Published: 07th September 2022
Australia continues to be the preferred destination for Indian students. Here's why
For students from the Indo-Pacific region, Australia is conveniently located in a similar time zone with frequent flight connections across the region
Pursuing your education in Australia is a wholesome experience for Indian students, right from the education systems to the wide range of opportunities it offers in terms of jobs, travel and food!
What's more? Seems like Indian students like to keep going back to Australia for more. As Dr Aleksandr Voninski, Strategist with ETS, shares, "Recent government data indicates that over 90% of student visa holders from India have returned to Australia to commence or continue their studies on campus."
The process of applying to study in Australia isn't overly complicated, but one does need to be aware of what exactly they need to prepare and if the programme and institution they are applying for is the best fit.
Dr Voninski highlights all the points students need to be aware of, including some most-recommended things-to-do list, when planning or moving to Australia. Excerpts from a conversation:
What draws people to study abroad in Australia?
Australia is viewed around the world by many people on their dream destination bucket list to visit one day. This certainly holds true for students seeking to study abroad, either for English training, school, vocational, tertiary studies or for short-term study abroad and working holidays. Australia is considered a fun, safe and welcoming destination for international students and travellers.
Whilst Australia is home to the world’s oldest indigenous population, it is also a young country with nearly half of its population born overseas, giving Australia significant cultural vibrancy, diversity and acceptance. Blessed with thousands of miles of pristine beaches, abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery and vibrant cities, Australia has a bit of something for everyone.
For students from the Indo-Pacific region, Australia is conveniently located in a similar time zone with frequent flight connections across the region. In July 2022, Australia received the highest number of student visa applications ever, which highlights Australia’s enduring attractiveness in a post-COVID landscape. Undoubtedly Australia’s flexible work visa conditions of international students and its abundance of post-study work and skilled migration opportunities makes Australia an incredibly attractive destination.
What trends have you noticed related to Indian students going to Australia (for example pursuing certain opportunities; coming from particular regions and so on)?
Australia’s borders reopened in January this year and Indian students have shown to be the most eager to return. Recent government data indicates that over 90% of student visa holders from India have returned to Australia to commence or continue their studies on campus. An equal number of Indian students are attracted to both vocational as well as university-level studies
Sydney and Melbourne are the most popular destinations given the high concentration of institutions as well as large, vibrant Indian diasporas. Indian students are attracted to a variety of programmes, from IT and software engineering to nursing and vocational training courses that lead to in-demand careers.
Australia’s education system is attractive to Indian students as it provides a variety of easy-to-understand and achieve post-study work options, meaning, international graduates can remain in Australia to gain further skills and grow their career in a wide range of industries.
Australia’s borders were closed for two years and the government is supportive of international graduates applying their skills to contribute to Australia’s knowledge economy.
What are the most important requirements for studying in Australia that aspirants should be aware of?
Australian institutions have a variety of requirements for entry to their programmes. Institutions will look at your academic record and your grades and will take into account any relevant work experience you may have.
All programmes have minimum English requirements and TOEFL® is recognised by all vocational and higher education institutions for entry.
Institutions also undertake a Genuine Temporary Entrants (GTE) check to ensure the financial bona fides of the applicant are clear and that the applicant has the ability to pay for their programme, housing and food.
Evidentiary requirements may differ by institution or by programme and this is why most Indian students apply for their institution through a recognised education agent to facilitate the volume of documents required. It’s not an overly complicated process, but applicants do need to be aware early on what they need to prepare and if the programme and institution they are applying for is the best fit.
How can students use TOEFL scores in Australia?
TOEFL iBT® scores can be used for entry to all Australian vocational and higher education institutions. There are different TOEFL iBT formats, from TOEFL iBT and the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition taken in test centres, to the increasingly popular TOEFL iBT Home Edition, a remotely-proctored test that can be taken at home.
All three of these test modes are recognised by Australian institutions, because they’re exactly the same test! The TOEFL® Essentials™ is a relatively new English test and we anticipate more Australian institutions to begin recognising this test in the coming year. For Australian migration purposes, only the TOEFL iBT taken in a test centre is recognised at present.
What advice would you give prospective study abroad aspirants?
Prospective students to Australia should carefully consider all of the study options available.
For example, students can commence their studies in a vocational education programme and move into a university level programme, if they so desire. Australia offers a variety of different programmes and prospective students should consider their future careers and how their programme can support their career ambitions.
Some institutions have strong work integrated learning programmes, internships and skills development programmes that help international students hit the ground running when they graduate.
Prospective students should also prepare their English capabilities before they depart for Australia, either through language lessons or online TOEFL test preparation modules. Communicating effectively inside and outside the classroom will set students up for success, ease the transition into Australian life and build greater confidence and resilience.
What do you recommend people experience (for example, food, sights and so on) if they select Australia for study abroad?
Australia has so much to offer! Australia is widely known to have fresh fish, meat and fruit. We have such a wealth of diverse dining options, fresh food markets and culinary festivals nationwide throughout the year.
Australia also hosts some amazing festivals throughout the year, from vibrant New Year’s parties, Chinese New Year, Diwali and Christmas. Australia is a sports-loving nation, with rugby, football and cricket matches held throughout the year.
International students should try it all — get involved with student clubs and groups and make the most of an amazing menu of experiences. Many students choose to travel during the holiday breaks to experience natural wonders like Bondi beach, the Great Barrier Reef, Blue Mountains, the Great Ocean Road, Uluru and the amazing outback.
To learn more about TOEFL for Australia, visit toefltest.in.
(Dr Alek Voninski is Strategist, Global Client Relations and Stakeholder Engagement at ETS)