Article – Hobsons Guide

The Benefits of studying Science, Engineering and Technology in Australia

Australia has always been famous for its sunshine, sandy beaches and kangaroos and now it also being celebrated as a cutting edge and technologically advanced country, internationally recognised throughout the Science, Engineering and Technology communities for the contributions and outstanding achievements that have been made in recent years.

Being amongst the top 10 spenders for research and development has allowed Australian scientists and researchers to make many groundbreaking contributions to medical science. Following in the footsteps of past Australians inventions such as the photocopier, the ‘black box’ found in commercial planes and air conditioning in cars, further developments in the world of high tech equipment are also taking place.

2005 is also proving to be a great year for Engineering in Australia. The Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) are coming together to bring the 4th Global Colloquium on Engineering Education colloquium to Sydney in September. Engineers Australia also declared 2005 ‘The Year of the Young Engineer’.

Australia has already proved itself to be one of the best places in the world to study and is recognised as such. When Asiaweek, an influential international magazine recently ran a survey to rank universities in the Asia Pacific region, Australia beat all fifteen of the countries being surveyed, including Japan and Korea. Two of the Australian universities came in the top ten, with eight overall in the top fifty.

It is little wonder therefore that so many new students arrive every year. According to Australian Education International, 244,504 new international students enrolled in Australian institutions by the end of March 2005, an increase of 7% on the previous year. These figures mean that Australia now has the third highest intake of international students, after the UK and US.

China and India have experienced the highest enrollment growth this year, at 22% and 42% respectively, followed by South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and the USA.

These new students will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of Australia’s most successful past graduates. These include CEOs of global companies like Coca Cola, McDonalds and Ford, the first Japanese Astronaut and the many film stars now making it big in the bright lights of Hollywood. To date, 7 Australians have already been awarded Noble Prizes for their work in the fields of science and medicine.

Two sporting legends and graduates of the prestigious Monach University, are Championship tennis player Paul McNamee, who received his Bachelor of Science, and John Bertrand, the world champion yachtsman and winner of the America’s Cup who wrote his thesis on the aerodynamics of America‘s Cup yacht sails whilst studying engineering.

Another Monash graduate,Teo Ming Kian, received First Class Honours in Mechanical Engineering. He has since gone on to become the Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Singapore Technologies Private Limited, as well as the President of the INSEAD Singapore Council.

As these past graduates have proved, an international education is certainly seen as very benefical in today’s multicultural and globally-connected world. The experience gained can lead to an increase in self confidence, a greater ability to adapt and interact on a professional level across an international and cultural divide and a broader global perspective and knowledge base.

When questioned by Hobsons UK about the benefits of employing students who have studied overseas, many companies listed all of these positive traits as clear advantages for new graduates looking to join the workforce.

Besides this valuable experience that time spent in Australia can offer, there also many other reasons why the country is now such popular study destination, such as the wide range of excellent courses from which to choose, including new subjects like Ecotourism, starting in 2006 and the Bachelor of Science (Surf Science and Technology), one of only two programmes in the world. Other benefits include the lower cost of living and more affordable tuition fees and the added incentive of fantastic work and travel opportunities during and after studies. All in all Australia really does offer students the ultimate educational and lifestyle package.

But perhaps the most important factor for any student looking come to Australia to study Science, Engineering or Technology, is the assurance that their final qualifications will receive international recognition, both throughout the community of scholarship and from prospective employers around the world.

A high standard of education is required to meet international requirements and guarantee a job placement within many industries, especially those that follow strict regulations and guidelines like Engineering. Australia is currently party to a host of agreements with other countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Canada, the UK and the US, to ensure that all Engineering qualifications are recognised.

The Australian Government does place a great importance on achieving international recognition for all degrees, diplomas and other awards that are gained in the country. To maintain the reputation for excellence throughout the educational system, all universities are regulated every year to ensure they meet the highest international standards.

Working to promote overseas the high quality and standard of education, training and research opportunities in Australia, is the Australian International Education Foundation (AIEF), a joint collaboration between the Australian Government and Australian education and training providers.

Australia is also party to two treaty-level UNESCO Conventions – the Asia-Pacific Regional Recognition Convention and the Lisbon Recognition Convention, both of which work towards the international recognition of higher education qualifications.

Universities in Australia today are now focusing heavily on ‘internationalising’, with around 3,900 formal agreements currently existing between Australian universities and their overseas counterparts, focusing on student, research and academic links. International curricula and research collaborations are constantly being developed and institutions are always on the look out to recruit teaching staff who are renowned and respected leaders within their own field.

Student exchange programmes are also actively encouraged, helped in part by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF structure is a national system of learning pathways linking universities, vocational education and training, and school education. It allows students to move easily from one level of study to the next and from one institution to another subject to visa requirements.

The international recognition of an Australian qualification is evident not only in the rising number of students choosing to come to Australia, but also in the willingness of leading international universities to accept graduates from Australian universities for admission to postgraduate studies. Perhaps the greatest confirmation can be found in the high number of graduates who are gaining immediate employment within their chosen field, and going on to achieve successful careers in Australia, throughout Asia and across the rest of the world.


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