My Journey Studying In Adelaide And Pursuing CA ANZ

The Finance Story

In this post, you will get a complete idea about studying in Australia if you are an international student.

In fact: This article is by Ketan Sharma from Mumbai (India) who moved to Adelaide, Australia to pursue Masters in Accounting Program from the University of South Australia.

And today Ketan shares the exact steps he took when moving to Australia. He also gives us an idea about staying costs in Australia, jobs, interviews etc.

Ketan is a provisional Chartered Accountant from Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand.

He has worked at the Australian Taxation Office as a Tax Help Volunteer and at the University of South Australia as a Project Officer and an Accounting intern.

Studying in Australia

When it comes to exploring study abroad opportunities, it can be quite overwhelming.

There are expenses, plane tickets, college credit transfers, housing and countless other tasks that need to be taken into consideration.

That is where sharing my journey could help you!

Let me first admit that I am no expert at this but I have done extensive research and maybe my research could help you. 

1. Know Why you want to study abroad 

  • Choosing to study abroad (in my case Australia) for my masters is one of the best decisions I have made. It gave me an opportunity to explore the world, be productive, meet new people, beef up my resume, and so much more!
  • My father always advised me to go abroad and develop my personality.
  • He encouraged me to migrate to a new country so I could get independent and simultaneously realize my career/ life goals.
  • In my case, migration to another country was only possible through 'Education'. That is why I decided to do my Masters at the University of South Australia and migrate to Australia.
  • And honestly, the journey of living by myself in a new country has taught me so much.
  • So before deciding what you need to study abroad know WHY you want to study abroad.
  • I am saying this because studying abroad is fun but with a lot of efforts. So having a WHY can motivate you during tough times.

2. Choose where to study abroad 

  • Once you know your 'why' the next step is to choose WHERE you intend studying.
  • I chose Adelaide, Australia because it is a growing place, peaceful, beautiful. Most of all it offers everything for a reasonable price.

3. Choose your study abroad program 

I applied for the Masters in Accounting program at the University of South Australia.

I applied for the same after completing my Bachelors in Accounting program from Mumbai University (India).

I decided to go for a Masters as I was not eligible for an MBA program at the University of South Australia.

An MBA at the University of South Australia needed 2 to 3 years of work experience as a team leader. I felt that would be too long to wait so I chose to do my Masters instead and move to Australia.

Advise if you want to do the same:

  • Masters’ Degree spans from 1.5 to 2 years with 12 to 16 subjects.
  • You have a choice of taking exemption/credits for a total of 4 subjects, depending on your previous studies i.e. Bachelors.
  • This exemption may affect your degree accreditation with a professional body (if any), temporary visa 485, and permanent residency visa 189, 190 or 489.
  • Before planning for an exemption, take advise from the program director. Total Masters’ degree time is 2 years with a total of 4 semesters. Every semester has 4 subjects so in total 16 subjects (without exemption/credits).
  • Studying a minimum of 4 subjects per semester will make it a full-time study.
  • You have an option of customizing your lectures/tutorials/workshops days and timings online. For instance, you can come to the university for 3 days a week and the rest of the days you can work / volunteer / socialize or just rest at home.
  • Legally, you can work only 20 hours in a 7-day period in Australia when you are on a study visa!
  • Almost every subject will comprise of 1 assignment (25% weightage), 1 presentation (25% weightage) and written exam- some are open book exams with restrictions on the type of materials that can be taken into the room (50% weightage).

4. Choose a migration agent for visa 

  • I applied for my student visa through a migration agent in Mumbai, India named VIEC. This agent has a tie-up with the University of South Australia.
  • Make sure that your migration agent has a tie-up with the university you are applying in, otherwise the applications are not accepted. You can check the tie-up on the university’s website or by calling them.
  • If one is confused about going through an agent or not going through one, this is what you should know – It is better to take help from an agent to prevent any complexities in case something goes wrong. If you are coming to Australia then VIEC doesn’t charge you anything, as they get commission directly from the universities in Australia.
  • So, whether you take help from an agent or not, doesn’t cost you anything; then why not get guidance and be confident with your application!
  • Also many a time the agent might force you to join another college of their choice as they could be getting a higher commission from those colleges. Thus you do your research and you decide which college abroad you want to apply. Approach the agent only for help, not career guidance.
  • If you are applying for a Masters program (like me), then Bachelors degree from India (recognized as an Australian equivalent qualification) is the eligibility.
  • Some universities have an application fee (appx $80) while others don’t.

