Why Regional Australia Might Be The Best Fit For Bangladeshi Students

Oct 21, 2019

Growing up as Bangladeshis, many amongst us dream of going abroad to study their favorite subjects—particularly to give themselves the best chance to shine in their respective fields, be trained using state-of-the-art technology and tools. Amidst all of the countries favoured by Bangladeshis for higher education, Australia has certainly held supreme reign since the very beginning. With its lush green countryside, the huge stretches of outback, large cities and small towns, Australia promises diversity both in terms of geography, and in terms of educational institutions and facilities that can be availed as international students.

Recent trends have been showing that even though the Australian economy owes a major portion of its annual growth (around 30-40%) to regional areas, the smaller towns and cities have been suffering for several years. Since many Australians associate personal growth with moving to major cities like Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney; occupations like farming, shepherding, bee-keeping etc. that usually are practiced in the countryside have also been shrinking in their extent. As an incentive to prospective students looking forward to going to Australia for higher education (Bachelors, Masters, PhD or Vocational), the Australian Government has adopted certain new laws and policies which will encourage students to choose an institution based in a regional rather than a metropolitan area. Some of these could be enjoyed during the study period; while some promise better post-study work rights, and even possible future job prospects in regional Australia during the PSW period, and even around the rest of the world. Some of the benefits available to international students who have applied or decide to apply to regional institutions are listed below.

1. Improved Job Opportunities

Past years’ data has shown that regional areas of Australia are taking a massive hit due to urban migration being a major part of the Australian culture. As already mentioned previously, the Australian Government has been trying to give precedence to the movement of immigrants to the regional areas of Australia through several new visa programs which have been introduced to encourage people (both from within and outside Australia) to settle in the more remote, rural and regional towns and villages of Australia. The Government had formerly ushered in DAMA (Designated Area Migration Agreements) which has been playing a crucial role in giving employers in the regional areas an increased access to highly-skilled foreign workers; particularly when workers in those specific sectors are not adequately available within Australia. The Australian Government is also working incessantly to create more employment opportunities in the regional areas of the country. As the population in regional Australia is shrinking, a lot more jobs are being introduced in the regional areas (by the Government and by companies given incentives to work in regional Australia) in order to motivate people to shift in more remote and secluded locales. As a result, if you do wish to study in a regional university or institution, you will find it easier to get jobs with far better pay and benefits than those in the city.

2. Supplementary Advantages for Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) Holders (Post-Study Work Stream)

The Department of Home Affairs of Australia has decreed a new program which promises a lot more advantages for anybody who holds the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485). This visa and the benefits it will provide have been exclusively targeted towards both prospective future international students who choose to study; and students who have already chosen to study in a regional institution or at a regional campus of an institution with its main campus in a city or bigger town. Students who receive their degrees from the regional campus of a university (registered in Australia) or an institution with a sanctioned post-secondary or tertiary qualification will be able to avail these privileges, based on the condition that they hold their first Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) In order to be eligible for consideration for the second Temporary Graduate Visa, students will need to currently be living in a regional area of Australia.  It is important to note that in this scenario, the definition of regional Australia will be the same as the one that is provided for cases involving skilled migration—all of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast will be counted as part of regional Australia. Once the degree has been completed and received; the following are just some of the enhancements in work rights that will be available to students (based on Australian qualifications):

  • For any Bachelor degree (including Honours degrees): 2 years + 1 additional year
  • For a Masters by Coursework degree (Classroom-based): 2 years + 1 additional year
  • For a Masters by Research (Thesis- based): 3 years + 1 additional year
  • Doctoral/PhD degree: 4 years + 1 additional year
  • Other courses of study with a minimum duration of 2 academic years (and above): 1.5 years + 1 additional year

If international students want to be considered for this extended visa, they will need to have graduated from a regional university or institution and then need to spend a minimum of 2 years living in a regional locality (as per the aforementioned criteria). The supplementary Temporary Graduate visa (along with the included work rights available post-study) will be strictly in use from November 2019, and will be fully available to the first eligible graduates from 2021.

3. Living Costs are Far More Affordable

One of the factors that often discourages countless students from applying to study in Australia is the high costs of living in most of the larger town or cities of the country. When compared to the larger cosmopolitan cities, the cost of housing (including rent, travel, food and leisure) is much lower in the regional areas of Australia. For instance, the rent of an average single-bedroom apartment in Sydney is AUD 2,400. The rents for a similar house in different regional parts of Australia are listed as follows (in descending order):

  1. in Adelaide: AUD 1,700
  2. in Perth: AUD 1,500; and
  3. in Hobart: AUD 1,200

Contrary to popular belief, most of the amenities that people associate with living in Australian cities can usually also be found in a number of the regional areas—so it is very unlikely that you will be missing out on anything by living in a remote regional site.

4. Enjoy the Best of City and Country Lifestyles at the Same Time

As it has already been mentioned in the point above, many of the regional cities and towns in Australia will often have the same entertainment hubs and facilities like those that can be found in the larger metropolitan cities (such as Sydney). If you are afraid of having to let go of the comforts designated to a cosmopolitan lifestyle, you will not need to do so. Usually, if you do decide to study and live in a regional area, you will be getting two enjoy a slower-paced country lifestyle (great if you enjoy peace and quiet), whilst also still enjoying many of the same facilities that are available in a big city. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved!

5. Relaxed Environment Perfect for the Studious

For many Bangladeshi students who wish to study in Australia—they are also looking forward to the diverse socio-cultural experiences that they will have in the country. However, not everyone who wishes to study abroad wants to have an active social life. If you are an intellectual who likes studying in a more homely, quiet atmosphere; then regional Australia may just be the answer to your prayers. A number of the regional universities in Australia often have smaller class sizes, as well as campuses that are welcoming and pleasant. The Australian countryside will provide an astonishing learning backdrop for international students. An added bonus is that nature and scenic beauty is always close at hand, should students need to take a break from their chaotic study schedules. Some of the best regional universities in Australia are:

  • Central Queensland University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Federation University Australia
  • James Cook University
  • Southern Cross University
  • University of Tasmania
  • Flinders University
  • University of South Australia

Other than universities, there are also numerous secondary schools and vocational training institutions providing a plethora of courses for different levels of learning—many of which can be found dispersed throughout most of the regional areas of Australia. For those who wish to dive head first into an adventure, studying in regional Australia might just be perfect for them. As an international student in regional Australia, you will be able to enjoy a wider assortment of job opportunities, revel in lower overall costs of living; and, in certain cases, higher remunerations as well. If you are really eager to explore the real Australia and become one with its people, communities and traditions; studying in a regional university is one of the best things you could do for yourself. As a life experience, it will be extremely fulfilling—and, who knows? It might just open up a path to even more fantastical escapades in your life!

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