What have you found the main differences to be between the Philippines and Australia? The Australian culture itself has been the main difference that we experienced. Everything – from the way of living, time management etc.
What do you like about the Brisbane campus and living in Brisbane?
We like the relaxing and peaceful environment of the campus. We like that the University is accommodating and when it comes to transportation it is very reliable. Having free parking, and free shuttles for everyone who commutes daily.
Brisbane has a friendly approachable community, the activities and wonderful places to visit, and a lot more.
What are some of the things you’ve seen in Brisbane / places you’ve been that you would recommend to other international students?
Mostly Australian Beaches is what we admire the most in this country. And there’s a bunch of activities that happens in the city every now and then that is recommendable for a starter in the city like us.
What surprised you about living in Australia? The Australian way of living really surprised us. Coming from a very busy country turned our lifestyle 180 degrees into a calmed city that shuts everything as early as 5.
Thomas Cyr Gonzales
How would you describe ACU to your friends and family back home? ACU has a small community, but the way we see it, it has a huge potential. Being part of the small community, my brother and I didn’t have a hard time to adjust in its culture. Getting along with the rest and making new friends are the most exciting part of it.
For more information on ACU’s Brisbane campus, visit the Brisbane section of our website.
As an international student you may ask yourself, what is one of the best ways to immerse myself in Australian culture and make friends from all over the world?
After speaking to current international ACU students, the answer is living with other students!
Raphael, Haowei and Kelsey chill out in one of the common areas.
There are students from all over the world living at Miguel Cordero Residence in Sydney – France, America, Switzerland, Mexico, China, Australia… the list goes on!
ACU International spoke to three residents who all agree that the multicultural environment makes for a perfect way to meet friends in Australia from all over the world.
Kelsey Plute from Pennsylvania in the United States says one of the benefits of living at student accommodation, particularly with other international students, is the common ground they share being away from home.
“There are many international students that live here and can relate to you when you’re missing home. You’re all in the same boat so its easier to work through that home sickness together,” Kelsey says.
Raphael, Kelsey and Haowei in one of the common areas playing pool.
French student Raphaël Mercier says it also helps with the language barrier – you know you aren’t the only person struggling in a foreign country.
“As an international student, it’s reassuring to know that you can ask your friend at any time if you have an issue with the language or anything else. We all help each other,” Raphaël says.
Haowei Yue from China says living at MCR gave him the opportunity to meet his first foreign friend.
“I enjoy the frequent social activities and professional help provided by Ellen and residential advisors,” Haowei says.
Kelsey, Raphaël and Haowei all agree that living at MCR has allowed them to learn a lot about different cultures.
“I chose a student accommodation because it allowed me to live more deeply in the country’s lifestyle,” Raphaël says.
“There are 120 people living in my accommodation, and it’s great to talk with them about our differences.
With residents coming from all around the world, it’s even better to learn different cultures.”
Kelsey says she likes how there’s such a diverse group of students at MCR.
“I live with French, Australian, and Swiss ladies that are all wonderful, they have affected me in all the right ways,” Kelsey says.
“Getting to know other cultures from a person is definitely something special. Living at MCR has helped me make some awesome new friends and I couldn’t be more comfortable here.”
Raphael, Kelsey and Haowei
The students say that living with locals also enhances their experience because they get to learn and understand Australian culture.
“They help us in finding the best places to eat, where to buy groceries and how to just do simple living things here when internationals are totally lost in their first weeks,” Kelsey says.
Raphaël says one of the benefits in living at MCR is a great living environment with friendly residents and staff.
“I have met so many people I will never forget here, and that wouldn’t have been possible in a regular flat, even if it would have been a shared apartment. We have a strong community here.”
Kelsey agrees, saying the social activities organised by MCR ensure students branch out and meet fellow residents.
“I have made a ton of long lasting friends from all of the world as well as succeeded to finish my business minor here,” Kelsey says.
Two groups of international ACU students recently worked with NSW Government departments in consulting projects and received glowing results.
