Students don’t always use tertiary studies as their introduction to international education. In fact, many students arrive in Australia to complete a pathway program that leads them to their chosen university destination.
Pathway programs provide bridging qualifications to higher education, giving international students from various backgrounds the guidance they need to enter the university of their dreams.
Feeling a little nervous about studying abroad and thinking about completing a pathway program? We put together a guide to some of the benefits you can expect, along with some handy advice from Canning College students who have completed pathway programs themselves.
Make Australia home
Adjusting to life in Australia can be a challenge for many international students struggling with culture shock and homesickness. Enrolling in a pathway program gives you the opportunity to adapt to your new home without the pressures of tertiary education, such as increased workload and exam stress. The tailored support of a pathway program can help you find your feet in Australia before commencing university, ensuring that you feel settled and well prepared when entering your degree of choice.
“It is a huge decision for a teenager to make, to travel to another country for many months by themselves, away from everything they are comfortable with,” says Sabrina Naden, a student from Singapore who is currently studying Physiotherapy at Curtin University following her completion of the WA Universities’ Foundation Program at Canning College.
“I was anxious because I was only 17. But the teachers helped me to settle into the College. Canning has been super accommodating and they make the students feel right at home. Sometimes you feel like you never left your own country. “
Create a community
When it comes to a happy and healthy university experience, the community is vital. Moving to Australia can be as daunting as it is exciting, especially when you don’t know anyone yet; a pathway program is a fantastic way to build a network of like-minded peers to support you on your way to higher education. Starting university with an existing community will set you up for a fun, safe and successful study journey.
“The orientation program was invaluable as it provided me with a support network in the form of new friends,” says Malaysian student Geoffrey Zi, who studied the WA Universities’ Foundation Program at Canning College in 2019 before moving to the University of Adelaide to complete a Bachelor of Science. “I built up a support network to comfortably call Perth ‘home’ throughout 2019.”
Entering university can leave you feeling like a small fish in a large pond, especially when adjusting to the independent study style of tertiary education. The excellent staff care offered by pathway programs is invaluable to international students in need of practical, academic and personal support. Assistance in matters such as accommodation, subject selection, visa enquiries and university entrance will help you settle into life in Australia in a safe, caring environment.
“As I spent more time at Canning, I found that the administration staff, teachers, librarians and everyone who worked in the College were invaluable in getting used to the (then) foreign environment, being amicable and understanding as I sought their help,” says Chloe Chee, a Malaysian student who completed the WA Universities’ Foundation Program at Canning College in 2019 and is now studying a Bachelor of Science at Curtin University.
The education provided by pathway programs aligns with the national curriculum and is designed to help you gain entry into an Australian university. International students seeking a place in an Australian institution will benefit from excellent tuition whilst gaining the necessary qualifications to move into their degree of choice. A pathway program is also a fantastic way to improve your English language skills, providing the staff engagement and cultural immersion required to develop your vocabulary before commencing university.
“Being around people from different countries really helps you grow in terms of communication and getting familiar with other people and other cultures. I would say if you want to go to a university in Australia, that doing Year 11 and 12 in Australia is the way to go,” says Aryan Kothari, a student from India who studied Year 11 at Canning College in 2018 and the WA Universities’ Foundation Program in 2019.
“It made me familiar with how we are expected to study. It’s a new country, it’s foreign to you and you need one or two years to settle down and get to know where you are and how to get around. Learning how to reference at Canning College was a big help. We didn’t have that back home and I would’ve been in the dark about that. Small things like that can make a huge difference when you get to uni.”