Written by: Student Contributor Date: 8 February 2018
February marks the month of the year when thousands of new international student’s land in Australia to start their first academic year at university. After years of hard work at school, they have earned their place in one of the leading tertiary education institutions. They are ambitious, determined and have made a long expensive journey to Australia to begin a new chapter in their life.
International students pay nearly three times more than domestic students to access the same level of education. This has a significant financial burden on them and their family. A reason being, apart from scholarships there are not eligible to obtain a student loan or any sort of tuition assistance. Therefore, if they encounter financial hardship midway through their degree then they may be forced to drop out of university. This is a major problem which is met with no response being made by local governments and universities despite the economic boost international students provide the domestic economy. However, students still decide to take on this monetary risk as they value education and its positive impact on their future lives. The degree that they will obtain would go as far in securing a job to earn income within Australia or in their own prospective country.
Despite what the general public may think, coming to Australia is no easy task. These diverse students are typically aged between 18 to 25 have fought many obstacles to earn their seat in a lecture theatre to be on par with a local student. International students need to undergo multiple mundane ordeals to apply for a student visa. This includes tasks such as medical check ups, arranging student health cover, taking English language tests, showing proof of financial stability, writing a statement of purpose and resume, getting an application picture taken, arranging an accommodation and the list goes on and on. What one needs to keep in mind is that apart from the financial cost of completing these tasks, these young adults need to undertake these while simultaneously studying for their final school exam (ATAR equivalent) upon the results of which their admission to the university is conditional on.
After the student visa application is lodged, then begins the wait if the Department of Immigration & Border Protection grants them a visa. Out of all the tasks, this takes a massive mental toll on students. A reason being, if the application is rejected their entire effort goes down the drain as they need to reapply. As a result, this may cause them to defer a semester at university or find themselves unable to come to Australia at all. Some students are engulfed in the anticipation for weeks and other for months (if their nationality is considered ‘high risk’). However, once the student visa is received they brace themselves for another challenge. They need to mentally prepare themselves to go into an unknown land, where they don’t know of anyone, and are unaware of the social norms. At the same time say goodbye to loved ones who they might not see for a long while.
Believe it or not, this is what international students go through before they even set foot on Australian soil and what happens to them when they land is a complete other story. Hopefully this gives you an insight into a mind of a new international student and shows you that a life of an international student isn’t as stress free as one imagines.