The ACU Faculty of Law & Business ‘Global Scope’ Program offered international students the opportunity to participate in NSW state government consulting projects with the NSW Police Force and the NSW Department of Education.
Global Scope participants and supporters
The six week program involved weekly meetings with business mentors and taught students a range of skills from research and reporting to teamwork, communication, critical thinking, intercultural awareness and leadership.
Supported by a professional management consultant and a set of industry mentors from the two organisations, student teams developed a proposal and business case to solve a real business issue. Both teams presented their business plans to their respective organisations in front of an audience on Friday, October 7 at ACU Tenison Woods House.
Team One consisted of six undergraduate business students from the disciplines of Accounting, Finance, HRM, Marketing, Business Information Systems and Management and worked with the NSW Police on a proposal and business strategy on how to increase the awareness of the Police’s Facebook page for international students studying in NSW.
Team One presenting their proposal.
Det Supt Gavin Dengate, Corporate Spokesperson for International Students said the team had done an outstanding job.
“The level of research was outstanding. They focused on all key areas that we should utilise to make contact (with international students) and have far exceeded my expectations,” Det Supt Degnate said.
“As a team they grasped the issue well from the start and I commend them for their analytical thinking.”
Team Two also consisted of six undergraduate students from France, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia who had to deliver a consultation paper to the Department of Education who is grappling with the issue of how to engage business and industry with STEM schools. Therefore the students had to undertake research to establish the barriers and motivation for business and industry to engage more with STEM schools. The students were also required to develop strategies and recommendations on how the Department of Education can establish closer working relationships between business and schools.
Business Development Officer with NSW Department of Education Janette Wilmott was as equally impressed, stating the team answered questions they could not.
“We want engagement with businesses to help educate kids and the limitations are very difficult,” Janette said.
Team two presenting their proposal.
Directing her comments to the team, Janette said, “We’re really happy with what you’ve proposed and you’re a delightful team and I commend your integrity – we’re happy to work with you any time!”
Victoria Deudon and Madeleine Gregorio, who were a part of Team One, say they learnt valuable teamwork, project management skills and consultation skills working with the NSW Police Force.
“Working in a real world situation like this was a great insight into what to expect for my future career,” Madeleine says.
Victoria says working on the project was also a great way to meet and work with students from a variety of different cultures.
“We had people from Nepal, France and Australia in our group, so to have different cultural perspectives was a great experience,” Victoria says.
Camilla Cotrim and Neelam Airi, who worked on Team Two, said they would highly recommend the program to future international students.
Group Two: Anthony Wolf, Bronchon Purba, Camilla Cotrim, Linh Nguyen, Neelam Airi, Uchhit Karmacharya
“We all worked really well as a team and the project helped us develop our skills as we learnt about the real business world – it really adds to our university study,” Camilla says.
Neelam and Camilla agreed that working with a mentor with vast experience in the education department was one of the highlights of the program.
“It’s great for career development and to get a taste of the real world,” Neelam said.
Business Development Manager for the Faculty of Law and Business Maxine Bradshaw says she was very proud of all the international students who took up the challenge to undertake the six-week real-work project with NSW Government departments.
“As the inaugural group of students who participated in the Global Scope project they demonstrated a willingness to embark on a new experience which has helped to develop their employ-ability skills, project management skills, communication skills and an ability to work with Australian business and government departments across diverse groups of individuals,” Maxine said.
Team One: Asif Chowdhury, Bishal Shrestha, Briane Rivera, Madeleine Gregorio, Neha Rai and Victoria Deudon
“The Faculty of Law and Business is determined to provide international students with genuine opportunities to develop their future employ-ability skills by building close working relationships with business, government and organisations.”
Maxine says the Global Scope project forms part of the students authentic assessment and students will receive unit credit as part of a work integrated learning unit.
“It was very pleasing to hear the NSW department managers state that the international business students provided great insights. I genuinely believe that this project has been transformational for these students, I have witnessed and seen the growth in confidence and personal skills in these international students,” Maxine added.
