Monday, 29 February 2016

The Australian study experience

“Is there peanut butter? Are there spiders and snakes everywhere?”

These are just some of the many questions Jaime Notman from Canadian education agency OzTREKK answers every day at work for students wanting to study in Australia.

Jaime spent several days in Gippsland recently, helping eight Canadian students settle into their new medical course commencing at Monash University Rural Health in Churchill.

She ensured all had the essential items needed for their living quarters, took them shopping to the local supermarket to stock up on home-grown delicacies and essentials and then took them for a drive around the immediate area…on the correct side of the road.

“These things all sound basic but when you come from another country, it’s strange,” Jaime said.
OzTREKK supports the students through the entire course application process, from the moment they first apply to the end of the journey. “In the pre-departure stage, we help with accommodation, explain the health care system and warn that Australians drive on the opposite side of the road to us!,” Jaime said.

“Students ask if they should take their own peanut butter as they had been told it’s different in Australia. They are also concerned about spiders and snakes, and even the heat. Our job is to prepare them for what lies ahead. We try to alleviate any stress for them.”

OzTREKK acts for nine universities Australia-wide in assisting anyone considering doing their post graduate study here.

According to Jaime, the quality of education in Canada is similar to Australia and medicine is no exception. “The students (applying for medicine) are great; they are top of their class with incredible marks in their first university course but there are just no places available,” she said. “And Australia has an excellent reputation abroad.”

The strongest interest in Australian graduate studies from Canadian students is in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, law, speech pathology and physiotherapy.

Jaime is in Australia for several more weeks. From Churchill, she heads for New South Wales and Queensland, making sure her Canadian students there are just as happy as her Gippsland cohort.

See also: International students start medical degree in Churchill

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