With Australia in focus as the destination of next year’s IALC Workshop, we look at the reasons for learning English in Australia. Australia is one of the world’s top four English language study destinations. Around 125,000 students booked an English course in Australia in 2012 and it is easy to see why: quality, choice and lifestyle.
Australia has a thorough regulatory system for language schools and other institutions that recruit overseas students on student visas. Under Australia’s ESOS (Education Services for Overseas Students) Act, these institutes must meet requirements in marketing, education delivery, facilities and student support services. The National ELT (English Language Teaching) Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) regulates English centres and only those that meet the standards can accept students on student visas and be listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.
Over the last 20 years, Australia has emerged as a major destination in international education and the choice of language courses and study destinations within Australia has grown in parallel. Today, students can take general English at all levels, or prepare for and sit all the leading English examinations, including the Cambridge ESOL suite, IELTS and TOEFL. There are many work and study and volunteering opportunities across the country, as well as special courses for executives, seniors, teachers and teens, and a host of Language Plus options including English + surfing, diving, yoga, sailing, golf, au pairing, hospitality, high school and more.
There are also established pathways from English language study into Australia’s excellent higher and vocational education sector. In 2012, around 52,000 international students progressed through an English course to an Australian university or vocational institute, studying arts, sciences, humanities, business and computing among other subjects.
And all of this is available in an increasing number of attractive destinations, both cities like Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane and resorts like Byron Bay, Gold Coast and Airlie Beach.
Australia is a safe and peaceful country with a high standard of living. The world’s largest island ranks as a good-value English language destination as well as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, especially popular with young travellers, who enjoy the climate, outdoor lifestyle, fabulous beaches, wild and dramatic interior and cool, cosmopolitan cities. Australia has a destination for every type of language student: adventurer, city slicker, surfer, entrepreneur, nature-lover, wine-lover……
While Australia is world-famous for sport, beer and barbecues, it is also a cultural hub and successful economy. It has produced its share of great writers, artists, film actors and directors, scientists and business tycoons.
Australia’s reputation for friendliness and good humour extends across the world. It is a relatively young country but with long traditions. Its two most famous icons, Sydney Opera House and Uluru, perfectly reflect the modern and ancient aspects of this remarkable land.
Jan Capper is Managing Director of the International Association of Language Centres (IALC).
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