ACU wishes to thank and acknowledge the business leaders and mentors who have supported these students along this journey, Janette Wilmott – NSW Department of Education, Chief Inspector Darren Newman NSW Police, Veronica Millar Policy and Programs Officer, NSW Police, Det Supt Gavin Dengate NSW Police. Mentors Suzy Watson CFO, Intersective, Krista Walters, Management Consultant, Intersective Program delivery team Alison Li, Executive and Operations Officer, Intersective, Sophia Demetriades, Strategic Relationship Manager, Intersective Jason Davison HR Project Analyst Intersective
ACU international students recently participated in Interchange and proved to be some of the most successful of them all!
Interchange is an educational program co-funded by StudyNSW. It has been developed to foster international student’s entrepreneurial skills with seven NSW universities participating.
During the Interchange program students worked in groups with students from other universities and also from a range of degrees (including Nursing, Business, and Science).
Together the groups created their business plan with the help of experienced entrepreneurs. Their final goal was to create a two minute ‘pitch’ video that had to convince a jury that their business idea was the best idea.
First Prize: “BeyondUni” ACU students: Darrell Lao Bagang & Ruoxiao Liu (peer advisor)
ACU students were some of the most enthusiastic students, which showed in the results. All the winning teams had at least one ACU student present: the BeyondUni team which won first prize, the M7 Link team which won second prize and the Team Tams which scored the Peoples Prize.
Of the 27 pitch videos, 16 of them feature ACU students and ACU also had a 98% attendance record which was the highest from all universities.
To make the program an even bigger success than last year, ACU Careers and ACU International created a mentoring program of last year’s Interchange participants. The mentor’s goal was to make sure that as many ACU international students were aware that they could apply for the program. They also provided support during the program as ‘Peer Advisers’ to the Interchangers.
ACU International Student Adviser Eveline Overink says the Interchange ACU Mentors were a vital part of making this program a success.
“They looked after actively marketing the event, which even including approaching students in person on campus in the hallway,” she said.
The mentor program proved to be a success with 35 ACU students participating in the program. Many of the 2016 Interchangers are very keen to be a mentor for the Interchange 2017 Program.
Interchanger Darrell Bagnag, who was a part of the winning Beyond Uni team, says he was unsure about what he was getting himself into when he started Interchange but it has become the highlight of his Australian journey.
“Having only stayed in the country for six months made me hesitate to try new things as I am still adjusting to Sydney Life, so without expecting anything, I just dove right in and went for it,” Darrell says.
Second Prize: “M7 Link” ACU Students: Ivan Calvin & Jasel Ann Abinal (peer advisor)
“I worked with a team who were from different universities and are of different backgrounds. This is where my leadership, teamwork and time-management skills were tested.
Darrell says he and his team had to be practical in solving real-life problems faced by Sydney international students.
“I had to convince the judges about how viable our business model is by giving a convincing pitch on the gala night.”
“I love representing ACU, and I hope I made the institution proud. It was not only an opportunity for me to understand and contribute my ideas and perspectives, but It was also a perfect platform for me to showcase to others what ACU has taught me during my first semester of study – that commitment to the pursuit of knowledge within the Catholic intellectual traditions, acting in truth and in love.”
Bachelor of Commerce student Asushka Shrestha, who was a part of Team Tams, says participating in Interchange was an enriching experience for her.
People’s Prize: “Team Tams” ACU student: Anushka Shrestha
Apart from wanting to learn about running a business, she hoped to develop her “soft skills” such as team facilitation and patience and listening skills.
“I believe the program definitely helped me grow in these areas and more. The speakers, mentors, and participants I got to meet were inspiring in different ways, and even made me think beyond what I had planned career-wise in the near future.” Anushka says.
“I made good friends, learnt a lot and overall had an amazing time at Interchange 2016.”
Interchanger Neelam Airi says Interchange was a fantastic way to meet new friends and have fun while learning valuable leadership skills.
“I would highly recommend international students to join this program because I believe it will help with your development as a person by allowing you to be innovative, analytical and organised while exploring the real business problems,” she says.
