Australia is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide – are coastal. Its capital, Canberra, is inland. The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback, and unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses.
Moving to Australia can be an amazing experience. Although it is the sixth largest country in the world at over 3 million square miles, it is only home to 21 million people, which ensures that natural beauty dominates over suburban landscapes (especially out of the main cities). English is the official language spoken in Australia and you will have no problem communicating when moving to Australia if you speak English. Australia is so large that it actually experiences an extremely varied climate; different parts of the country experience different weather patterns. Northern Australia is tropical, with hot and humid weather and seasonal monsoons. Summers are long and hot while winters are cool and occasionally wet. Western Australia is hot and dry in the summer and cools in the winter with temperatures often falling as low as 7 or 8°C. Australia has the world’s 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income. With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights.
Living in Australia
International students who choose to study in Australia have a large range of accommodation options from which to choose. However, students need to be aware that housing at Australian universities is very different from what many international students will be used to, because Australian universities provide little or no university housing. It is not nonexistent, but most students at Australian universities live off-campus, whether through homestay programs, hostels, or rental properties.
Residential Colleges – Residential colleges provide students with accommodation, meals, cleaning, and a range of services for social and academic needs. Because of the wide range of services offered, they are generally more expensive than halls of residence, which also offer accommodations, but with fewer added services than residential colleges. Halls of residence accommodations include some meals and cleaning services, but self-catering facilities are also available for students who wish to be more independent.
Apartments – Some universities offer apartments either on or close to campus for their students to rent. Under this accommodation, students have security of university-provided housing, as well as the independence of fully self-catered living. There is a wide range of accommodation options available to students in Australia, so students should put thought into choosing the option that best fits their needs. On average, 90-100% of students in Australia live off-campus, so there are plenty of off-campus housing options from which to choose. However, this also means that the demand for housing is high, particularly housing situated close to campus. International students are encouraged to arrive in Australia two to three weeks before the start of orientation so as to get situated before classes begin.