After 2 years in Australia under a Working Holiday Visa, I’m going back to study naturopathy on the Gold Coast. I got granted a visa for 4 years (the duration of my studies) after 4 months of administrative procedures and many stressful moments. Today, I want to share the whole process so it hopefully won’t look as blurry for you.
Want to study in Australia but have no idea where to start ?
Jump on board, I’ll show you the way !
/!\ I am French, I am sharing my experience as a French citizen, it might not be the same for you. I strongly suggest you do your research, as well as getting some help – see the first point of this article.
Your best mate is an agency
When I decided to study naturopathy in Oz, my friend Chloé, who studied and lived down under for 10 years, advised me to contact an agency to help me get my visa. These organisations run on partnerships with universities, schools and other education establishments to assist international students in their enrolment and visa applications.
But above all, it’s completely free.
I personally chose GoStudy, following Chloe’s recommandation. Astride there provided me with many tips and helped me with (a lot of) patience, regular recap e-mails as well as updates on the upcoming steps.
It’s my turn now to suggest you to call on an agency like GoStudy !
Last but not least, the partnership between schools and agencies allows some discounts on your whole course. I got 15% off my 4 years course and knowing the price of it, it’s surely something to cheer about !
Step 1 : take an English test
As an international student, I had to take an English test to be able to apply to my university. I suppose it’s best to speak a little bit the language before studying science, isn’t it ?
I took the IELTS Academic and few weeks later, I got my marks back : 8 out of 9. The university referee later told me on the phone that the average for Aussie students was 6,5 out of 9. Easy as (it’s my blog, I brag if I want to).
Mid-October, I was then ready to enrol in the Endeavour College of Natural Health on the Gold Coast.
Step 2 : enrol in your university
Now that you’ve chosen the course and the city where you want to study, you can now gather the papers to enrol on your training. I personally had to provide my IELTS results, but also an official translation of my diplomas, as well as a cover letter. And since I applied for a Bachelor, I had to provide an English resume.
After paying the fees asked by your school to enrol, you will receive a CoE, Confirmation of Enrolment. You can now apply for your visa.
Step 3 : apply for the 500 Student Visa
For this part, I have to admit that Astride helped me a lot. In other words, I only had to go back to my Immi Account, where my visa application had already been well started, and check and/or correct some information.
I also had to list all the places I’ve travelled to the past 10 years, as well as my last professional experiences.
Although many fields were already filled, I still took a good time to make sure everything was in order. But before submitting my application, I still had two more steps to go through…
Step 4 : subscribe to a health insurance
As an international student, you have to be covered effectively for the whole duration of your course. You will have to choose between a few different organisations to subscribe to your OSHC – Overseas Student Health Cover.
To choose, visit the OSHC official website and select the plan that fits best to you. In order to ask for a quote, Astride at GoStudy told me the precise beginning and end dates for my contract: it starts on my first day of uni and ends 3 months after my last day (in December 2024 – ouch).
Keep in mind that you won’t be covered before your first day of training: if you arrive in Australia before, you’ll need a private insurance.
I will be in Australia two weeks before my first day, so my credit card insurance will be enough.
I then received a Requirement to Provide Biometrics in order to finalise my application.
Step 5 : take and pass a biometrics test
I know, “Biometrics Test” sounds a little bit like the Matrix. It’s actually just the Australian government checking that your fingerprints still fit with the ones on your passport (juuust in case you got killed and replaced by a stranger since your last holiday).
You will therefore need to schedule an appointment with VFS Global, the Australian Biometric Collection Centre, which is in Paris. You will have to bring to the appointment:
- Your confirmation of appointment to VFS Global
- Your Requirement to Provide Biometrics letter
- Your passport
On site, the test will literally take 10 minutes: a nice face shot, a little scan of all your fingers and a quick signature and that’s it, you’re free. All this for only 51€, payable by cash or credit card.
After that, there’s not much more you need to do other than wait for the greatly awaited “Grant Notice” – which you’re already familiar with if you’ve been on a WHV before. If not, it’s the official letter that says “you’re right mate, you can go”. It’s only taken 30 minutes for the email to arrive.
Once all these steps are done and dusted, you can book your flight, organise your life there and… get to work!
Good luck and enjoy this new adventure !
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