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Guest Foxx

A students dilemna.

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Guest Foxx

Hey PIO. This is my first post so please be gentle! I had found your website this morning and have been on for a good couple hours checking the place out, but I think I need some direct advise to help me in my decisions.

 

To put it into a formal order; I am currently a student, 18 years old and living in Oxfordshire, England. I have lived here for most of my life and hold a full citizenship here. Ive just finished my exams in the final year of sixth form (prioir to University) in Mathematics, Physics, and Design. I'm looking into going into mechanical engineering when I am older and so I applied for university here in England to do Mechanical Engineering in which I now have several conditional offers which will be decided on the results of my exams, which I recieve in 12 days on the 18th of August. One university is asking of me to recieve BBB of the three subjects and the second university, moreso my safety net, is asking that of CCC.

 

I have a friend based down in Melbourne, who half a year ago, asked me to come down to visit. Feeling like I will need a break after fighting exams, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. I took a six week holiday in Australia, mainly that of Melbourne but also in Goldcoast and Port Douglas, from June the 29th till August the 5th.

 

I've been home for a day or two now, and I think it's kind of sad to say that I dont feel like I should be here. For over a year before I had even thought of trying out Australia I started feeling like England was not the place for me, I am not a fan of cold weather and I personally feel that the economy we live in will do nothing but get worse and i feel other countries like Australia hold a much more exciting and interesting diversity. And since i have been in Australia them feelings have been growing. I genuinely feel out of place being back in English soil.

 

So now I am unsure what to do, and here is the question I have been asking myself and will be asking myself for a while; What do I do?

I am very lucky in the sense that right now there is not alot tieing me down in the world. I have just finished all education leading up to university; and although I have applied for university I can always bail out. I definately want to extend my education, either in University or an apprenticeship. One thing worth pointing out is that next year tuition fees in england will be triple of what they are now. So if i want to go to university in England it must be starting in 2 months, or I am looking at 36,000 instead of 12,000 pounds tuition fees. This means if I dont get the grades in 12 days I need to cancel the England&Uni idea. I could always try to go for university in Australia instead though. Apprenticeships will be apprenticeships wherever you are, I think i would prefer to have one over in Australia, but, with the whole VISA thing I am not sure how easy it would be to get me into Australia.

 

One thing I am very unsure about is the VISAs. Would it be easy for me to get a VISA to do engineering at university over there? - (I presume so as engineering is on their list of wanted professions right?)

And equally so is it easy to get a VISA in order to get an apprenticeship in Australia? It would still be along the route of mechanical engineering.

 

I do love my family but I feel that I can handle the distance from them, and as far as friends go, most of them are also going to university so either way I will not be seeing them alot. This is my main concern though; I have a girlfriend and have been with her for over four years now. She means a great deal to me and I know she will not want to go to Australia as she is going to university here. - Though you could argue that this doesnt make our future look so clear either.

 

Another factor to consider also is my friend in Melbourne is fairly rich and his mother had said to me I can always live with them if I decided to embark on Uni or an apprenticeship in Melbourne. - Which is something I deffinately would consider. Through the six weeks in melbourne I also feel like I have made a few roots, I already know I like the city and can see myself living there, and had made a few friends in the process too. And also I do not see myself living here when I am older, I havent been able to picture that for a long time. I can picture myself living in Australia; more specifically Victoria though.

 

And this is my dilemna right now. I am very confused in what I should do. I would really appreciate feedback from you all, including any suggestions or questions.

Furthermore who do I seek if i want professional advise?

 

Very kind regards, foxx. :)

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Guest siamsusie

Hi Fox,

 

Welcome to Poms In Oz.

 

There are a few members that are very "up" on the education system here in Australia, they will be probably along to give you some good advice in the morning.

 

Just looking at your post, I think you will find you would come up against some pretty hefty Uni bills as an International Student.

 

I really do hope things work out well for you in the future.

 

Susie x

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Guest Foxx

That sounds great. thankyou. :)

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You wont get a visa to be an apprentice so that isnt really going to be an option for you. If you want to study at uni here then you will need a LOT of money - international fees are exorbitant and there is no guarantee that you would get a visa to stay permanently (and remember that honours degrees here are 4 years not three)

 

Australia is very much the home of the degree - and further degrees as well so if you do eventually want to come here then you would be far better to have at least a first degree and probably a further degree with experience and it would be cheaper and quicker for you to do it in UK. If you go the apprenticeship route then I believe the UK gov has just announced plans for increasing the number of apprentices so you might get lucky there too.

