Once you've decided that you would like to live and study Down Under, the next big question is how do you choose where to move to?
Your location choice is not something that should be taken lightly as you will be spending the next few years of your life there. Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Can you comfortably live and work in the climate? The climate is a big draw for many students who want to study in Australia or New Zealand, but be realistic when making your choice as to where to study. Some areas of Australia are not just hot, they are located in the wet or dry tropics and humidity is a big factor. Parts of New Zealand's South Island can get very cold in the winter. If you think climate could be a problem for you when you are studying, make sure you do plenty of research before you start looking at courses.
- Where is the college campus? A number of the colleges that we represent have campuses and institutes spread across a whole state, so you should always check where you will be based and how you will get to and from the campus each day. Not all college campuses will be in a city, some are in suburbs, smaller towns or even more rural areas!
- Local costs. As with any country, some areas will be much more expensive than others, this will largely be reflected in your daily costs for rent, food and leisure activities. For example Sydney as a city is currently one of the most expensive places to live in the world! Have some idea before you leave of how much you might spend so that you can budget effectively.
- Local industry. Colleges - particularly those outside the major cities - will focus on offering training programmes designed to meet the skills shortages and employment requirements of their specific region or area. Australia, for example, is a massive place, and the different needs of its various state economies vary enormously. This means that you will find that certain courses may not be available in every possible location! Keep your mind open and do a bit of research into which regions those industries or jobs are located in.
Between the Study Options team we have visited a lot of different places in Australia and New Zealand, and of course the college campuses, so contact us if you have any questions about whether a particular location could be right for you.
Not all courses are offered in all areas. Vocational education providers aim to turn out graduates who fit the gaps that local employers have. TAFE (Australia) was originally created to bridge the gap between school leavers and employment, and to this day it remains very much industry-focused. But their focus is on their local industries.
All this is important – if you want to work in the currently booming oil and gas engineering industry, you need to think about where the jobs are going to be available after you finish your studies, and then choose your college accordingly. So, to stay with this example, the oil and gas industry is primarily based in Western Australia. TAFE colleges in WA will therefore have strong links with mining companies and related employers, and may be able to offer you work placements during your course as well as valuable contacts – all of which will increase your chances of securing employment in that industry after your course ends. So studying oil and gas in Western Australia puts you in the strongest possible position to secure a job after your course. Think of it as aiming to study where the work is!
If, however, you want to work in oil and gas after you finish, but are determined to study in Sydney, things become much more complicated. Colleges in central Sydney are unlikely to have courses focused on oil and gas (there’s not much demand for oil and gas engineers around Darling Harbour…) and work placement opportunities will be slim to nonexistent. You can obviously move to Western Australia and look for work after you finish, but you’ll be up against graduates with more targeted qualifications, and more relevant work experience – in short, you’ll have made life much more difficult for yourself than it needs to be.
If you want even the option of being able to stay on after your course, you need to have planned your study from the beginning with that in mind. And this might mean that you need to take a few decisions that weren’t in your original plans.
But remember, just because you spent six months in Melbourne during your gap year, or just because you’ve got a friend who’s recently moved to Adelaide and says it’s great, doesn’t necessarily mean that those locations are going to work for you, and for your future goals. Always remember to think about the big picture!
Already living Down Under? No worries....
If you’re already living in Australia or New Zealand and would like help or advice please get in touch – all the information on this website applies whether you’re contacting us from Bristol or from Bondi. So if you are coming to the end of a Working Holiday Visa and are thinking of doing a course so you get to stay in Australia or New Zealand a bit longer, let us know. We can help! Contact Study Options to talk to one of the team.