Tips To Help You Pick The Best Study Abroad Location In Australia
So you’ve made the decision to study abroad in Australia – exciting! But maybe you haven’t decided which university you want to study at, or which city you want to live in – or maybe you have and are open to exploring other options! As someone who has experienced the good and the bad of multiple study abroad experiences, I’ve created a list of tips and things to consider when choosing a location in the sunburnt country!
Think of what you want your experience abroad to be:
This is a great place to start with any decision to study abroad, regardless of your dream location. Do you want to focus on study or travel? Do you want to focus on making new friends and having new experiences? It’s important to think about what you hope to gain out of this time, as it will dictate how you approach the experience. It’s good to know what you want and your expectations before you even arrive, so you can budget and plan accordingly. However, be as open as you can to things not going according to plan – that’s often when the best experiences happen abroad!
City or the country?
Decide early on if you want a city or a smaller, regional vibe. Do you consider yourself a city person or do you love the wide open sky of a smaller area? Do you need the freedom of having access to a lot of activities and nearby cities, or would you rather have easier camping access? In my experience, a more regional town has the potential to feel more authentic and as though you’re experiencing ‘true Australia’. I was also able to learn about and be exposed to the true history and culture of Australia. Even though I tend to be more of a city person, I chose a city I had never heard of before, and I fell so in love with it that I returned for my post-graduate degree!
If you want to travel often:
If you’re wanting to spend a lot of time traveling, think about where you want to go and map it out beforehand. Is most of what you want to see in the north, south, east or west? The north and west coasts are beautiful locations to visit, but stick to the universities on the east and south coasts to make a variety of travel easier. Because Australia is incredibly spread out and travel (bus, plane, train, etc.) can be really expensive and time consuming (especially if it’s spontaneous), therefore planning is really crucial. Traveling between bigger cities is cheaper than regional travel, so consider that too. Also, taking a train, bus or driving between cities is not as easy as it is in other countries due to the geography, unless you have plenty of time!
Consider your areas of interest:
If you want to focus on your studies or at least attempt to take subjects that will aid your degree at home, research the universities in Australia. For example, if you’re a marine science major consider a northern university for easier access to the Great Barrier Reef! If you’re nature-oriented, think about a university that has easy access to the beach, hiking and camping areas. If you love the music and art scene, consider a university in a city that will have a lot of traffic. Each city in Australia is so different and unique, as are the regions. I urge you to experience as much as possible, but where you’re studying is where you spend the majority of your time, so it’s really important to enjoy it!
Book your flights to/from Australia strategically!
When you book your flights to/from Australia, try to book with a bit of room on the front, back, or both ends of your semester or year abroad. This will allow you to travel if you’d like to spend more time with your friends and finish up any loose ends of study! During my semester, I flew over two weeks earlier than my start date to travel, and I wish I had left more time for travel after my exams! For many, it will be too expensive to change flights if something comes up, so save yourself the hassle and leave 2-4 weeks post-study for travel or just to relax! You have 28 days once you’re finished with your studies to travel around and stay in Aus, so take advantage!
These are just a few of many considerations to make when studying abroad in any capacity, specifically Australia! There is so much to see, do, and learn about the beautiful country, its culture, and its people. While it’s important to be prepared and make informed decisions, regardless of where you end up you’re going to have an amazing time. Have an open mind, and if you find yourself unprepared for something, trust that you will figure it out and it may turn out better than you could have imagined! Because in Australia, everyone is your mate.