 

I can imagine that having a bit of a gap holiday is unsettling after all the hard graft you have been through and of course you had a brilliant time - that's what gap holidays are for! Maybe one day you might decide to move to Aus - or France or USA or Canada or UAE - you may well find that you have skills which will lead you to opportunities anywhere in the world and the world is a big place but it does look like you need to knuckle down for a few more years and get yourself equipped to follow opportunities when they occur.

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Speaking as an admissions tutor at a UK uni (and preparing to move to Melbourne to work at a uni there), I would strongly advise you to take up your place in the UK if you get the required grades in order to avoid higher fees from September 2012 and because studying in Australia as an international student will not be any cheaper and you will not be eligible for any financial support.

 

Once you're in, you've got a few options:

 

a) Get through the degree in 3/4 years (depends on the programme) and make sure you gain as much experience as possible through internships/placements/year in industry options, which will help you work out what exactly you want to do and also improve your employability and potentially access to sponsored postgrad study. This could include time in Australia if you can find a suitable company/organisation.

 

b) See if there's any exchange programme options with an Australian uni that would let you spend a semester or academic year there and get credit for it;

 

c) If you start and really don't like it, the first thing to do is work out if it's the course that's the problem or studying at uni in the UK full stop. If it's the course, talk to your tutors and find out if there's any possibility to transfer courses, either during the year or at the end of year one (either repeating year one or directly into the second year if your performance meets requirements). If it's studying at uni in the UK full stop, in the first instance I'd suggest taking a temporary leave of absence if possible, rather than withdrawing completely. This keeps your place open for you if you decided to return after a year away and should mean you don't get hit by the new fees regime (but check this, as it may vary by uni).

 

If you don't get your grades and have only missed them by a grade or two, definitely phone up your firm and insurance offer unis and see if there's any possibility of them still taking you or making you an alternative course offer. This year some unis are not officially going into clearing, but may still have places available on some courses, so it is worth checking. Also don't forget that if your grades are better than expected, you can look to "upgrade" via UCAS's system.

 

Echoing previous posters, getting a degree under your belt in the UK and as much experience as possible is the route most likely to put you in a position to be able to move to Australia and work there if you so wish. Sure, it takes longer, but good things take time and are best done properly. Uni will open up a huge range of options to you, so my advice would be to go and make the most of it, knowing that it will help you in the longer term wherever you end up.

 

I suspect things with your girlfriend will also work themselves out over the course of your studies - at the risk of sounding hugely condescending, people change a lot over the course of a few years and their priorities and horizons can change dramatically. Who's to say that she might not decide that a move to Australia isn't a great idea once you've both graduated, or that your plans might have changed given new opportunities in places like China, for example?

 

Good luck with your results on the 18th.

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Once you've finished uni consider going to Oz on a one-year Working Holiday Visa. If you find the right employer they may then sponsor you to stay on. You're unlikely to find such a sponsor if however you go down there without a degree (skills and experience would be a substitute but I know you don't have those either) so I definitely think you should do your degree.


Chartered Accountant (England & Wales); Registered Tax Agent & Fellow of The Tax Institute (Australia)

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Guest Foxx

Thanks for the advice so far, and CXW thankyou for taking your time with that reply, it was appreciated. :)

 

I do agree with what has been said, however I still feel as if I will not be happy staying here for a few more years.

 

I understand that the fees for international students would be higher, but in the end I think the prices would be roughly the same. I am looking at tuition fees and accomodation in England at roughly 9,000 GBP a year in total. In Australia with the degree I was looking at it would cost me 20,000 AUD a year which translates to approximately 14,000 GBP. Accomodation would not be a problem as said I have a friend who's family has kindly said I could stay with. So while there is deffinately a difference in the two places, it is not a terribly huge amount. With that being said, the average salary for students is higher over there at roughly ~17 AUD/hour instead of ~ 6.50GBP/hour, which means money can be paid off at a faster rate, deemed I find a job and maximise the amount a student with a VISA can have (20 hours a week).

But how easy would it be to get a student VISA to study over there? And more importantly, once I had done my degree, roughly how likely am I to be able to stay in Australia after my degree has finished? - I get the impression I will need to apply for a full working VISA afterwards but if I have been studyng there for three years and have a degree which is on their Skills In Demand it should be alright, shouldnt it? Also, thankyou for the heads up on having no financial support, thats a point i didnt really consider to begin with. Would I need to pay that upfront or can it be put into a loan?