5. Funding your study abroad expenses 

  • Support from parents - My Father supported me financially which gave me more time to concentrate on studies and undertake volunteering activities for community welfare and develop myself personally.
  • Education Loan - Some of my friends migrated to Australia on an education loan and some were able to repay the loan amount within a few years. Note- Lawfully, you can work only 20 hours in a week on a student visa, where per hour rate ranges between $10 and $25. Many students have to struggle to repay if opted this.
  • Scholarships - Some master’s degrees and some Ph.D. programs are eligible for partial or full scholarships (by full scholarships, I mean that your living expenses are also covered by the university). If you have been scoring more than 85% in your education and you can prepare to crack competitive exams. You can research the various scholarships and apply accordingly. You can also contact universities in Australia via call or email for details.

 

6. Insurance

  • My migration agent covered me under Allianz insurance policy (appx $1800 for 2 years for 1 student).
  • They have different insurance policies for different people i.e. tourists, working holidaymakers, and visitors.

7. Accommodation while studying 

  • It is advisable to make your accommodation arrangement before arriving in Australia.
  • You can have a look at the hostels on the internet or through the university’s website and can book by emailing an application form.
  • Generally, the rent is payable on arrival, but you may be required to pay 1 or 2 weeks rent before moving to Australia.
  • You can contact your university or your hostel manager for making the first-time commutation arrangements from the airport to your place of stay. If anything goes wrong, then you can take a bus or a taxi from the airport.
  • In Australia, you pay rent weekly or fortnightly and receive salary weekly or fortnightly making things easy!

8. How much money do you need on a monthly basis while studying 

The cost Per subject is $3800 appx- University of South Australia (Uni SA) *subject to change every year.

Permanent residents are charged only 50% than the international students for the tuition fee.

For Adelaide:

Hostel rent140 per week560 pm
Phone plan10 per week40 pm
Commutation13 per week appx50 pm
Food60 per week240 pm

  • You can view your salary entitlements on the Fair works (gov.au) website. If you feel that you are exploited, or something is not quite right in your workplace then fair work ombudsman can help you out.
  • If you have any issues with anything and you are not sure of whom should you talk with then discuss with your University. They should have a solution to your problem.
  • There is a solution to everything in Australia, the only thing you need to do is discuss it with someone or some authority.
  • If you want generic guidance while you are onshore or offshore then join as a member with Indian communities on the Facebook by joining the groups named: “Indians in Adelaide”, “Indians in Sydney”, “Indians in Melbourne” and many more. You can then raise any kind of query in these groups and can expect helpful responses.

9. Things to do on your first day in Australia 

  • One of the first things you should do when you get to your new home in Australia is set up a bank account. You may need to secure an address first, but as soon as you do that make sure you tick this off your list! Your bank account can be opened with passport and visa documents as evidence (Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Bank SA and many more to select from).
  • After that take your bank documents to a network provider (Vodafone, Telstra, Optus and many more) to buy a SIM card.
  • Finally, on the 2nd day of your university - enroll in the courses online for the next year with the help of customer care personnel at your university.

Rents in Adelaide 

  • Rent in Adelaide can go anywhere from $100 to $250 or more, depending on the type of accommodation you choose.
  • Hostels charge anywhere between $140 and $250. Sharing accommodation (if you choose to share with some people) charges anywhere between $80 and $200 per person. This is all weekly rents!

Job opportunities in Adelaide

  • If you have some work experience (more than 3 - 4 years) while in India or your home country + No permanent resident in Australia = You can somehow manage to get a white-collar job here based on your communication skills in English, confidence and your expertise in the area you have worked.
  • If you have some work experience (more than 3/4 years) from India/home country + A permanent resident in Australia = Then Australia is waiting for you. With some effort, you can make yourself well-settled here.
  • If you are a Permanent Resident in Australia + with no previous work experience = Then with some Diploma qualification you can get yourself started.

