Love is famous motivator for language learners of all stripes. After all, as the saying goes, “the easiest way to learn a second language is to fall in love.” Short of romance, however, immersion remains the best way to acquire a language. After all, only through immersion can you live experience their target language as the living, breathing creature that it is. Textbooks can only go so far – living among and conversing with native is the true to key to language success. Not that you necessarily need to travel all the way to Shakespeare’s England or Hemingway’s America to continue your English education – in Australia, you might just find the opportunity you are looking for in your own backyard.
Indeed, studying English in Australia will give you the opportunity to use and improve your English in a way that cannot possibly be replicated in the classroom. Not only will you receive a quality English language education in Australia, but you will also have the chance to put that education every day.
Plus, thanks to the country’s favorable immigration rules, it is easier to study English in Australia than you might think. For example, if you want to visit Australia for a short English language course, you don’t need an Australia student visa at all! Students can enroll in courses of up to three months in duration with nothing more than a visitor visa. Likewise, if your country has what is known as a working holiday visa arrangement with Australia, you can study for up to 17 weeks. Better still, with a working holiday visa you will have the flexibility to study, work, and travel with ease.
Students interested in longer term courses of study (such as the semester-length programs offered by many of Australia’s colleges and universities and, of course, degree-seeking exchange students) must obtain an official Australia student visa. The Australia student visa has seven separate sub-classes for each of the main areas of education and you should apply under the visa sub-class for your principal course of study. Options include stand alone ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) courses; primary or secondary education exchange programs; and higher education programs, as well as distinct subcategories for other, more specific, student needs.
Regardless of the subcategory, however, all student visa holders must be enrolled in a full-time course load of at least 20 hours a week. While studying, however, student visa holders can also work part time (up to 20 hours per week). Uniquely, Australia also gives English Immersion (ELICOS) students the same work rights as other student visa holders. Therefore, as of July 2010, all visa holders in Australia are able to work up to 20 hour per week during term and unlimited hours during semester breaks.
It is important to note, however, that some Australia student visa applicants are required to provide the results of an English language test. Thus, beginner students are advised to take advantage of some of the country’s other study options – by using a visitor or work and travel visa – before pursuing a formal student visa. If, however, a student visa is right for you, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will accept test results from the following proficiency exams:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based test (TOEFL iBT)
- Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test
For more information about the specific requirements you need meet in order to study English in Australia, contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
After all, what are you waiting for? If love is the easiest way to learn a language, why not fall in love with Australia?