Australia is a popular destination for South African students seeking an international education.
With its renowned universities, diverse, multicultural society, and excellent quality of life, Australia offers many opportunities for South African students to pursue their academic and career goals.
This article will explore why students from South Africa should consider studying in Australia, the Australian education system, and the cost of learning there.
Why Study in Australia?
Australia has earned a strong reputation for providing high-quality education to students worldwide.
Here are some compelling reasons why South African students should consider studying in Australia:
- Academic Excellence: Australian universities consistently rank among the top institutions globally, offering world-class education, state-of-the-art facilities, and expert faculty members. The emphasis on practical skills and research-oriented learning ensures students receive a well-rounded education.
- Multicultural Society: Australia is known for its multicultural society that welcomes international students with open arms. Studying in Australia allows South African students to interact with diverse cultures and build a global network of friends and connections.
- Globally Recognized Qualifications: Australian degrees are highly regarded and recognised worldwide. Graduates from Australian institutions are sought after by employers internationally, giving South African students a competitive edge in the job market.
- Safe and Welcoming Environment: Australia is known for its safe and inclusive environment, making it an ideal destination for international students. South African students can feel secure and supported while pursuing their studies.
- Beautiful Natural Landscapes: Australia is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests and iconic landmarks like the Great Barrier Reef. Studying in Australia allows South African students to explore these natural wonders and experience an unparalleled outdoor lifestyle.
Education System in Australia
Australia's education system is known for its high academic standards and innovative teaching methods. The system is divided into three main sectors:
- Primary and Secondary Education: Students complete their primary education from grades one to six, followed by secondary education from grades seven to twelve. The final years of secondary education culminate in achieving the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), determining university entrance eligibility.
- Vocational Education and Training (VET): VET offers a range of certificate, diploma, and advanced diploma courses that focus on practical skills and industry-specific training. These courses provide valuable vocational qualifications for immediate employment or a pathway to higher education.
- Higher Education: Australian universities offer various undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Bachelor's degrees typically take three to four years, while master's degrees can be completed in one to two years. Doctoral degrees are also available for those interested in advanced research.
Choosing a University or Course to Study in Australia
When selecting a university or course in Australia, South African students should consider the following factors:
- University Ranking: Research the rankings of Australian universities in your field of study to ensure they offer high-quality programs and have a strong reputation.
- Course Availability: Check if the university offers the specific course or specialisation you are interested in studying.
- Location: Consider the university's site and whether it aligns with your preferences and lifestyle. Australia has universities in major cities as well as regional areas.
- Cost: Evaluate the tuition fees, accommodation expenses, and living costs associated with studying in different cities or regions of Australia.
Cost to Study in Australia from South Africa
For a student from South Africa planning to study in Australia, it is essential to consider the cost of tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses.
The total cost of studying in Australia can vary depending on the university, program, location, and duration.
Tuition fees in Australia can vary significantly depending on the university and program chosen. Generally, international undergraduate students can expect to pay between AUD 20,000 and AUD 45,000 per year (~ZAR 213,881 and ZAR 482,732) for tuition fees. Postgraduate programs, including master's and doctoral degrees, may have higher fees, ranging from AUD 22,000 to AUD 50,000 (~ZAR 234,269 and ZAR 532,676) per year.
It is important to note that tuition fees for medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science courses are generally higher than for other programs.
Accommodation costs in Australia can vary depending on the city and type of accommodation. On-campus accommodation is often available but can be limited and more expensive. Off-campus housing options like shared apartments or private rentals may offer more affordable choices.
On average, international students can expect to pay between AUD 150 and AUD 400 (~ZAR 1,605 and ZAR 4,280) per week for accommodation, depending on the location and type of housing.
Besides tuition and accommodation, students must consider living expenses in Australia. The cost of living can vary depending on the city and individual lifestyle choices.
International students can expect to spend approximately AUD 20,000 to AUD 25,000 per year (~ZAR 213,881 to ZAR 267,351) on living expenses, including food, transportation, utilities, and personal expenses.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Australian universities offer international students various scholarships and financial aid options. These can offset the cost of tuition fees and living expenses. Researching and applying for scholarships well in advance is essential, as they can be highly competitive.
The Australian government also provides scholarships and grants to international students through programs such as the Australia Awards and the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships. Additionally, some universities offer specific scholarships for South African students.
International students in Australia are allowed to work part-time while studying. Students on a student visa can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during the academic term and full-time during scheduled breaks. The minimum wage in Australia is AUD 20.33 per hour (~ZAR 217) before tax.
Part-time work can help students cover some of their living expenses and gain valuable work experience.
Studying in Australia from South Africa can be a significant financial investment. Still, with careful planning, research, and the availability of scholarships and part-time work opportunities, it is possible to manage the costs. Choosing the right university and location can also contribute to a fulfilling academic experience in Australia.
Visa application for Australia from South Africa
For a South African citizen planning to study in Australia, you must apply for an Australian student visa. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Check visa requirements: Visit the official website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs to determine if you require a visa to study in Australia. South African citizens typically need to obtain a student visa.
- Choose your visa type: If you plan to pursue a full-time course of study for more than three months, you will likely need to apply for a Subclass 500 Student Visa. This visa allows you to study at an Australian educational institution.
- Prepare your documents: Gather the necessary documents to support your visa application. These typically include a valid passport, Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) or an Offer of Admission from an Australian educational institution, evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees and living expenses, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), English language proficiency test results, and any additional documents as specified by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
- Apply online: Submit your visa application through the Department of Home Affairs official website. Create an ImmiAccount, complete the application form accurately, and upload the required documents. Pay the visa application fee, which is subject to change, and submit your application.
