If you are interested in learning English in Australia, we have put together a country summary of what you can expect when you study at an English language school:


Those who choose to study English in Australia will encounter one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world today. International students will not be alone in not being natives, as one in four Australian residents were born outside of Australia. The unity of the various backgrounds and the culture of Indigenous Australians have created a unique identity and spirit for the country.

Australia’s approach to multicultural policy embraces the shared values and cultural traditions of the people in their country. Because of this, they hold pride in having a competitive edge in the globalized world. International students who study English in Australia will find people who support the rights of all to celebrate, practice, and maintain their cultural traditions within the law, free from discrimination. These policies and attitude is to help strengthen social cohesion through respect of cultural identity.

Before the arrival of British colonizers and other cultural groups, Australia was inhabited by the Indigenous peoples–Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, sometimes referred to as the First Australians. Today, Indigenous people make up 2.4 percent of the total Australian population (approximately 460,000 out of 22 million people).

Because the country is so big and only holds 22 million people, Australia has the lowest population density in the world– only two people per square kilometer.


According to the 2011 census, 76.8% of people spoke only English at the home. Australian English has a distinctive accent and vocabulary that international students will be able to learn and understand while learning English in this country. This dialect, called “strine” incorporates abbreviations, hyperbole, profanities, and word-tweaking. This language has origins in London, as well as Irish slang. Examples of abbreviation in Australian English includes truckie (truck driver), barbie (barbecue) and mozzie (mosquito).

Because Australia is so multicultural, there are other languages spoken in the country as well. An estimated 1 million migrants to Australia cannot speak English, and 3 million residents speak a language other than English at the home. These languages include Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, and more. Together, the migrants speak up to 240 languages.

Australian Aboriginal society has the longest unbroken cultural history in the world. Of its original 250 languages, only about 20 survive today and are spoken regularly. Kriol, spoken mostly in northern Australia, is the most widely used Aboriginal language and the native language of many Aboriginals.

The Landscape

Capital City



Due to the size of Australia, climate can vary. For the most part, Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year. The northern states will experience warmer weather while the southern states will experience colder months. The climate an international student will experience will depend on the zone in which the student is studying.

Temperate Zone
  • The coastal hinterland of New South Wales, much of Victoria, Tasmania, the south-eastern corner of South Australia and the south-west of Western Australia. Also affects the Desert and Grassland climate zones.
  • Summer (December – February), autumn (March – May), winter (June – August), spring (September – November)
Tropical Zones
  • Wet/dry pattern
  • The tip of Cape York and Bathurst and Melville Islands north of Darwin
  • Across northern Australia, the Top End of the Northern Territory, land south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Kimberley region.
  • The coastal and inland fringe from Cairns along the Queensland coast and hinterland to the northern areas of New South Wales and the coastal fringe north of Perth to Geraldton in Western Australia.


Although Australia is the smallest of the world’s continents, Australia has a land area of approximately 7.7 million square kilometers, making Australia the world’s sixth largest country. Australia has the lowest, flattest (except for Antarctica) and driest terrain. The mainland and Tasmania are surrounded by many thousands of small islands and numerous large ones. The almost 40 percent of Australia’s coastline being surrounded by island coastlines helps define Australia’s national, state and territory boundaries. Rainfall is more intense in the tropics and some coastal areas, but nearly 20 percent of Australia’s land mass is classified as desert with low average annual rainfall. International students who choose to study English in Australia will experience a variety of nature, from tropical rainforests to snow covered mountains.

Things to do

There is plenty to do in Australia between studies. Australia is known for their beaches. International students can take a helicopter ride over the beach, enjoy the view from ground, learn how to surf, and more. The city of Melbourne has street art, shopping, and historic architecture that is considered the best in Australia. International students can learn more about this city with a walking tour, a “highlights of Melbourne” cruise, or dine at the many restaurants that locals praise. International students who want to come above sea level can hike in the Blue Mountains, go on a wildlife tour to see koalas and kangaroos, or take a river cruise to Sydney from the mountains.