Why are people moving to Adelaide 

  • I chose Adelaide for many reasons: Growth potential as it a regional area, permanent residency points benefit, budgeted economy, peaceful and beautiful environment, easy life because we spend less time on commutation between university/work and home.
  • Adelaide is still growing at a slow rate. People applying for the jobs outnumber the job opportunities that arise, and if you are a fresh graduate with no work experience from India or your home country and are not a permanent resident in Australia then getting a job here is a bit challenging,
  • A lot of people prefer Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane as there are more job opportunities there. However, Sydney and Melbourne have higher income levels which also comes with higher expenses. They also have a lot of job opportunities in comparison to Adelaide. In fact, people from Sydney are moving to Melbourne because of the hike in the price of houses in Sydney!
  • Two most popular reasons people choose to in Australia: Higher standards of living (convenience, fast processes- public or private sector, less pollution, safety, secure- bank transactions; in case of fraud you are compensated, education style, law enforcement) and income equality.
  • Yes, it is easy to save in Adelaide (if one wants to save). Savings might get tricky if only one partner is running the whole show with an average income.
  • People, here, prefer to spend their hard-earned money on their entertainment activities and focus less on saving it. One of the reasons for not focussing on savings is mandatory superannuation/super guarantee i.e. 9.5%, which must be paid by every company for the sole purpose of providing for retirement benefits (illegal in Australia to withdraw before the preservation age i.e. 60/65) as required by the Australian Taxation Office.

Do you need a car in Adelaide

  • In July 2018, I completed my 3 years in Adelaide without a car!
  • If you have a car then you can surely enjoy a more convenient lifestyle. However public transport (Bus, Tram and Train) is convenient here with 15 minutes frequency at most bus stops and 30 minutes at others.
  • I would suggest everyone who is reading this article to obtain a full driving license in India or your home country before arriving in Australia. This is because Australian licensing system takes a minimum of 3.5 years to get you a full license, and you can’t use your mobile, loudspeaker or GPS before you get your full license. So, it’s worth getting your license from India or your home country.
  • We have Uber cabs for budgeted commutations though they are a little expensive!

Salary of a fresh Accounting Graduate

  • In Adelaide, the average salary of a fresh Accounting graduate is $50,000 p.a.
  • The salary also depends on the company (public and private- big, mid-tier, small).
  • The salary of a fresh Chartered Accountant is between $60,000 and $75,000 p.a.

Adjusting in Australia and Making New Friends

  • Just go with the flow. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it, and you will be fine.
  • You can get involved in many social activities (highly encouraged by the employers and valued by them when considering you to employ) and learn many practical skills, work behavior and culture, expectations from you and make friends.
  • You must learn to be patient, polite and punctual.
  • Try involving in as many activities as possible, which will provide you with a platform to communicate with people from various nationalities.

Coping with Accents

  • Australia doesn’t have one single accent!
  • If you can clearly express yourself in English, then the accent does not matter.
  • Don’t stress too much on these things, as these will build up automatically over time (appx 6 months).

Books to understand Australian Accounting Standards and Corporate Tax 

Interviews

  • All Accounting related interviews are formal and must be attended in a suit with a blazer and a tie on.
  • It is recommended to meet all your professional contacts in the same professional attire if meeting them during business hours (8.30 am – 5.30 pm) over a coffee or at a lunch at the location of their convenience.
  • Always respect their time and be punctual and proactive, thereby creating a long-lasting impression for yourself.
  • Big 4 Accounting Firms have the same interview process here – That is 3 rounds and a written test.
  • Mid-tier firms may have 2 rounds of interview (1st with the HR manager/Director and 2nd with the Director/another Director).
  • Small size firms may have only 1 interview (with the manager/owner).
  • Always carry your CV, unless told specifically by the recruiter as not needed in which case they will have your resume printed out for you and themselves.
  • Most of the times you will be asked behavioral based questions (use STAR technique to answer them), and you may be asked some basic technical questions if you are a fresher (nothing too detailed).
  • You can always ask the interviewers a few questions about your expectations or anything you need an answer to.
  • Whether it’s an interview or a casual meetup, we address a person here by their f1rst name (you can use “Sir” to address Indian/Asian elders).
  • Most companies also require a cover letter.
  • In Australia, we have a completely different format for the resume. Samples can be found online - he concluded.

Now It’s Your Turn

I’d like to hear from you:

Have you considered moving to Australia to study or to work? Or do you know anyone who has moved to Australia or any other country to study?

Or maybe you have a question about something you read.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

If you have a specific question for Ketan, comment below.

You can connect to him on LinkedIn at Ketan Sharma

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