Australia is one of the top study-abroad destinations, and as a result, around 600,000 students from all over the world pack their bags each year and move to the Land Down Under to advance their studies. Here’s what you need to know before taking the leap!
Ranked as the third-best higher education system globally in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, and boasting a range of world-class universities and educational institutions offering a multitude of degrees and majors, it’s little wonder so many students from around the world make the trip to Australia to study.
If you’re one of them, you’re probably equally excited and nervous about starting this new chapter in your life. While studying abroad will present you with life-changing experiences and open new doors for you career-wise, the idea of leaving all your friends and family behind and settling in a foreign country can be quite daunting, to say the least.
Fortunately, doing a bit of research on the Australian culture and lifestyle can make the accommodation process a lot smoother and help you enjoy your abroad experience to the fullest. So, here are some essential aspects you need to know about Australia before you start your adventure.
#1 – Australia is huge
The fact that Australia is both a country and a continent should give you a vague idea of its vastness. If you want exact numbers, Australia stretches over 7.688 million square kilometres, being the sixth largest country in the world. This means that if you want to travel across Australia and discover its many wonders, you need to arm yourself with patience and be prepared for some very long trips.
So even though driving across its vastness allows you to explore incredibly scenic routes, if you want to get from point A to point B faster and check as many bucket list destinations as possible, flying is definitely the better option.
Also, since Australia is a popular tourist destination and many of its beautiful cities are swarming with visitors, booking tickets in advance and making reservations for things like Sydney airport car park is a smart move if you want to have a less-stressful travel experience.
#2 – It’s not always sunny in Australia
You may think that the Australian climate is all about high temperatures and sunny weather, and thus you might be tempted to pack only light summer clothes and a dozen swimsuits for your entire stay. Well, the reality is you’ll probably need more than that, depending on the region, since Australia covers a wide range of climate zones, from tropical to temperate.
In some regions, the weather is warm and humid most of the year, while in other areas you’ll have four distinct seasons, with long hot days in the summer and short cold days in the winter months.
However, if you happen to move somewhere in the tropical or subtropical zone, you need to get ready for some scorching heat. Therefore, applying high-SPF sunscreen, wearing sun-protective clothing sun protection, and staying indoors when the sun is high in the sky should become part of your daily routine.
#3 – Australian English can be quite different
Although English is the official language in Australia, it might not sound exactly as you’d expect. That’s because Australians tend to use a lot of colloquialisms in everyday speech and that might make you feel like you need a translator at times. It’s definitely not like the English you’ve learned at school, especially since the accent and pronunciation also differ from standard English.
So, if you want to communicate easier with the locals, a crash course in Aussie slang might come in handy. The good news is that it won’t take long for you to learn the basics and adapt to the way people speak. In fact, your fellow Australian students will probably be more than happy to teach you new words and phrases – and probably a few expressions that you better not use in public.
#4 – Australia is more than its cities
Although Sydney, Melbourne, Victoria or Perth are the first places that people think of when someone mentions Australia, and they definitely attract a large number of visitors all year round, there’s a lot more to this huge country than its urban areas. Obviously, you’ll have plenty of time to visit some of these amazing cities while living in Australia.
So, it’s worth making an itinerary and planning your trips in advance to ensure you get the best deal on air tickets and find cheap Perth Airport parking if you fly from this busy airport.
However, it would be a shame to limit your explorations to a few cities and towns. If you really want to make your Australian experience complete, we suggest you get off the beaten track and explore places like Uluru or Kata Tjuta. This will give you the possibility to learn about the Aboriginal culture and discover many of Australia’s hidden gems.
#5 – You won’t be surrounded by wildlife
Australian wildlife is both a source of excitement and fear for visitors. So, we should probably clarify that life in Australia won’t resemble a Disney movie or a Bear Grylls adventure. Therefore, you won’t be surrounded by wild animals everywhere ago, especially if you live in the city where there are no kangaroos hopping on the streets or tree-hugging koalas. You won’t have to worry about giant spiders or huge snakes crawling in your room either.
It’s true that Australia has a very rich ecosystem, and there are some dangerous creatures living here, but the chances of you ever encountering one of them are extremely low. Besides, you can always take extra precautions to limit the likelihood of meeting these dangerous animals.
Living in Australia can be a truly amazing experience as a student, and you can make it even better by preparing yourself in advance. However, as any self-respecting student, you should also leave room for a bit of spontaneity and surprise.