“This program will indeed motivate you to be proactive and embrace the unknown in the future.”
The students participated in a range of themed intensive workshops, seminars and events including a TEDx-inspired weekend of presentations led by industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs.
The program promotes valuable exchanges with domestic students through group projects and competitions.
Looking for answers about eligibility? English? Scholarships? Courses?
You’ve come to the right place!
We answer a lot of questions and here are some of the answers to your most frequently asked queries!
What courses do you offer at ACU?
ACU offers hundreds of courses under four different faculties – Arts and Education, Law and Business, Health Sciences and Theology and Philosophy.
We offer pathways, undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees, research degrees, English courses and more! The best way to find what you’re looking for is through our course browser.
What scholarships do you offer for International students and how do I apply?
ACU has a range of scholarships available!
There is the International Student Scholarship which covers 50% of a students tuition fees and is available to students that have an average result of 80% in prior studies.
Read about some of our scholarship recipients here!
The MACC scholarship is valued at $5000 and available to Malaysian students wishing to study a postgraduate coursework degree at ACU.
To apply for scholarships it is quite simple, just click on the ‘apply online’ button which will take you to an information page. Set up a login and ensure you have all your supporting documentation ready to upload and once completed your application will be processed.
I’ve applied for a scholarship, how will I know if I was successful?
After the closing date of the scholarship, eligible applications will be considered by a Selection Committee.
An email will be sent to the address that you submitted with your scholarship application if you are not a student yet, while ACU students will receive their outcome via their ACU email account.
How do I apply to study at ACU as an undergraduate International student?
Next, prepare your documents which include certified copies of your passport, transcripts and completion certificates from all academic qualifications, evidence of your English proficiency (IELTS) and any additional supporting documents, such as evidence of relevant work experience, professional registration and reference letters relevant to your course.
The best way to apply is through an agent because they can provide you with advice on everything from courses to visas and ensure you have submitted all the documents required for your application.
Alternatively you can submit an application through the website through the online application system. There is a $110 application fee that is non-refundable.
I’ve applied to study at ACU, when will I know if my application was successful?
International applications are normally processed within three weeks. Applications requiring credit assessment may take up to six weeks. If your application is successful, you will receive a ‘Letter of Offer’ by email. If your application is unsuccessful, you will also be advised by email.
What is the English language proficiency requirement for my course?
Each course carries a different requirement regarding English language proficiency, and it is always listed on the course page. As you can see in the image below, just select the International students tab and then click on ‘Eligibility’ and you will see what IELTS score is required.
For a more broad overview of what courses and faculties require, you can visit the English Language Proficiency link which is also listed under Eligibility to see the IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, CAE and ACU English Language Test results required for course entry.
My IELTS score does not meet the entry requirement, what can I do?
There are pathway programs to help you develop your English language skills in preparation for your degree.
These programs are offered through the ACU English Language Centre. English for Academic Purposes provides direct entry into most courses and can be packaged with a degree or a diploma at ACU. Students are prepared for university study on campus with the English language and academic skills needed for success.
The English Language Centre also offers IELTS and OET Preparation courses.
Do I need to be a Catholic to study at ACU?
No! ACU welcomes students and staff of all beliefs and backgrounds. ACU expresses its Catholic values through its commitment to serving others.
Do you have any questions you want to know the answer to? Ask in the comments!
Clarissa improved her English by taking EAP at ACU.
“At first I was so nervous and lacked self-confidence because speaking English is not my native language,” she says.
“However, when I started to study the course it offered different ways and strategies to improve my speaking, listening as well as writing skills.”
Clarissa says the EAP course has helped her improve her use of English in everyday life as well as academically.
“Because of EAP I am more now confident to participate in class discussion, study independently as well as with groups and the most important thing is cultural sensitivity and awareness on how to have a harmonious relationship with my colleagues.”
She says the way the class is taught is really helpful with a “learning by doing” style of teaching.
“This way of teaching really improves our way of thinking and to make sure that all the activities and assessments we do are important to prepare us for when we do our bachelor degree.” Clarissa is from the Philippines and says she loves being a part of such a multicultural university and admires how the teachers educate people from different parts of the world.
