Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a visa?

To visit Australia, you definitely need a visa. For a high school year abroad, you will generally need a special student visa. However, for placements of up to three months, some schools also accept an ordinary tourist visa.

Can I extend my high school year abroad?

Yes, provided that the school has a place available. However, you will need to apply and pay for another visa.

Can I change host families?

Yes you can. In the unlikely situation that your current homestay no longer meets your needs, simply talk to us or your school’s homestay coordinator and a new host family will be found.

Can I choose the school?

Yes, in most states you are free to choose whichever school you like (depending on availability). However, in Western Australia you list three schools, then choose one.

Can I take on casual work during my high school year abroad in Australia?

Yes, your student visa lets you work up to 20 hours per week. However, you cannot work with a tourist visa.

Do I have to wear a school uniform?

Mostly yes. Each Australian school has its own identifying uniform, and students are normally required to wear it.

Do I need to speak English really well for a high school year abroad?

No. If you do not have enough English skills to attend normal class, you could participate in a high school preparation program prior to starting school or do additional intensive English classes in parallel with your high school lessons.

When does the school year start in Australia?

The Australian school year starts in late January. However, you can also join in April, July or October.

When should I book my flight to Australia?

You should arrange your flight once the school has accepted your application and you have received your visa.

Why do I need Australian health insurance?

The Australian Government requires all international students to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This makes sure that everyone has the coverage they need, and is automatically arranged upon enrolment.

What happens on my first day of school?

On the first day of school you will have an orientation day. School staff will explain the procedures to you, and show you around the school buildings and grounds. You will be able to finalise your subjects with them, and they will introduce you to your classmates. This is also when you will buy your school uniform. The international student coordinator will always be available to answer any questions you may have.

How old must I be to attend high school in Australia?

If you plan to come by yourself, generally you must be at least 14 years of age, although some schools will accept students starting at the age of 11. If you will be accompanied by a parent, you can come at any age.

Will I be picked up at the airport?

Yes. You will be met at the airport on arrival and taken to your school or homestay.

Can you briefly describe the process for a high school year abroad in Australia?

  • Choose a school
  • Complete an application form
  • School offers you a place
  • You accept the offer (if you do not accept, the process stops here)
  • You pay all fees, incl. accommodation with host family, and health insurance (organised by school)
  • School issues a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and Welfare Letter
  • You apply for a Student Visa using the CoE and Welfare Letter
  • You book your flight!

For full details, see the “eight steps to a high school year abroad“ section.

How do I get to school?

On the first day, your host family will take you to school, and show you the way there and back. Afterwards, you can do your school journey by walking, bicycle, bus, or maybe by car. It really depends on where your host family lives and how far it is from school.

How much pocket money should I budget for?

This is up to you. Typically, you could expect to spend $50 – 100 AUD per week on things like drinks with friends, buying snacks or gifts, etc.

What kind of place will I live in?

Most students live with host families, others stay at boarding schools (you decide this in advance); some students have close relatives near school, and can stay with them.

When do I get my school uniform?

On your first day at school you simply wear neat street clothes. The international student coordinator will help you organise your uniform to wear after that.