I am an international student living in Perth which is the capital city of Western Australia. Western Australia is the largest state by land mass in Australia with a population of 2.4 million. I am from Burundi which is a country in central Africa with a population of just over 10 million. I am currently enrolled in the post graduate study of Masters of business Administration International at Edith Cowan University. My course is for the two years which started in February last year and will end this year in December.
In this article I am going to explain what made me decide to choose Perth as a place to study.
When I completed my high school diploma in Rwanda which is a neighbour country to Burundi; my initial choice was to go to study in Canada. Burundi’s second language is French so in Burundi we study in French. Due to a lack of English schools at that time I did the last part of my high school in Rwanda where all the subjects were being taught in English. At the end of my high school I wanted to go to Canada to a bilingual University since in Burundi and Rwanda I could not find a university that offered the same quality of education as that offered in Canada. Canadian universities have an intake in January and September. I passed my exams in February and did not want to wait until September. I applied to study at the Australia Studies Institute in Nairobi Kenya since I had friends there and their intakes were in March, July and October. Luckily I got in in the March intake and started my bachelor degree at the Australian Studies Institute (AUSI) which is affiliated to (ECU) Edith Cowan University in Perth.
At the AUSI I was introduced to the Edith Cowan University by way of seminars where an ECU university representative gave us an insight into studying and living in Australia. I attended several seminars and my interest in Australia as a study destination grew. I arranged to have a meeting with the ECU representative and discussed my options if I were to decide to study in Australia. This meeting made me believe that studying in Australia would be a good option for me and I abandoned my plan to study in Canada and focused on a study options at an Australian University.
As the representative I met was from ECU our discussions were about course at ECU and life style options in Perth where the University is based.
In the meeting I learned that winters were mild and the summers were dry and hot. Perth had a vibrant and fast growing population. The average wage per hour is Perth was $20 per hour for unskilled work. International students are only allowed to work for 20 hours per week. The cost of shared accommodation was around $160 per week which will make it around $16,640 for the two years including all the bills and Wi-Fi, if you live outside the university. If you live on Campus, it is around $220-250 per week which makes it around $24500 for the two years including all the bills. You have to purchase your own Wi-Fi. If you are cooking the cost of food can be around $40-50 per week and around $4600 for the two years, it depends on the type of food you like to cook if you are the type to not cook it is much more than that. Perth has transport facilities such as bus and trains, you use your student ID for public transport which you put money on depending on how often you use it. For students it is cheaper you use $1.02 from the University to the city. This fare relates specifically for me. To travel from Mount Lawley Campus to Joondalup Campus it costs $1.80. Using public transport is cheaper however it’s better to have your own car. Transport services are still evolving in Perth and I have experience delays which are very frustrating.
There are other costs I can include such as school books costing anything from $80-$200 depending on the books you are buying for the two years budget to spend around $800. One way to save money is to buy second hand books from students who have finished their studies.
Other costs I can include are such as mobile cost if you have your own mobile you can use a plan of around $30 per month which is likely to include free national calls and some international and like 4-6GB for internet depending on your mobile operator, for the two years it is around $720 but if you would like to own a new mobile using a mobile plan it is quite expensive around $2000 for 2 years.
Going out for a night having a few drinks and dinner in Perth can cost around $100. Depending on where you go and what you drink costs could be higher. A glass of beer in a pub can cost $8 per drink and the average price of a dinner with a starter and desert can cost $68.
The travel cost a one way flight to Australia from Burundi is around $1800-2000. The travel time is approximately 25-32 hours.
Since studying and working in Perth I have found that the cost of living is high in Perth and although wage rates are good compared to wages in Burundi the money does not go far.
When I got my visa I was advised to bring around $4500 with me as I did not have a bank account, this was good advice.
The fees for international students are a little bit high compared to what the local students pay but I would say ECU have fair prices comparing to some other Universities in Perth for a similar program. At ECU the tuition fees are almost $11000 per semester which makes it around $43000 for the course.
In summary the total costs of leaving in Perth for 2 years would be approximately around $68,000-$70,000 including all expenses.
I considered all the information that was presented to me and decided Perth was a good study International destination.
Whilst I am in Perth I intend to gain experience in an Australia business where I can gain practical experience in my field of study.
I intend to return to Burundi eventually to work and live there after a certain period of time and work in my family’s business.