Financial considerations


Australian Dollar


There is no requirement to tip in Australia. It is at a person’s discretion if they feel that they have had good service. People usually tell travelers who ask to leave 10 percent, but 7 percent has been more common. Although small tips are appreciated for exceptional service or at upscale restaurants, they are not expected.

General Expenses: As of 2011

Loaf of bread2.54 A$
Eggs (12)4.54 A$
Coffee4.06 A$
Water (.33 liter bottle)2.57 A$
Bottle of Wine15.00 A$
Taxi one way (1 mile)3.44 A$
Main course dessert and drink17.00 A$
Fast food9.00 A$
Beer5.00 A$
Soft drink3.13 A$
Gym membership one month65.48 A$
Cinema ticket18.00 A$

Getting around


There are many ways to travel Australia’s large continent. If wanting to travel large distances in a short amount of time, flying on one of Australia’s domestic airlines (Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Rex) will provide great fares for your traveling needs.

If time is not an issue, many like to drive and see some of the most beautiful touring routes in the world. Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right side of the car. All drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times, and motorcyclists and cyclists must wear helmets. International visitors may drive in Australia on a valid overseas driver’s licence for the same class of vehicle. International students who chose to drive in Australia should carry both their home licence and their international licence when driving.

A wide variety of public transportation is available in Australia. Coach and bus travel is comfortable, easy, and economical with air conditioning, reading lights, etc.Trains are also a convenient and affordable way to explore Australia. Ferries connect suburbs in capital cities, and taxis charge by the meter. Of course, the most economic and scenic way to travel is by walking. Australia has some of the longest tracks and trails in the world.


Australia is rated at the “medium” threat level by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Crime in Sydney is statistically lower when compared to major cities in the United States, but crime still occurs. The most common crimes are assaults (non-domestic) and breaking and entering. Australian police have said that many of the burglaries and robberies are due to growing problems with substance abuse. International students who find themselves in an emergency situation can call 000 or the non-emergency police number for other crime related events.

National Holidays

1 January New Year’s Day:
This day is usually celebrated with fireworks and other events held on the Sydney Harbour the night before. The Perth Cup, Western Australia’s premier thoroughbred racing event is held at the Ascot Racecourse.
26 January Australia Day:
The country’s national day celebrates the founding of the first European settlement at Sydney’s Port Jackson in 188. Australians come together, usually to have a picnic in a park, family barbecues, or watch sporting events. The Australian of the Year Awards are presented by the Prime Minister to acknowledge those who have made an outstanding contribution to the country and communities.
Easter Saturday and Easter Monday:
Even many who do not hold the Christian faith celebrate Easter.The weekend is one of two major Australian holiday periods during the year. Schools take a break and families often take vacation days to enjoy the fall weather.
25 April Anzac Day:
On this day, Australia remembers those who served the country in war. Memorial services, parades, marches and reunions of past and current military personnel are held in many cities.
25 December Christmas Day:
In Australia, Christmas happens mid-summer and occurs during the middle of the annual summer school break. Australians are often busy shopping for gifts and eating roast turkey, ham and hot plum pudding in the northern hemisphere tradition or Aussie-style barbecue. A tradition for many international visitors includes going to Sydney’s Bondi Beach for a picnic.
26 December Boxing Day:
Every year, the day after Christmas celebrates the establishment of South Australia as a British province. The Sydney to Hobart yacht race starts on Boxing Day and a Boxing Day Test Cricket match is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.


Australia is extremely far away for many travelers, most having to fly for more than 14 hours. International students should be prepared to look for air flight deals early and have accommodation arranged before their arrival. Upon arrival, international students will have to present their travel documents and Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) to the officers in immigration clearance.


The ELICOS student visa subclass 570 allows international students to study English in Australia at an approved Australian English School. This visa only works for international students learning English, so students who want to study English in Australia on a student visa must be enrolled in a school that is a registered provider of ELICOS English language programs. International students studying in Australia on an ELICOS student visa have the same work rights as other student visa holders. They can work 20 hours per week during term and unlimited hours in the semester breaks.

Learn more about the Australian Student Visa »

Start your adventure by finding ESL Programs in Australia!

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