 

Thanks again for the help so far, looking forward to responses. :)

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While it's great that you've got an offer of a place to stay in Melbourne, if you're looking at it as a free long-term option, I'd suggest caution - even very good friends only stretch so far in terms of hospitality. Realistically you need to budget to make a contribution to the household in terms of bills and food, as well as rent, even if it is below market rates.

 

You also need to factor in the cost of medical insurance (required on a student visa, although some stuff may be covered under reciprocal arrangements) and potentially the cost of flying home once/year, as well as transport in Melbourne (not sure how things are now, but I know there was controversy earlier in the year about international students not being deemed eligible for student travel passes).

 

WRT to paying fees, the whole point of not being eligible for support is that you would need to pay them upfront as you would not be eligible for a student loan from the SLC. You need to look in to whether the 20 hours/week limit on an Australian student visa applies during vacation time as well as term time - if so, you're hugely limiting your earning potential compared to the UK.

 

Seriously, I understand you're pretty convinced at the moment that you're not going to be happy in the UK for another few years, and this may be the case - if only because you've decided that's how it's going to be; one's attitude makes a big difference. However, you've been back in the UK for all of a few days, which is not a good starting point for making huge decisions - post-holidays are far from unusual and you need to do some serious research into costs, how you could fund it, actual courses and prospects after graduation (including loan repayments) before writing off study in the UK.

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Hey Mate,

 

I was/am in a very similar position to you at the moment, and I kind of know how you are feeling at the moment.

 

I spent last year, traveling around Australia, and absolutely fell in love with it!!!! I came home, and straight away, applied for a WHV, and I actually still hold that Visa for another month.

 

I then started thinking, hang on. I'm planning on going to Oz with no experience in any profession, and no long term future of being allowed to stay there, and I feel just like you, I see myself living in Australia.

 

I did some serious thinking, and about a year ago, I decided to sort things out, and applied to do Podiatry at Uni here in the UK. The fees in Australia, were out of this world for non residents, and I also wanted to spend a few years in The UK to get experience, and figure everything out.

 

I know it is very tempting to just get out there, and see how it goes. Trust me, I have thought about that seriously. However, I know that degrees and experience gained here in the UK is very well respected in Australia, and you much much more likely to have an easier start in Australia if you get Uni done and get some experience behind you here. It's a tough decision, but I personally would do as much as you can here, to give you the best possible start in Australia.

 

I hope you sort it out mate, and keep us updated on how you're going! Hey, you never know, we might be heading out to Oz at a very similar time! Hope all goes well mate, yeah the UK is in trouble at the moment, but it's not all bad, and a good cheap education is something that we are INCREDIBLY lucky to be able to access here.

 

Best regards,

Anna. X


Tijd is Geld!

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The month between my gap year and starting Uni in the UK, I felt very unsettled, and wanted to go back to New Zealand.

 

Then I started uni, and they were the best four years of my life. I made some fantastic friends and it was the first time in my life that I really felt like I belonged somewhere.

 

It's normal to feel unsettled when things are changing, doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't be there.

 

Give uni in the UK a chance, you might find you love it, and you can always go to australia in the summer holidays. Also bear in mind that travelling somewhere and living there are two very different experiences. Most uni students in Australia are still living at home with their parents, the social side of Uni is very different as a result. Not to mention that you would be hit for exorbitant international fees in Australia.

 

Going to uni in the UK doesn't mean you have to live the rest of your life there. Since I finished uni, I've spend four years in Switzerland, and now living in Australia. The world is your oyster... once you have your qualifications.

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Guest littlesarah

I work at an Australian university, and I can tell you that my employer loves overseas students! Because they have to pay full fees, and an upfront 'bond' before they can enrol. $$$$s!!

 

CXW is 100% correct (as you'd expect, considering their job) - you would not be eligible for HECS or any other fees or maintenance assistance, and you would have to consider how to pay all of your fees without the benefit of a student loan.

 

3 years may seem like an eternity when you're not even on day 1 yet - but believe me, that time will fly by. British degrees are viewed very favourably here - especially if you have a good honours grade (not all degrees have embedded honours - the one I work in doesn't)!

 

I think you need to be very sure about throwing away the opportunity you have in the UK.

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