To improve her English, Clarissa would visit the websites given to her by teachers in her free time to work on her vocabulary and writing skills.
“In class, activities and discussion also play an important role by attending the class regularly as a student you will learn more about English and the way of living here and much more.”
For students looking at studying EAP, Clarissa says “just always think that nothing is impossible to achieve your goals, just know your priorities and be wise”.
You can learn English at ACU in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane!
“Also, the teachers and staffs of ACU are always there to help and guide us!”
ACU offers a number of English courses – read more about them here.
Australia has universities all over the country – so where should you study? Sydney? Melbourne? Brisbane?
Have you considered Australia’s national capital – Canberra?
Our capital has a lot to offer students – it is actually known as the country’s University City with students making up about 25 per cent of the population!
Compared to any other city in Australia, it has the highest percentage of its population studying full-time or part-time – equating to one in nine residents studying or working at a university.
The city also has a median age well below the rest of Australia and 25 per cent of the population is born overseas – which means you can meet lots of young people from all over the world!
Canberra is a very multicultural city connected to the world with over 90 diplomatic missions and embassies located there.
ACU’s Canberra campus (Signadou) has more than 1000 students and over 30 of those are international students.
The Canberra ACU Campus.
The campus is just 5km from Canberra’s City Centre, Civic, which has the Canberra Centre – a huge shopping precinct with everything from Big W to grocery stores to high-end retailers and McDonalds!
There is also an endless list of (affordable) eateries in Canberra – not only in Civic but in Dickson, Manuka and Kingston.
There is no shortage of good food and coffee in Canberra!
Although it can be overlooked for Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, Canberra can offer students a unique experience of living in a city that is almost like a big town.
With a population of around 390,000, Canberra is a pretty big city but terrible traffic congestion (both foot and vehicle) is almost non-existent compared to Australia’s bigger state capitals!
Canberra is home to Parliament House – where Australia’s political decisions are made!
“The Berra”, as it is affectionately known, has one of the lowest crime rates of any major Australian city, so it is a safe place to live.
Students have the option of living on campus with ACU on ACU Managed Residences in self-catered accommodation in share houses managed by the university or the MacKillop House offers fully catered accommodation for female students.
The National Library of Australia is in picturesque Canberra.
The campus also has a saltwater solar heated swimming pool available for students. There is also a student common room with a pool table, table tennis table, basketball hoop and Foxtel (cable TV) where students can relax and socialise with friends.
Students will never find themselves wondering what to do with their spare time as there is ALWAYS something to see and do in Canberra.
There is live music every weekend at various pubs as well as food, music and flower festivals such as Groovin the Moo and Floriade throughout the year.
Floriade is a festival held annually in Canberra with lots to see and do! Night Fest is a must do!
Well-known artists and comedians often visit Canberra on their tours too!
You can keep up to date with this calendar organised by Visit Canberra, a handy site when looking up what is happening in the nation’s capital.
It is home to Australia’s National Library, National Gallery of Australia , Questacon (which is Australia’s Science and Technology centre), the National Arboretum, the National Zoo and Aquarium, the Australian War Memorial and Old and New Parliament House to name a few so there is always somewhere to visit!
The Australian War Memorial is in Canberra.
So if you’re wondering where to study in Australia, Canberra is well and truly worth considering!
To find out more about ACU’s Canberra campus, visit the ACU website and browse through our Canberra section.
English is a difficult language to learn, but in Australia it can be even harder with the amount of slang and colloquial language used by Aussies!
If you’re new to studying English then you are not alone in struggling to understand the average Australian whose slang is ingrained in them – they don’t even realise they’re using it most the time!
ACU International student Anisa Choummanivong says this was one of the most challenging parts of settling into Australia.
“In Australia they use English and sometimes even have Aussie slang which is the most challenging part for overseas students – especially who those who do not have English as their second language,” Anisa says.
