If you are intending to study in Australia, you may need to be on a visa class that allows this, rather than a tourist visa. Students and academics invited to visit Australian universities will generally also need an appropriate visa, even if their visit is of a short enough period to be covered by a tourist electronic visa. For extremely short term or part time courses, check with your Australian consulate or embassy.
Australian students attend high school for six years, and enter university at seventeen or eighteen years of age. In Australia, neither "school" nor "college" are used to refer to tertiary institutions; they are referred to only as "universities" - in fact, some primary and secondary educational institutions are referred to as 'colleges'. Australian undergraduate programs are usually three to four years in length. A fifth year is compulsory in some professional undergraduate programs such as engineering, law, medicine and dentistry. Students in three-year degree programs can take an optional fourth year known as honours if they want to proceed into a postgraduate research program, whereas students enrolled in four year programs can typically incorporate their honours thesis into their fourth year.
Australia does not have universities whose prestige competes with Harvard or the other Ivies in the US or Oxford or Cambridge in the UK. However many are ranked in the top 200 in the world Times Higher Education Supplement.
All tuition at university level is in English, save for courses that specifically focus on other languages. Students who have not previously earned a qualification in an English speaking program or passed high school English will have to take one of a number of English competency tests before being allowed to enrol.
Postgraduate studies in Australia fall into two classes: coursework and research. Coursework degrees are generally at the Masters level. Research degrees are at the Masters and Doctoral level.
Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and permanent residents of Australia can work in Australia without any further permits, but others will require a work visa. All visitors who do not hold Australian permanent residency or citizenship including New Zealand citizens who aren't also Australian permanent residents or citizens are not allowed to access Australian social security arrangements for the unemployed, and will have limited, or more usually, no access to the Australian government's health care payment arrangements.
There are 42 Universities in Australia that all compete vigorously for overseas students. All have administrative departments and sections on their websites which describe the courses available to overseas students, and they will help you to apply and obtain accommodation and transport. Applications for university courses and the appropriate visa will need to be lodged before coming to Australia. Courses range from single year diplomas to full length undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. There is a choice of the sandstone universities, with their history and prestige, modern city universities with their vocational programs, and regional country town universities, with open space and cheaper accommodation.
You can apply to immigrate as a skilled person or business person, but this process will take longer than receiving a work visa. You can also apply for permanent residency as the holder of a work or study visa, but your application will not be automatically accepted. After four years of permanent residency you are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
sponsored work visas
The easiest way to get a work visa is to find an Australian employer who will sponsor you. However, this is just 'easier', not 'easy' as such. Your employer will need to demonstrate that they cannot hire anyone with your skills in Australia, and the approval will take several months. If in search of sponsorship, be prepared for a long wait. Note that getting the visa might take a couple of months from the beginning of the application process, and that you will need a medical examination by a doctor approved by the immigration officials before it can be granted among other things, you will need a chest x-ray to show that you do not have tuberculosis. Check with your local Australian High Commission, Consulate or Embassy and the the Immigration Department's website (http://www.immi.gov.au/).
payment and taxes
Most Australian employers pay via direct deposit to Australian bank accounts. Open a bank account as soon as you arrive. Your passport will not be enough ID to open a bank account. You will need to show the bank teller 100 points of ID (http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au...).
As soon as you have an address it is wise to apply for a Tax File Number TFN. You can apply for it online though, only in Australia for free at the Australian Tax Office website (http://www.ato.gov.au/), though you can generally get it quicker if you just go to one of their offices. The Australian financial year runs from July 1 to June 30, and tax returns for each financial year are due on October 30, four months after the accounting period concludes. Check with Australian tax agents about Australian tax liability and filing an Australian tax return.
Australian employers will make compulsory payments out of your earnings to an Australian superannuation retirement savings fund on your behalf. Temporary visitors who are not citizens of either Australia or New Zealand can have this money returned to them (http://www.ato.gov.au/sup...) when they leave Australia.
working holidaymaker scheme
Australia has a working holidaymaker program for citizens of certain countries between 18 and 30 years of age. It allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the time you first enter. You may work during that time, but only for 6 months at any one employer was 3 months until July 2006. The idea is for you to take a holiday subsidised by casual or short-term jobs. If you're interested in a working holiday, some useful skills and experience might be: office skills to be used for temp work; or hospitality skills to be used for bar or restaurant work. An alternative is seasonal work like fruit-picking, although much seasonal work will require that you work outside the major cities. Working for 3 months in seasonal work will allow you to apply for a second 12 month visa.
You can apply online for a working holiday visa (https://www.ecom.immi.gov...), but you must not be in Australia at the time. It takes just a few hours to process usually and it costs about $270 as of July 2012. On arriving in Australia ask for the working holiday visa to be "evidenced", so you can show your future employer.
Day at the races
All capital cities have horse racing every weekend, with on-track and off-track betting available, they are usually family occasions, and fashion and being seen are part of the event. just about every pub in new south wales will have a tab, where you can place a bet without leaving your chair at the bar. greyhound racing and trotting happens in the evenings, usually with smaller crowds, more beer, and less fashion. smaller country towns have race meetings every few months or even annually. these are real events for the local communities, and see the smaller towns come to life. head outback to the birdsville races, or if you find the streets deserted it is probably ten past three on the first tuesday in november the running of the melbourne cup.
Australia has almost a quarter of all the slot machines locally known as "pokies" or "poker machines" in the world, and more than half of these are located in New South Wales, where most pubs and clubs have gaming rooms labelled "VIP lounges" for legal reasons where one can "have a slap" and go for the feature.
There are several volunteer opportunities in Australia. Many worldwide organisations offer extended travel for those wanting to volunteer their time to work with locals on projects such as habitat restoration, wildlife sanctuary maintenance & development, scientific research, & education programs.
World Wildlife Fund
International Student Volunteers Australia
Youth Challenge Australia
in the surf
Australia has seemingly endless sandy beaches. follow the crowds to the world famous bondi beach in sydney, or surfers paradise on the gold coast. or find a stretch all for yourself but beware of dangerous rips on beaches, it is considerably safer to find a patrolled beach. the surf is smaller and warmer in the tropical north, where the reef breaks the swell, and larger and colder in the south with waves rolling in from the southern ocean. and yes, in the middle it is just right.