Studying Abroad in Australia: A Complete Guide for 2024

Last updated on March 6th, 2024 at 11:29 pm

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With its sun-drenched livable cities and laid-back culture, it’s no wonder Australia is hugely popular with international students. If you’re hoping to be one of them, there will be a lot to consider, from how to get a student visa to deciding which Australian bank you might like to join. 

Here at Remitly, we know dealing with all the information can be a little daunting, which is why we’ve put together this snappy summary of the essential information you need to know when gearing up for studying abroad Down Under.

Choosing a study abroad program in Australia

The first step to studying abroad in Australia is finding the right program. Australia is a huge country and home to 43 universities, nearly all of which are open to students hoping to study abroad. As a result, you have a wealth of options available.

Read on to learn more about programs to consider, and check out our choosing a study abroad program for even more tips to assist you with your research.

What are the types of Australian study abroad programs?

There are four main types of study abroad programs in Australia. They include all of the following.

Home university-sponsored study abroad programs

Many universities in the U.S. and beyond enter into partnerships with institutions in Australia to offer study-abroad experiences for their own students. With this type of program, you apply through your current school and make your study abroad arrangements through it.

As you begin your search for the right program, contact the study abroad office at your home university to find out if they have any opportunities in Australia.

Direct enroll study abroad programs

Another option for those hoping to study abroad in Australia is to directly enroll at an Australian university. If you take this route, you would apply to the school you’re interested in attending.

Third-party study abroad programs

Many third-party providers offer study abroad programs. Some work with Australian universities, allowing you to take credit courses. Others have their own campus locations or provide hands-on learning opportunities.

To study abroad in Australia through a third-party program, you’ll need to apply through the provider.

Cultural exchange study abroad programs

If immersing yourself in a new culture is on your bucket list, a cultural exchange program may be ideal for you. Offered both through universities and third-party providers, these programs usually allow you to stay with an Australian family and take courses at a local university. At the same time, a student from Australia comes to your country to study.

The emphasis of a cultural exchange study abroad program is to experience what it’s really like to live in Australia, and it can be a great way to explore a new city or town.

How long do Australian study abroad programs last?

If you want to study abroad in Australia, you can choose from a variety of program lengths — some last for only a week or two. With others, you can spend an entire summer or semester abroad. Some programs enable you to study year-round and return home at the start of the next academic calendar.

What are some top subjects to study in Australia?

Australian universities offer diverse course offerings, meaning you can study virtually anything while in Australia. However, some subjects are particularly popular, including:

  • English: Non-native speakers can learn English as a new language while studying abroad.

  • Business: As a major economic center, Australia is a great place to study international business, business administration, management, and related subjects.

  • STEM: Australia is at the forefront of innovation, making the country an ideal place to study engineering, science, mathematics, and technology.

  • Hospitality management: Tourism is essential to the Australian economy, and many universities offer courses in hotel and restaurant management.

What are the best cities for studying abroad in Australia?

As you research your options, the location is as important a consideration as the type of program you’ll participate in. Some of Australia’s most popular cities for study-abroad experiences include the following.


Home to the iconic Sydney Opera House and beautiful Bondi Beach, Sydney in New South Wales is a great place for those who wish to study abroad in a big city that is a major cultural hub. The city is home to six universities: Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, and the University of Technology Sydney.


The capital of Victoria, Melbourne is in southern Australia and has cooler summer weather as a result. A robust public transportation system and many museums and public performance spaces make it one of the most popular big cities in Australia for study-abroad students. Eight universities are located in Melbourne: The University of Melbourne, Monash University, Deakin University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University, Victoria University, and the University of Divinity.


Adelaide is a large city home to beaches and coral reefs. Known for its dining scene, the city is a mecca for foodies and wine enthusiasts, and three public universities have their campuses there: Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia.


If you want to study near the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, consider Cairns in Queensland. Home to around 160,000 people, the town offers the feel of city life but is smaller than the other cities on this list. Still, three universities have campuses there: CQUniversity Cairns, James Cook University, and Cairns Clinical School.

Applying for a student visa

Once you have decided where to study abroad in Australia and have applied and been accepted, you’re ready to apply for a student visa.

Student visas in Australia fall under subclass 500. Plan to apply for one at least six weeks before your study abroad program starts.

Australia lets you apply for your student visa online. You can get the ball rolling online through the official government portal, where you’ll have to create an account before you’re taken through the step-by-step application process. 

The visa costs from AUD 630 and will entitle you to stay and study in the country for up to five years. To apply successfully, you’ll have to:

  • Provide a Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE), which shows you’ve been accepted for a full-time course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). There are some exceptions, such as if you have a letter of support proving you’re studying under a scholarship scheme approved by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • Provide documents confirming your identity, including your passport and birth certificate.

  • Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement by providing a personal statement that includes information on your educational background, current employment, evidence of family ties in your home country, and your financial situation.

  • Arrange adequate Overseas Student Health Cover from an approved Australian health insurance provider.

  • Provide evidence you can afford your living expenses while in Australia, such as bank statements.

If you’re not coming over from an English-speaking country, you may also have to obtain a satisfactory score in an approved English language test, such as IELTS or TOEFL. 

Finding accommodations

Regarding where you’ll live while in Australia, there are a few options on the table. Let’s take a look at where you can stay during your time abroad.

Managed student accommodations

Managed student accommodations allow you to live on campus in accommodations operated by your host university or a third-party provider. Units are typically fully furnished, and all utility bills are included. If your institution offers this, you can get details by contacting the relevant department. 

Private rentals

Another option is to arrange a rental on your own. Although you will need to research accommodations on your own, living off campus gives you a chance to take full advantage of living abroad and live in a neighborhood among other Australians.

You can rent a room in a property where other people already live or get a place with some of your friends. Either way, you can see what’s available by contacting local real estate agents or searching listings sites specializing in student accommodation.

Read our guide to renting a property in Australia for more information.


With a homestay, you move in with a family in Australia while you study abroad. Meals and cleaning will often be provided as part of the stay. This is a good option if you’re after home comforts, and there are a number of sites online where you can browse approved homestay properties for your trip.

Paying for your study abroad experience

No matter what type of program you choose, you’ll have to find a way to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses. Financial aid and working during your trip are two potential solutions.

Australia study abroad financial aid

The Australian government provides more than A$200 million in financial aid to international students through international scholarships. The Study Australia website can help you explore your financial aid options.

In addition, you may also qualify for scholarships for international students in your home country. Click this link to read our guide to study abroad financial aid.

Finding a part-time job while studying in Australia

Many study-abroad students will be hoping to work while studying, both as a way to make extra money and make new friends. The good news is that it’s perfectly fine to do so, with the student visa regulations allowing you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during each semester. You can also work unlimited hours during course breaks. 

You’ll be able to consider numerous part-time job opportunities, with retail and hospitality being popular options for students. Ensure you have an up-to-date résumé listing your education, work experience, and skills before applying for positions through job search websites and any listings promoted by your educational institution. 

It’s important to be aware of how tax works in Australia. Bear in mind that you should apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Taxation Office so you’re taxed at the correct rate. The good news is that if you’re only working part-time, your earnings could fall into the tax-free bracket. That said, you’ll still have to file your tax return by 31 October every year.

Once you have a part-time job, you’ll want to create a budget to ensure you live within your means. Check out our budgeting tips for international college students to learn more.

Setting up a bank account

Opening a bank account in Australia will most likely be another big task on your to-do list. There are a number of top banks to choose from, and their websites helpfully lay out the key aspects of their bank accounts, including the various perks and any associated fees. This makes life a lot easier, as you can take your time to carefully compare the options and apply online even before you travel to Australia. Here are some questions to have in mind when considering accounts:

  • Will you be charged monthly fees for maintaining your account?
  • Does the bank provide a user-friendly mobile app that lets you track your spending and make payments on the move?
  • Does the bank have staff who speak your first language?
  • Does the account come with extra services like overdraft protection and the ability to withdraw funds from ATMs around the world?

Sending money back home

While much of your focus will naturally be on your studies while in Australia, you may also need to send money back to loved ones in your home country. These may be financial gifts for birthdays and other special occasions, or you may need to make regular transfers to supplement your recipients’ living costs. 

There are two main options for anyone looking to make international money transfers: through your Australian bank account or through a dedicated remittance service.

While using your bank may be very convenient, it may not be the most cost-effective option. For example, remittance companies like Remitly, which are based entirely online, don’t have to pay the extra overhead for running brick-and-mortar premises. This means they can pass those savings on to their customers. It’s well worth comparing what’s on the market, so you’re sure you get the best possible deal with money transfers.

Millions of people trust Remitly with their international money transfers. Our industry-standard encryption keeps sensitive details secure, while our fuss-free mobile app lets you send money to the most important people in your life with a few simple taps. 

Making the most of your study abroad experience

Once you arrive in Australia, the adventure begins. During your spare time, you can enjoy Australia’s culture and explore nature at your leisure. Use our guide on how to get the richest cultural experiences to make the most of your time while you study abroad and start to research the cultural opportunities in your destination so you know what to expect.