In Australia (Straya) they shorten words, quite often ending them in ‘a’ or ‘er’, ‘o’ or ‘y’ or ‘ie’.
For example sandwich becomes sanger or sanga, afternoon becomes arvo, ambulance becomes ambo, biscuit becomes bickie and expensive becomes exy.
You will probably hear Australians refer to University as Uni!
It can sound like another language in itself but you’ll get the hang of it (understand it) eventually!
There is a 99.9 per cent chance these words won’t come up in your IELTS test, but to give you a bit of a hand (help) here are some terms, phrases and expressions used in Australia that can sound completely out of place unless you’re speaking to an Australian!
Ace/ripper/ beaut/beauty/bonza/: All words that mean great, brilliant, excellent
Bathers/ cozzies/ swimmers/ togs/ budgie smugglers/ boardies: These ALL mean swimwear / swimming costume
Barbie:Barbecues – a very popular Australian past-time!
Bludge / Bludger : A lazy person or someone who expects others to loan them things but they will never actually give anything back in return
Bugger: Used as a term when someone something a bit disappointing happens / something has gone wrong… An Aussie way of saying “oh no!” or “dang it!”
Cark/ed it/ Cactus: Dead, finished, died, done
Chockers: Really full – said when someone has eaten a lot or they see something that is really full of things! eg: “I’m chockers after all that Maccas!” or “That bag is chockers with textbooks!”
Chuck a sickie: Said when someone has a sick day off work / school – usually means that it’s not a genuine sick day and they’re faking it!
Chuck a wobbly: Yes, we like to ‘chuck’ a lot in Australia – and it usually means ‘throw’ – this one refers to someone throwing a tantrum or getting unnecessarily angry about something
Come off it: This is usually said in disbelief – so if something is unbelievable someone might say “come off it” meaning “I don’t believe you”
Dead ringer: Looks exactly the same as someone/ something
Spit the dummy: Usually said when someone is very upset about something and throwing a tantrum
Esky: An insulated food container usually taken to a barbecue or on a picnic. It is not a registered vehicle.
Fair dinkum: True, geniune
Furphy: Rumours / lies
Fix you up: No, no one is going to fix anything – this means that someone will pay back! If you bought them something they are offering to pay you back
Galah: Fool or silly person that quite loud and possibly rude, derives from the Australian pink and grey bird called a Galah (which can be very noisy)
Going off: Something that is going really well / is good fun
Go over it with a fine toothed comb: Usually used in reference to checking a document – it means to look at something very carefully and proof it to ensure there are no errors
How’s it going? How are you going? This just means “how are you” and does not refer to you going anywhere, it’s just how we say it!
Hang on: You’re not usually be asked to hang on to something, but they’re saying “wait a moment” or “stop for a second”
Heaps: A lot, many, loads
I’m run off my feet / I’m snowed under : These both mean a person is really busy and doesn’t have a lot of time or has a lot of work to do.
Kick off: begin / start
Mad as a cut snake: In reference to a crazy person
Maccas: McDonalds Restaurant – also the referred to as the ‘Golden Arches’
Midday: 12 noon – the middle of the day.
Reckon: A very Australia way of saying “I believe so” or ” I think” – eg: I reckon it’s a good day!
Sandwich short of a picnic / A few roos loose in the top paddock: Usually used when referring to someone who isn’t very smart or has said something silly
She’ll be right: Everything will be fine!
Shout / my shout/ your shout: I will pay for this / you can pay for this. This is usually said when eating or drinking and someone offers to pay for it – usually under the assumption you will pay for the next one!
Stoked: Really excited / happy about something
Stone the crows: A phrase used when someone is shocked or amazed, not used as much by young Aussies though and usually associated with/ used by Home and Away’s Alf Stewart
Stuffed: Exhausted, tired or in trouble
Thongs: Flip flops, sandals, the footwear worn by most Aussies in Summer (and the brave all-year round!)
Woop Woop / Out in the sticks: A place or town that is in the outback, in a place that is quite isolated or just really really far away
Feel free to add more Aussie slang you have heard or learnt in the comments (But keep it clean!).