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Australian universities’ research and teaching

You will find considerable differences in the approach taken at Australian universities that you are accustomed to in India. Silent note-taking is everywhere understood to be the least effective way of learning, but active learning requires resources that are not available everywhere.

Australian students, though, cannot sit through lectures and then study up for exams at end of term. They are expected to enter into a give and take of thought and discussion throughout their coursework. Frequently exams are only a small part of the assessment. The focus is on research projects, hands-on laboratory and tutorial work and class discussion.

This is the case in all disciplines, from IT, engineering and medicine through business and the humanities. Such methods require a high teacher-student ratio, ready access to excellent laboratories and libraries and other elements which many Indian universities simply cannot provide.

Australian universities are amply populated both in faculties and students by people from every corner of the world: the Americas, eastern and western Europe and the full breadth of Asian countries.

The range of insights that students and faculties from so broad a range of backgrounds bring to the tasks of teaching, learning and researching is a significant advantage. Indians are notably gifted in oral communication skills and invariably thrive in this environment, taking away from their student experience a considerably greater breadth of knowledge than they might acquire studying at home.

Student visas permit foreign students to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full time during semester breaks.

Many students find that their academic course load is not unduly burdensome and they are easily able to work part time and defray in whole or in part their living expenses. Such part time employment might be purely for the sake of earning money, but it could also be in their chosen professional field, where they begin acquiring elements for their professional résumés before even graduating.

Some courses, in fact, have such practical work experience as a requirement for graduation. Practical work experience is also an invaluable learning encounter as to life in the workplace and productively interacting socially.

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