- Health examination: In some cases, you may be required to undergo a health examination. The Department of Home Affairs will notify you if this is necessary.
- Biometrics collection: If required, visit a designated biometrics collection centre to provide your biometric information, including fingerprints and a photograph.
- Wait for a decision: After submitting your application and completing any necessary biometrics collection or health examinations, you must wait for a decision on your visa application. The processing time can vary, so applying well before your departure date is essential.
It is essential to carefully follow the Australian Department of Home Affairs' instructions throughout the visa application process. Starting early and seeking professional guidance can help ensure a smooth application experience if needed.
Regularly check the official website for updates and any additional requirements or changes to the visa application process.
Also Read, Study in Australia from Pakistan !!
Documents Required for Admission to Australian Universities for a Student from South Africa
Here are some of the documents that a student from South Africa may need to provide when applying for admission to Australian universities:
- Academic transcripts and certificates: This includes official transcripts and certificates from secondary school, college, or university. These documents provide evidence of your academic qualifications and achievements.
- English language proficiency test scores: Most Australian universities require international students to demonstrate their English proficiency. Accepted English language tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), or Cambridge English exams.
- Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose: This document allows you to showcase your motivation, goals, and reasons for choosing a particular course of study in Australia. It provides insight into your academic and personal background and helps universities assess your suitability for the program.
- Letters of recommendation: Some Australian universities may request letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, or professionals who can attest to your academic abilities, personal qualities, and potential for success in higher education.
- Passport and visa: You will need a current valid passport for your study in Australia. Additionally, you must apply for an appropriate student visa, such as the Student Visa (Subclass 500), which allows you to study full-time in Australia.
- Proof of financial capacity: Australian student visa requirements include demonstrating that you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and other related costs while studying in Australia. This may involve providing bank statements, evidence of scholarships or sponsorships, or a financial guarantee statement.
- Additional requirements: Depending on the university and program, there may be other requirements, such as a portfolio for creative arts or design programs, interviews, or supplementary application forms. It is essential to review the specific admission requirements of each university and program you are applying to.
Student Health Cover in Australia
All international students studying in Australia must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as part of their student visa requirements. OSHC provides health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay in Australia.
Here are some critical points regarding OSHC:
- Mandatory requirement: OSHC is compulsory for all international students in Australia, including those from South Africa. It is a condition of your student visa and must be maintained throughout your study period.
- Coverage benefits: OSHC covers various medical services, including visits to general practitioners, specialists, and hospitalisation. It also covers prescription medications, emergency ambulance services, and limited dental and optical services.
- OSHC providers: Several approved insurance providers offer OSHC policies in Australia. These include Medibank, Bupa, Allianz, and Nib. Each provider offers different coverage options and costs, so comparing policies and choosing the one that best suits your needs is essential.
- Duration of coverage: OSHC should be purchased for the time of your student visa. If you plan to extend your ticket, you must extend your OSHC accordingly.
- Family coverage: If you are accompanied by family members, such as a spouse and children, they will also need OSHC coverage. Family policies are available to ensure that everyone has access to necessary healthcare services.
- Exceptions: Some students may be exempt from OSHC requirements if the Australian government sponsors them, have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, or are enrolled in specific international programs. You must check with your university or the Department of Home Affairs to determine if you are exempt.
- OSHC renewal: You are responsible for ensuring that your OSHC remains valid throughout your stay in Australia. Before your policy expires, you should renew it to avoid any gaps in coverage.
Having OSHC ensures access to necessary healthcare services and assistance during your time in Australia.
It is essential to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of your chosen OSHC policy and keep your membership details handy in case of any medical emergencies or healthcare needs.
Best Universities to Study in Australia from South Africa
It depends on your interests and academic objectives where you want to study among Australia's numerous top universities.
For South African students, the following are some of the top universities in Australia.
- The University of Melbourne: Australia's top-ranked university known for its exceptional research and teaching in various subjects.
- The Australian National University: This university is well-known for its emphasis on research and offers a wide range of arts, sciences, and social sciences programs.
- The University of Sydney: It's a prestigious institution with a rich history of academic excellence and offers a diverse range of programs.
- The University of New South Wales: This university is highly regarded for its strong engineering, business, and sciences programs.
- The University of Queensland: Known for its research-focused environment, it offers various programs in various fields.
- The University of Western Australia: It's a leading research university renowned for its science, engineering, and business strengths.
- Monash University: Australia's largest university offers many programs and is well-known for its research achievements.
- The University of Adelaide: Renowned for its strengths in health sciences, engineering, and agriculture, this university has made significant research contributions.
- The University of Technology Sydney: It's known for its practical approach to learning and strong industry connections.
- The University of Newcastle: This comprehensive university has a strong reputation for research and teaching across various disciplines.
These universities are highly respected in Australia and offer many opportunities for students to pursue their academic and career goals.
Managing your expenses while living in Australia
Here are the ordinary expenses for South African students living in Australia.
Estimated Monthly Cost (in AUD)
$800 - $1,500 (shared rental or student accommodation)
Utilities (electricity, water, gas, internet)
$100 - $200
$200 - $300
$80 - $150 (public transportation or bicycle)
$40 - $80 (cellular plan)
$50 - $100 (Overseas Student Health Cover)
Textbooks and Stationery
$50 - $100
Meals and Eating Out
$200 - $300
$100 - $200
$50 - $100
$100 - $200