to studies for an associate diploma. They aim to provide students with skills to work in specialised first level management positions. They are available from Year 10.
Associate Diploma courses aim to provide support and managerial skills for professional occupations such as electronics and result in an advanced certificate for entry onto a further course of study. They take one-to-two years to complete and are available to students from Year 12 onwards.
Diploma courses provide advanced specialist skills for work at a professional level in a variety of occupations. The average length is two or three years. Available to students from Year 12.
Bachelor's degree studies are available from Year 12. It normally takes three years of full-time study to gain a bachelor's degree or four years for an honours degree. Some can be longer, for example, five years.
Postgraduate diplomas are taken after a bachelor's degree in order to enhance specialist skills in a certain field. They are usually one year in length.
Master's degree courses are also taken after a bachelor's degree. This advanced study is taken over a one- or two- year period in a specific subject.
MBAs (Master of Business Administration) provide specialised study in business-related fields, and are usually one year in length. An MBA is also taken after successful completion of a bachelor's degree in any field.
Doctoral/PhD degree courses are the highest level of study. They involve highly skilled research and take three or four years to complete.
Nationalities who can apply for
an electronic travel authority (ETA) in their home country
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA, Vatican City
In general, entry requirements for the Australian higher education system are:
* successful secondary school results (up to Year 12), possibly with relevant specialisation in subjects
* evidence of English language competence; Ielts is the only test accepted by the Australian government – for degree, an Ielts score of 6.0; for Tafes, an Ielts score of between five and six, depending on the course
* a statement of your work experience and career intentions
* a statement detailing how you intend to support yourself financially while in Australia
Applications can be made via an educational consultant, via an institution directly, or through IDP which offers an online service at www.idp.edu.au. If accepted, you will receive a letter and be required to pay for at least the first semester. Upon payment, a study place will be reserved for you and letter of offer issued.
Australia's education system
* Kindergarten age 4-6 years
* Primary school age 6-12 years School years 1-6
* Junior school age 13-16 years School years 7-10
* Senior school age 17-18 School years 11-12
University - undergraduate/bachelor's degree study and on to postgraduate studies/MBA/doctorate.
Tafe (Technical and Further Education) institutions offer certificate, advanced certificate, associate diploma and diploma courses. Transfer is possible on to certain undergraduate courses at university after a diploma course, giving up to a year's exemption on a bachelor's degree programme.
Private institutions offer certificate and diploma courses similar to Tafes.
English language students in Australia by country of origin 2006
Korea, Republic of 21%
Source: Language Travel Magazine
It is a requirement of the Australian government that study visa holders, except those from Sweden and Norway, register for Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before arriving. OSHC is a medical insurance scheme that usually provides for 100% of emergency and hospital care, and 85% of out-patient and general practitioner care.
OHSC does not cover dental work, over-the-counter medications, physiotherapy, treatment for pre-existing medical conditions during the first 18 months in Australia, and any problems related to pregnancy during the first nine months in Australia.
OSHCs start at AUS$75 (US$52) for three months. This fee can be paid to an education provider that will arrange the cover on a student's behalf. Students studying for less than three months are not eligible for OSHC and must arrange their own insurance provision.
International students in higher education in Australia by country of origin 2006
Hong Kong 6%
Korea, Republic of 3%
Source: Australian Education Interational
Level 3, 162 Goulburn Street, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia
Tel: +61 292 644700 Fax: +61 292644313
Email: email@example.com Web: www.englishaustralia.com.au
IDP Education Australia
GPO Box 2006, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Tel: +616 2858222 Fax: +616 2853036
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.idp.edu.au
Australian Council for Private Education & Training (Acpet)
Suite 12, Level 14, 329 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 1230, Australia
Tel: +61 292644490 Fax: +61 292644550
Email: email@example.com Web: www.acpet.edu.au
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