OTHER cities are saturated with international students - Adelaide is not. With its Mediterranean climate, low cost of living and relatively small population (1.2 million), the capital of South Australia is an ideal destination for international students.
There are several routes to a university degree and Adelaide offers students a variety of options.
Most foreign students come to Adelaide seeking a bachelor's qualification. Some students prefer to enrol in a private higher education institution first as a shorter and more direct route to getting a place in university.
Among institutions that have links with universities are Eynesbury College and the Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology (EIBT).
“We offer first year, second year and third year pathways into university,'' says Malcolm W Raedel, managing director of Eynesbury College.
It offers Year 10, 11 & 12 (Senior High School) programmes to Australian and international students, leading to the South Australian Certificate in Education (SACE) as well as Elicos (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students).
“Students who don't perform well in school come here to repeat their Year 12. Often, these students don't do well as they lack focus and direction. Some feel stifled by school rules and regulations.”
An alternative to Year 12 for international students is the South Australian Universities' Foundation Studies Programme (FSP). It's a safer bet as international students are given conditional entry into first year in one of South Australia's three universities, subject to satisfactory completion of the programme.
“We are more flexible in our academic entry requirements and allow students with lower levels of English to enrol,'' says Raedel.
Some 94% of graduates of the FSP typically gain places in tertiary institutions in Australia.
From college to uni
Doing the foundation in Australia makes sense as it acts as a buffer between secondary school and university life. Typically students get more attention than in a university setting as the class size is smaller.
This is one factor that drew Sarawakian Sylvester Kong to Eynesbury where he is doing his Year 12. The SPM 6As student is at the college on a partial scholarship and hopes to do Law in the University of Adelaide. “The standard here is better than in Malaysia and I can learn English easily by communicating with everyone here.”
EIBT offers an alternative pathway to Years 10, 11, 12 or FSP for students seeking a university degree. The Certificate of Business (including IT) is a two or three semester programme (14 weeks per semester) and is offered in association with Flinders University and the University of South Australia.
Successful completion of the certificate allows students to apply for direct entry into first year undergraduate programmes in Business, Management, Commerce and Economics at the two universities.
The Diploma of Business and Diploma of Computing and IT are two or three semester programmes (14 weeks per semester) offered to STPM, UEC and A-level graduates in association with the University of South Australia, Flinders University and Adelaide University.
Successful completion of the diploma is equivalent to one full year of advanced standing on entry into a full range of bachelor degree programmes in business, management and commerce. Students can also choose to do economics, computing or information science at any of the three universities.
“The success rate of students who do the diploma is as good as if not better than those who go direct. We also offer a fast track route as they can finish in 18 months instead of two years,” adds Raedel.
Another institution, South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT) offers Certificate IV and Diploma Programmes in art, business and computing.
“It's all about providing alternative pathways to university. We give students more choice and flexibility. Our institution is a good example of public and private sector cooperation,'' says Robert A Koehne, director of operations at SAIBT.
Certificate IV Programmes are equivalent to pre-University Foundation Studies year while Diploma Programmes are equivalent to the first year of a university Bachelor's Degree Programme.
Students who successfully complete a SAIBT Diploma Programme are guaranteed entry into the second year of relevant UniSA bachelors' programmes.
As in Eynesbury, lecture and tutorial class sizes are small, so students get more individual attention.
All three offer the fast-track option which enable students to save one semester and possibly up to a year, compared with the traditional pathway to a university degree.
Australia has always been strong in technical and further education (Tafe). There are eight Tafe institutes across 50 campuses in SA offering over 100 courses. Two of the biggest are the Adelaide Institute of Tafe (AIT) and Regency Institute Tafe.
Mark Hentschke, marketing operations manager of Education Adelaide, says that 96% of Tafe students are either in further education or employed.
Tafe graduates are highly sought after by employers as they possess practical knowledge, skills, attitude and technical know-how.
The main campus of Regency Institute, Regency Park, is located 20 minutes by bus from the Adelaide CBD. Regency Institute is the largest provider of vocational education and training in South Australia, comprising four campuses: Elizabeth, Parafield, Regency and Salisbury. Each year it trains around 20,000 students across these locations.
There are currently over 400 international students enrolled in programmes across all four campuses.
Not all courses at Regency are open to international students. Programmes that are available include certificate, diploma and degree level courses in Aviation, Hospitality, Community Services, Engineering, Sport and Recreation, Music and Beauty Therapy.
Fees vary depending on the course. A certificate IV in music costs A$7,500 while the fees for a Diploma in Engineering is about A$14,250.
Derrick Casey, associate director of Regency, says it is one of South Australia's most industry responsive educational institutions.
“We work closely with industry. A requirement for lecturers is that they must have a minimum of 10 years experience in industry.”
A 2002 survey showed that 67% of Regency graduates who were unemployed before commencing their Tafe course found work compared to 59% in South Australia and 42% across Australia.
“We work with companies to develop new products. All products produced here are of export grade quality,'' says Casey, who adds that Regency's excellent facilities include a training restaurant and bar which is open to the public.
Regency's forte is its hospitality programmes. In addition to offering its own programmes, Regency also works with two world-class institutions – the International College of Hotel Management (ICHM) and Le Cordon Bleu.
ICHM has the backing of the world's oldest and most prestigious hotel management organisation – the Swiss Hotel Association.
The Association opened the world's first hotel training school – ةcole hôtelière, Lausanne, in 1893. It is the official organisation of the hotel industry in Switzerland, representing more than 4,000 hotels and restaurants.
Le Cordon Bleu offers an MBA in International Hotel & Restaurant Management and a Masters, professional and graduate certificate and a graduate diploma in Gastronomy.
Other qualifications include advanced diploma and bachelor of business degrees in International Hotel & Resort Management, International Restaurant & Catering Management and International Convention & Event Management.
Adelaide Institute of Tafe's (AIT) website says that it is committed to providing educational courses of study that are relevant to today and tomorrow's workforce.
Darryl Earl, marketing manager of AIT, says there are about 16,500 students at AIT, 500 of whom are from overseas, mainly Japan, China and Korea.
“Tafe in South Australia is different from other states as we are allowed to award our own degrees.”
Students with an advanced diploma can do a Bachelor of Business in three semesters. The fees range from A$10,000 for a diploma to A$16,500 for a degree.
For those looking to do courses like jewellery, hairdressing and acting, AIT, which is situated in the middle of Adelaide, offers a range of certificate, diploma and degree courses in these disciplines.
International students can choose from over 30 different courses. The popular ones include business (accounting, banking and finance), office management, management, marketing, information technology (computing), tourism, interpretation and translation.
Many Tafe courses also translate into one to two years advanced placement in a university programme.
Note: The writer's trip to Australia was sponsored by Education Adelaide. For more information on study opportunities in Adelaide, check out www.studyadelaide.com
Part One, please click here.