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Studying in Brisbane

Where in the world can you visit a busy, modern city, lush National Park rainforests, and enjoy a day at one of many spectacular beaches, all within a one hour drive? Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, in Australia, that’s where!

Brisbane offers numerous experiences for locals and visitors alike, from shopping in downtown Queen Street, to bushwalking and exploring a variety of National Parks. The temperate climate and friendly people make Brisbane a great place to visit and live. Julia Bezdetko, 17, recently emigrated with her family from Russia, and says the people are what makes Australia a wonderful country. "The people are so friendly and helpful. It was hard moving to a new country where I did not know anyone, but after a short time here, I have made many new friends."

A popular venue for visitors is Southbank, a recreational park built on the site of World Expo 88 in the heart of Brisbane. "Southbank is a good place to go. It offers a beach, a nice place for relaxing, many stores and lovely scenery," says Maria-Elisa Pereira, 17, a Brazilian student studying at High School in Brisbane. Maria studied English at St. Paul’s International School on her arrival in Australia. Travelling around Brisbane is easy with the range of clean, fast and safe public transport system of railways, buses and ferries.

Educational Opportunities in Queensland

There are a variety of educational opportunities available to anyone wishing to study in Brisbane. Students can choose to study at Independent or State High Schools (also called Secondary Schools), Technical and Further Education Colleges (commonly called TAFE), Universities or Private Commercial Colleges.

Brisbane and its suburbs have over 150 High Schools to choose from when selecting a School. There are two types of High Schools: Independent Schools, and Schools operated by Education Queensland. Independent School students are encouraged to participate in sport and cultural activities outside normal school hours. Many Independent Schools also place importance on the elements of a Christian education and are affiliated with religious denominations of the Christian faith. Approximately half the High Schools in Brisbane are Independent Schools.

Most students begin School when they are 5 years old. For the first seven years at School in Queensland, students attend Primary School. Primary School aims to teach children the basic elements of education in different subjects, including Mathematics, English, Science, Art, Social Studies, Sport and some schools offer Foreign Language studies. Once students have completed Primary School, they move into High School. High School students are offered choices in many of their subjects. Upon successful completion of High School, students have the opportunity to continue studying at University, TAFE or a private commercial college.

Before beginning study at a High School, TAFE or University in Australia, many international students attend an intensive English course to extend their English Language skills. Queensland has many accredited English Language Schools (ELICOS) in Brisbane. These schools may be High Schools or Private Commercial Colleges. English Language Schools offer programs in English language training from 1 week to 1 year (or more), depending on the needs of students.

Applicants should look for institutions that are accredited by NEAS, the National ELICOS Accreditation Scheme. Affiliation with ACPET, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, is also desirable, as it ensures financial fees paid in advance.

Many ELICOS Schools specialise in High School Preparation Programs. These programs focus on teaching students intensive English to ensure they are prepared for study in any Australian High School. Students learn the language necessary for Maths, Science, Information Technology as well as English and the humanities.

Some Schools offer ELICOS and High School Schooling on the same campus. One such School is St. Paul’s School, Bald Hills. International students can attend St. Paul’s International School for ELICOS study, where they are introduced to mainstream St. Paul’s School classes which help them adapt to life in the classroom once they complete their ELICOS studies.

Morrie Kwok, 18 years old from Hong Kong, says he found the transition program very helpful. "I have attended High School classes in a range of subjects from Mathematics and Science to Computing, and not only am I improving my English, but also expanding my education. I have also made many friends with the High School students."

Some educational facilities also offer students short term study programs, where students study the curriculum level appropriate to their knowledge and skills. Different Schools offer different levels of ESL support during these programs. The short term programs allow visitors who come for a short stay to appreciate Australian traditions and culture through a mix of academic work and local sight seeing.

Queensland has a great range of tourist destinations including Southbank, or amusement parks like Warner Brothers Movie World or Dreamworld. These amusement parks are aimed at a day of recreation and fun. Other theme parks offer a fun day out while learning about the lives of animals in Australia including indigenous animals like koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, kookaburras, platypuses, wombats and large reptiles. Many tourist destinations also have interesting displays and activities explaining elements of Australian culture including Aboriginal culture.

In addition to the academic programs offered, many High Schools also offer a comprehensive sporting and cultural program for students. Sports are tailored to complement the seasonal weather of Queensland and include Soccer, Swimming, Golf, Tennis and Scuba Diving.
Most Independent Schools also encourage all students to participate in cultural programs offered at the School. Such programs include Music, Debating, Drama and Community Service groups. These programs are not generally compulsory and strive to interest students in these areas and develop their skills and understanding of Australian culture.

Living in Brisbane

Students in Brisbane can select from a range of accommodation, both in Brisbane and surrounding suburbs. Accommodation includes Homestay Programs, Boarding Schools, Private Rentals of Units or Houses and private boarding programs.

Some educational facilities offer boarding, private accommodation or Homestay Programs. Homestay Programs offer students a secure, safe and happy family environment in which to study. Students are placed with a carefully chosen Australian family, where they live in an English speaking environment and experience life as a member of an Australian family. This arrangement ensures the student has the opportunity to be involved in family activities and explore Brisbane with their Homestay Family.
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